Police search East Howell house for gun, cash in Union Market robbery — UPDATE: Suspect charged

According to Seattle Police, the house where the suspect in the armed robbery of the Union Market was found hiding Sunday night is known for being “associated” with gang members. Police searched the home Monday looking for the gun used in the robbery, $60 in cash and the clothing the suspect wore during the hold-up.

An affidavit for the search warrant states that the house in the 1800 block of East Howell has had “known gang members associated with it.”  “I am personally aware that violent crime suspects have been arrested (at the house) in the past,” the police officer who wrote the report stated.

According to the affidavit, an officer spotted a man matching the suspect description at 19th at Madison Sunday night immediately following the report of the Union robbery and pursued him through nearby yards and to the East Howell house. The warrant covered a residence in that block, noting that a police dog had tracked the suspect to that location. 

Police made contact with a woman outside the residence who said that only her grandmother and a male friend of her brother were inside the house. That friend exited the house after a short stand-off and was positively identified by the Union Market clerk as the suspect. Although he was wearing different clothing than at the time of the robbery, police said they found clothes matching the suspect description inside the house.

The warrant authorized police to search the house for a handgun, clothing, and $60 cash. The $60 (three $20 bills) was the amount stolen during the robbery.

The 21-year-old suspect remains in jail on $500,000 bail. He has not yet been charged in the crime. UPDATE: Charges were filed this morning. See full update below.

According to court records, the suspect taken into custody has been in trouble with the law since the age of 13. As an adult, he has been in King County jail seven times since December 2009 when he was booked for assault. The suspect had been released from jail on the 18th of August following a 27-day stay after he pleaded guilty to possessing marijuana while in custody in a work-release facility.

UPDATE: The King County prosecutor’s office Wednesday morning charged David William Groce, 21, with first-degree robbery in the Sunday night hold-up of a Central District market. According to the charging documents, video from the store’s security camera shows Groce walk up to the cash register area, pull a black pistol from his waistband, jump over the counter and grab the store’s owner, holding the gun to her head and demanding she open the register. The video, prosecutors say, shows Groce flee the store with around $120 in cash. The documents also reveal that another man appeared to assist Groce in the crime by standing outside the store and then attempting to distract the woman by asking her questions and yelling at her as Groce allegedly left the scene. The woman was able to identify Groce after he was apprehended by police later that night. The documents note that police found ammunition in the house where they say Groce fled to but were unable to find the gun they believe was used in the hold-up.

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4 thoughts on “Police search East Howell house for gun, cash in Union Market robbery — UPDATE: Suspect charged

  1. “According to court records, the suspect taken into custody has been in trouble with the law since the age of 13.”

    This sounds just like that 10 year-old from the Rainier Valley…

    It’s a sad future.

    But I wish the cops would do more about these gangs.

  2. Has anyone else noticed some suspicious activity in front of the apartments on 19th Ave E & Howell? Whenever I pass by in the afternoon there seems to be a lot of hanging out on the front porch and a lot of drive-thru/drop-off greetings on the street?

  3. Yes, that’s a notorious corner, and it’s not uncommon to see guys doing deals with their girlfriends and children hanging around outside. Just call it in every time you see it. Even if the police don’t respond, which seems typical, they can use the 911-reports when requesting additional resources next year.