Police take man in reported drug crisis into custody after struggle inside Capitol Hill elementary school gym

It took four officers to subdue a man high on drugs and suffering a crisis who fought with Seattle Police after making his way inside a Capitol Hill elementary school Tuesday morning, according to emergency dispatch reports.

SPD was first contacted about the man behaving erratically outside the 19th Ave E side of the campus around 8 AM as parents dropped off kids for the school day. Just before 9 AM, the arriving officer put out a call for “fast backup” assistance as he struggled to take the man into custody inside the school’s gymnasium, according to East Precinct radio reports.

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According to Seattle Fire dispatch, their units were called to the scene to help take the man into custody as officers reportedly pinned him down inside the gym for a quarter of an hour. The man was reportedly high on drugs and indicated he had smoked crack cocaine before the incident.

From its colleges including Broadway’s Seattle Central and 12th Ave’s Seattle U to its middle and high schools, Capitol Hill campuses deal with crisis situations nearly every day but most incidents don’t make the news. In March, CHS reported on a man arrested after he made threats at Meany Middle School in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Tuesday at Stevens Elementary, the man was eventually taken for treatment without further incident. We are not aware of any additional injuries in the altercation.

UPDATE: A SPD spokesperson tells CHS that the man was taken to Harborview for evaluation and “invol’ed,” or kept under “involuntary commitment,” a legal process that confines someone who may be suffering a health or mental crisis and may be a risk to themselves or others.

UPDATE x2: According to an email sent to school families by Stevens Elementary, the man was originally contacted by police around 9 AM before making his way back to the campus and into the gymnasium.

UPDATE x3: Children and staff sheltered in place during the disturbance though one group of students was present in the gymnasium during the arrest, CHS is told.

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22 thoughts on “Police take man in reported drug crisis into custody after struggle inside Capitol Hill elementary school gym

  1. Since when did doing too many recreational drugs turn into “experiencing a crisis” Wouldn’t “got too high” suffice?

    Seems like just about everybody is eligible for victim status these days – even the perpetrators.

  2. As a parent who will have a child at Stevens next year, I’m fretting over the detail that SPD was contacted at 8am and the arriving officer got there just before 9am. WTF?

  3. Thank you so much for your rapid reporting on this! I’m sure the school is inundated with questions and a lot of parents are seeking details.

  4. My child goes to a preschool on Stevens campus and their room is right next to where this all happened. As far as timing, we received an email at 8:10 telling of the man/situation. We received a followup email at 8:22 stating that the police were there and he was no longer on school property.

    When I arrived at 8:35 the police and the man where on the sidewalk talking (the man was pretty wound up). The police were doing an incredible job at de-escalating the situation, especially when you consider they could have just cuffed him and thrown him in the back of a squad car.

    Thank you SPD for dealing difficult situations like this every day… day after day.

  5. Thanks for the details! Parents of school aged kids have not received this level of detail and I really appreciate those in the community who witnessed this filling in the blanks.

  6. “From its colleges including Broadway’s Seattle Central and 12th Ave’s Seattle U to its middle and high schools, Capitol Hill campuses deal with crisis situations nearly every day but most incidents don’t make the news.”

    This seems like a big problem. And not the part about whether it makes the news.

  7. @Allen – Sawant alone made this happen?

    I think we can all expect more of this kind of near violence/violence to happen if we don’t do something about the mentally-ill people walking our streets.

    In the meantime, I’ve invested in pepper spray and brass knuckles.

  8. This is an enormous problem and it’s because we do not have nearly enough treatment for addiction and mental health problems….

    We throw tens of MILLIONS of dollars at enabling these people to live on our streets and nearly nothing on treating them. (and the city council wants far more…)

    There are only 122 SUD beds in King County – only 16 – 16!!!!! that can deal with a person in active withdrawal… for people under 21 it’s *even worse* 22 total beds and 2, yes 2 that can handle detox..

    Psychiatric beds *decreased* 40% between 2010 and 2016… Seriously… we need MORE not less….

    We will continue to experience this type of incident, more and more frequently until this city stops believing that it is somehow compassionate to allow these people to inhabit our streets like stray animals rather than actually helping them.

  9. Oh i forgot. Drug addicts are victims. That poor guy, somebody must have held him down and forced that crack pipe on him.

    Reality check: Look at states that punish criminals and enforce laws.. Guess what? They don’t have homeless problems and certainly not where their kids are at.

    Well done Seattle. very ‘progressive’ … don’t enforce the laws and definitely don’t punish criminals.

    Everybody is a victim! Let’s make the people who work pay for them!


  10. What does “taken for treatment” mean when he’s in custody? Presumably he was taken to jail after being cleared by SFD or HMC medical folks.

  11. Seattle City Council is enabling heroin, meth, crack users and dealers to roam Seattle practically scot-free. Last week SPD officer was dealt a 2-day suspension for defusing a situation with another mentally-ill person wielding a stollen Ice Ax from REI. I’m grateful to NOT be a homeowner with children living in Seattle. Anyone raising kids in this political and drug-enabling environment is out of their mind.

  12. FYI the King County Board of Health is handing out about 7 million syringes per year, and only collection back 1 or 2 million at their “exchange”. They’re also pushing forward heroin injection sites. Heroin is basically not prosecuted in King or Snohomish Co. Please visit Vancouver’s downtown eastside to see what we can look forward too- but with massive gun violence added to the mix since we are USA.

    King County Board of Health is preventing King County voters from a say in the matter- they blocked an initiative to prohibit injection sites in King County. Its going to be reviewed by State Supreme Court. Meanwhile, King County Board of Health is spending time regulating Major League Baseball players from chewing on tobacco at Safeco Field.

  13. When people present like this man did, “acting crazy” and out of control, it is difficult in the short term for first responders (or even mental health professionals) to tell if the behavior is just drug-related, or if it’s due to mental illness. The distinction is important, because the latter deserve our compassion and inpatient mental health care, and the former (who CHOSE to use drugs and get high) do not.

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