An attempted arson attack early Tuesday morning on the under construction expansion of the county youth jail facility was thwarted by a Seattle Police officer at the 12th Ave site and “molotov cocktails” that failed to explode.
All information in this report has not yet been confirmed by police and is based on East Precinct radio dispatches. UPDATE: SPD confirmed the investigation and said more details will be released soon. UPDATE x2: An update from SPD is below.
According to the reports, just after 3:30 AM, an SPD officer notified the East Precinct that multiple molotov cocktail-like device has been thrown into the corner of construction site near 13th and Remington. The officer dealt with at least four bottles that landed on the ground near portable construction offices at the site. Seattle Fire was called to handle a small grass fire and at least four more bottles that failed to explode.
There were no reported injuries and no equipment or structures were reported damaged at the site. UPDATE: A county spokesperson tells us there was some very minor damage to a trailer but no damage to the facility under construction. Overnight security at the site is hired by building contractor Howard S. Wright, not the county and “is largely staffed with off-duty officers from SPD and other law enforcement agencies.
The construction has continued on the more than $200 million youth jail facility despite a legal decision that thrust its funding into question and an ongoing protest effort over the massive investment in a facility advocates say is used to disproportionately incarcerate black youth. In April, nine people were arrested during a “People’s Moratorium” protest at the site. UPDATE: The county has taken issue with our characterization of the work underway at 12th and Alder as an “expansion” even though the new campus will fill most of the block and have a larger physical footprint than the existing facility. Here is how they describe the project:
The Children and Family Justice Center is comprised of both a courthouse and youth detention space, and will replace the complex known as the Youth Services Center. It is not an expansion of the current facility, which will be torn down after completion of the CFJC. In addition, detention in the CFJC will be smaller than the current facility, with just 112 beds versus more than 200 now.
As of Tuesday morning, no groups had taken credit for the attack.
Police secured the site in the early morning hours and the Arson and Bomb Squad was called in to collect the broken glass, bottles with rags, and other evidence at the scene.
UPDATE 2:05 PM: SPD has posted a brief on the incident and is asking for the public to help in the investigation:
Arson detectives are investigating after multiple fires were deliberately set inside of a construction site in the 1300 block of East Remington Court early Tuesday morning.
An officer working as security for the site heard sounds from inside the fence line just after 3:30 a.m. When he went to investigate he found multiple small fires and what looked to be some shattered glass bottles. The officer grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the fires and continued to investigate. He was able to spot one more fire on top of an office trailer that was quickly extinguished by additional arriving officers.
Detectives from the Arson and Bomb Squad are now poring over the evidence and asking anyone with information to call (206) 684-8980.
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