Man hit in head by ‘grazing’ gunshot, robbed in Cal Anderson

A man was hit by a “grazing” gunshot to the head and told police he and another man were robbed by a group of suspects in Cal Anderson Park early Friday morning.

Police investigating a loud boom in Cal Anderson around 12:55 AM arrived to find people running through the park away from the gunfire in a reported armed robbery incident. After chasing down one of the suspects, police found a male victim conscious and alert inside the park where he was treated by Seattle Fire.

SPD was investigating the boom when officers saw a group of males running north from the soccer field through the park. One of the group was chased down and taken into custody by police near 12th and Howell. Police also found a handgun — jammed with a stuck spent cartridge — ditched in nearby bushes, according to East Precinct radio dispatches. Police also found wallets not belonging to the suspect.

SPD is investigating the incident as an armed robbery. The victims told police they were surrounded by a group of young males in the hold-up. A search for more suspects was not successful.

UPDATE: Police say the arrested suspect is a teenager:

East Precinct officers arrested a 17-year-old robber near Cal Anderson Park early Friday morning after he pulled a gun and fired a shot, leaving one victim with a grazing gunshot wound to his head.

The two victims were hanging out in the park around 1 AM near the baseball fields when a group of four or five men and one woman cornered them in the field’s dugout.

The 17-year-old suspect then pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the victims and demanded their wallets.

As one of the victims handed over his wallet and cellphone, the suspect fired one shot, grazing the victim’s head.

Officers patrolling near Cal Anderson heard the gunshot and sped to the scene, where they saw the group of suspects running through the park.

The 17-year-old broke off from the group and led police on a brief foot chase before officers took him into custody.

The teen suspect was still carrying the victim’s wallet and cellphone when officers caught up to him. Police also found his handgun, which he’d ditched near the park.

Seattle Fire Department personnel treated the injured victim’s thankfully minor injuries at the scene. Officers also returned the stolen cellphone and wallet to the man.

Officers booked the teen suspect into the King County Youth Service Center for Investigation of Robbery.

Concerns have grown in recent summers about seasonal upticks in violent crime in Cal Anderson but 2014 has been relatively quiet for the central park. Last summer, another effort to improve public safety included increasing Seattle Parks ranger hours in the green space and an increase in police presence around the 11th Ave at Pine park.

Despite the incident, it’s a busy time of year for Cal Anderson and the park is likely to again be full of people. Friday brings a morning piano performance and a movie in the park. Next weekend, a street food and craft festival will take over part of the park.

37 thoughts on “Man hit in head by ‘grazing’ gunshot, robbed in Cal Anderson

  1. I live right next to (above) the park and the gunshot woke me up. I saw three guys running away from the meadow to the north of the field house. There were also two cars parked on the lawn outside the field house that took off at a pretty high rate of speed after the guys ran off. I’m curious that there’s no mention of those cars…

    • I was actually there and both heard the gunshot and saw people running away. Saw to young fellas running along with me toward broadway on southend of park and one of the them was clutching his ear like he had a gun shot near by him.

      • I was actually there and both heard the gunshot and saw people running away. Saw two young fellas running along with me toward broadway on southend of park and one of the them was clutching his ear like he had a gun shot near by him.

  2. Just 17 and out trying to kill people for a cell phone. I hope he gets more than a slap on the wrist. How about the others? Is there no description of the group?

    • At least the SPD was able to arrest one of the criminals. But no doubt he will invoke the “no-snitch rule,” making it difficult for the police to apprehend the others.

      If convicted, this 17 year old should spend a lot of time in jail.

  3. If Seattle is going to allow the park to be used as a flop house, Then Seattle needs to supervise the flop house 24/7.

    What is it with you people? Figure it out already. Sheesh…

    Are property values lower near the flop park?

  4. I get that a lot of people around here want to look the other way when it comes to vagrants, petty crime, etc., but that creates the environment where the more serious things happen.

    It’s amazing that in one of the most expensive neighborhoods to be in Seattle, you run a real risk of getting shot in what once was a great park.

    • I don’t get that anyone wants to “look the other way”. Certainly not enough (if anything) is being done. I haven’t seen anyone espouse the opinion that all this is just normal, acceptable goings-on in the park.

      • I think that Adam was just trying to make the point that relatively minor crime (various forms of vandalism, camping on our streets, littering, etc.) can create an atmosphere wherein more serious crimes (such as this shooting) are more likely to occur. This, of course, is what the “broken windows theory” is all about, and unfortunately it is evident in some parts of our neighborhood.

  5. I live directly across from the park….and my property was expensive and my property taxes are high. This morning I counted no less than 25 people sleeping, etc in the park. And I’ve seen some bad stuff over just the past week. I even called a cop over to report something and basically got blown off. It’s getting worse as the years go by. Is it legal to sleep/drink beer/shoot dope in the park?

    • Of course not, but there seems to be a tolerance policy. I would encourage you to call the police and report campers when you see them in the park when it is closed…..not sure what the hours are, but it is closed overnight.

  6. I live across the street from the park as well. This type of incident scares the bejesus out of me. I walk through the park nightly. However, someone please explain the connection between our neighbos living in the park and this robbery? Is there any indication the perp was living in the park? Although I wish people living in the park had homes, I feel safer with them around. The more eyes the better.

