A still from Seattle Central surveillance video showing Darewski
Was it a robbery? Drugs? Both? Neither? Little of what is known in the investigation into the January murder of Darek Darewski on the sidewalk behind Seattle Central Community College has been made public.
“The case is still very much active and ongoing,” a Seattle Police Department spokesperson tells CHS. “Just no new updates for the community. And again I can’t stress enough, anybody with information [should] give us a call.”
It has now been more than a month since CHS posted surveillance video captured by the community college’s security system the night of the murder and provided by SPD in an attempt to drum up leads in the case.
The clips show Darewski walking on the Harvard Ave sidewalk and stopping to light a cigarette just minutes before he would be killed with a single shot to the chest. The barrel flash of that lone shot is also captured from another camera angle provided by the school as are clips of the vehicle police believe carried the murderer through the streets of Capitol Hill.
None of it, yet, has produced a suspect — at least, not a suspect police are identifying. As an open murder investigation, public access to information around the case is extremely limited.
We also contacted Seattle Central to find out more about the school’s participation in the investigation. “We do not know much more than what has been reported in the press,” Elman McClain, director of safety and security at the college said in a statement. “The shooting happened after the campus had closed for snow. There was a lone gunman, who left the area in a vehicle. We were able to provide SPD with a copy of the surveillance video that we had. And we’re aware that the victim had a student identification information (SID) on file with Central, but was not attending classes at the time.”
What we do know about the 49-year-old Darewski comes from his few brushes with the law. He was shot to death that early morning on January 17th just two weeks after serving a single day in jail following a guilty plea in a 2010 harassment case. Darewski’s last known address at the time of the November 2010 incident was a low-income housing facility in Pioneer Square. Court documents show he also carried an Alaska driver’s license.
A friend who did not want to be identified contacted CHS to say he was upset that our reporting on Darewski painted an inaccurate picture of a man who had an unfortunate run-in with the law but was looking forward to getting his life back on track following two years of probation that had prevented him from returning to work on an Alaskan fishing boat. That friend said Darewski was waiting for a gig to open up in Alaska and was ready to head north with his probation behind him. The friend said he had been contacted by the detective in the case but did not say whether he had spoken with authorities about the murder.
Beyond that, Darewski is a mystery. No family or friends have come forward with information or any public memorials. And, so far, no information has been released about what brought him to Harvard Ave just after 11p that freezing January night.
The area where the murder occurred, however, is another story. Only blocks from this October shooting, the area between Summit and Harvard has been receiving an outsized amount of CHS police blotter coverage in recent weeks including this Summit stabbing and robbery, this knife assault on Boylston and this heroin buy-turned robbery on Belmont. It’s a little rough and tumble amidst some of the densest blocks of the Hill in an area with many social service living facilities and, in certain cases, some of the cheapest rents on Capitol Hill.
Seattle homicide detectives also have more on their hands than the Darewski case. A rash of violence has resulted in a spike in Seattle murders to start the new year. There is also the case of Greggette Guy, the 51-year-old woman whose body was found floating in the water off West Seattle three weeks ago. 75 people including family members and concerned neighbors came to a memorial for Guy.
In many ways, the Darewski case more closely echoes the March 2011 murder of Zachary Lewis in the lot at Federal Republican that will someday be Broadway Hill Park. The 37-year-old Lewis was a resident at an Eastlake facility for chronic alcohol addiction and was last seen hanging out on Broadway the night he was murdered. His body was found the next morning in the grassy lot, badly beaten and with both arms broken. A reward was eventually offered for help in solving the murder but the case remains open and unsolved. A makeshift memorial appeared at the site where his body was found.
For Darewski, if there is still information out there, SPD says its detectives want to hear about it. The homicide tip line is 206-233-5000 and anonymous tips are welcome.
Seattle Central is also eager for the crime to be solved. “The safety and security of our students, staff and the public who visit our campus is of prime importance to the college,” a spokesperson for the school said. “We remain diligent in our continued efforts to encourage and promote a safe environment on our campuses. And certainly, a murder in such close proximity to the college concerns us and we are hopeful that the perpetrator of this crime will be brought to justice.”