    • You feel safer? Wow. I don’t. The drunk guys sitting in the park yelling at me this morning sure didn’t make me feel better. Nor did the guy masterbating on the sidewalk last week. Nor the homeless kids who let their dog run free, ask me for weed, and yell profanities at me when I say I don’t have any.

      • If the kids I saw running away from the park were the ones that committed the shooting, they’re in no way connected to the homeless problem. And yes, it’s sad that I wake up in the mornings in the summer and look out over 20-30 people sleeping on the turf. I really wish there was something that could be done to help them… It’s totally surreal.

        • Wow.

          Those people crowding the lawn in summer are here to party: get wasted. They take the resources of real homeless people.
          Wake up, CN…Sheesh

          • On most weekend you will see more people with homes sitting in cal Anderson with their dogs of leash drinking and smoking weed, than you’ll see homeless people.

  7. Our college age son was home last month. He and friends used to go to Cal Anderson. He commented while here that it is now too unsafe, he didn’t want to go near it. What can we do to get our park back?

  8. So we’ve got 20 or 30 folks sleeping overnight with their unleashed dogs. Plus booze, dope, public masturbation and armed robberies. And this doesn’t warrant police presence? Maybe two on CONSTANT foot patrol? Or even one on a bike?

  9. I have the distinct impression that the Powers That Be in the City of Seattle (political as well as wealthy) have unofficially decided that Cal Anderson Park is to be relegated as the dumping area for undesirables. Look at the facts:

    Cal Anderson Park is 7.37 acres and is comprised of grounds that are clear of trees, for the most part. Volunteer Park is some 48.3 acres (I grant you, that does include the cemetery) and the grounds consist of a lot of heavily wooded areas interspersed with cleared meadow-type fields. (Note: Trees/wooded areas = more places to hide.)

    Cal Anderson Park’s hours are supposedly from 4:00am-11:30pm but this quite obviously, is not enforced. Volunteer Park’s hours are 6:00am-10:00pm and these hours are strictly enforced.

    Cal Anderson Park is surrounded by condos, apartments, small businesses (including bars), Seattle Central, and there are still a few single-family houses in the immediate vicinity of C.A. Oh, yes . . . and the East Precinct of the Seattle Police Department is across the street and one block up from Cal Anderson Park. Volunteer Park, on the other hand, is surrounded by what historically was called “Millionaires Row” — VERY expensive single-family homes and a few costly condos in which I have no doubt, reside many politically well-connected Seattleites.

    It would appear that it has been decided to keep any potential and unfortunately, very real, problems out of the vicinity of Volunteer Park and allow them to be centralized in Cal Anderson — probably under the assumption that SPD will be able to respond more quickly (I’m certain that is the rationale that is being utilized).

    Money, power and influence talk. Volunteer Park is all of, what? . . . 10 blocks north of Cal Anderson Park? And yet, look at the difference.

    Just saying.

    • Interesting comments. But I’m not sure that there is any grand conspiracy to keep the vagrants out of Volunteer Park. Street people like to hang out close to where there is a lot of foot traffic, so that they can panhandle at will to buy their dope and alcohol, and Cal Anderson fits the bill.

      It would be interesting to know if the SPD patrols Volunteer Park at night more than Cal Anderson. Is such data available? Somehow, I doubt it.

    • I believe you entirely. Mid-late 1990s said millionaires got tired of the gay men having sex in the park and pressured the City to trim the shrubbery in the park to eliminate many of the cruising spots.

      I know from personal experience that if you live north of Roy street and call SPD for ANYTHING, you get a response of at least one officer within minutes. South of Roy Street, you are lucky if you get a response unless it’s traffic controle for a fire, blocking accident or murder.

      got money and want NIMBY? It happens in this and pretty much every city.

  10. Capitol Hill is at a crossroads. It is definitely getting gentrification. Looking the other way at what ignoring vagrancy can mean, tolerating drug use as much as it does, providing easy pickings for cell phone snatchers, drunks going home after the bars (and there are MANY bars) close. For how progressive residents often claim to be how are they as neighbors looking out for others? There is an environment on the hill that has no filters and crime comes right in through an open gate.

  11. It’s a shame that the city parks are mostly being taken over by drunks, druggies, and crime. I’d like to be able to enjoy a park in peace, but the last few times I went to Cal Anderson (during the daytime) I was harassed and saw drug and alcohol activity. Parks are for all the people. Let’s take our parks back.

  12. Residents of the CD, Judkins Park, and parts of Madrona and Leschi have been suffering through crime like this (and a lot worse) for years. I hate to say it, but it will get much worse, and the quality of life on Capitol Hill will go down. The city and the police definitely look the other way when it comes to crime in certain areas.

  13. Fascinates me. The people who were all over SPD for “profiling” and using “excessive brutality” are now joining the folks complaining about a lack of police protection. Hey, guess what? you can’t have it both ways!

    You neutered SPD, now learn to live with their actions. They don’t have to patrol, but they have to take notice if 911 gets flooded with calls.

  14. So glad I moved out of Cap Hill. Was once a great neighborhood and now feels like a gentrified, crime ridden hell full of trash, derelict s and snobs. No thanks. Rent is to high for that nonsense.

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