One person reported shot in foot after Harvard gunfire — Also, overnight shots in the Central District

A Seattle Police officer heard multiple, rapid fire gunshots ring out across Pike/Pine early Sunday morning and Seattle Fire treated a victim reported to have been shot in the foot in a second night of gunfire in the area. Meanwhile, police found shell casings and a large crowd following a second reported “assault with weapons” incident in the Central District — but, fortunately, no victim.

In the Pike/Pine incident, police converged on an area near Harvard and Union around 2:45 AM as Seattle Fire was called to treat a male with a reported gunshot wound to the foot outside the west entrance of the nearby QFC. The injury was apparently not serious but we have not yet confirmed details with Seattle Fire or SPD. Witnesses reported at least two vehicles that may have been involved were seen leaving the area of the shooting.

Later Sunday morning, a fight near 23rd and Jackson ended with gunfire in a disturbance just before 4:45 AM. According to East Precinct radio, police arrived to find around 20 people remaining in the area but no victim.

There were no immediate arrests in either incident.

According to SPD data, gun incidents including shots fired with and without victims are up 36% in the East Precinct vs. 2014.

UPDATE: SPD has posted a report on the Pike/Pine incident:

Officers are investigating after a man walking in Capitol Hill was shot in the foot early Sunday morning.

Police Sgt. Michael Renner was standing at the corner of Broadway and Pike St. Sunday morning at 2:45 when he heard gun shots to the west. Additional officers flooded the area and found a man who had been shot in the foot while walking in the 1400 block of Harvard Ave. Officers were also approached by the owner of a car who said that as he sat in the driver’s seat bullets hit his car and lodged in the seat.

Medics took the man who was shot to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. Officers scoured the block and found several 40 caliber and 9mm shells which were all taken in as evidence. Despite an extensive area check, they did not find the suspects.

If you have any information in this case please call the Homicide/Assault tip line at (206)233-5000.

UPDATE 10/5/2015 9:27 AM: Seattle Central officials contacted East Precinct Monday morning to report a possible bullet hole found on the Pike side of the school’s Harvard Ave building.

Police investigate after Pike/Pine gunfire

Police were searching for the gunman witnesses reported seeing firing shots early Saturday morning near the bars and clubs of 11th Ave.

Gunfire was first reported around 1:50 AM Saturday as police in the area heard the shots and witnesses reported seeing a male firing the gun near 11th and Pine, according to East Precinct radio.

Nobody was injured in the incident but police found spent shell casings. Officers also made at least one arrest for obstruction but it wasn’t clear if the person taken into custody was believed to be the shooter.

The suspect was described as a black male, around 5’8″, wearing a dark hoodie with fur around the hood.

SPD failing to adequately document May Day-type tactics, approval ratings lowest in East Precinct

The good news: the Seattle Police Department is making encouraging progress towards reforming its history of overly aggressive policing tactics identified by the Department of Justice in 2012.

The bad news: The monitor tasked with overseeing that reform has found the department is failing to adequately investigate mid-level use of force incidents, like those involving pepper spray, tasers, and blast balls.

On the same day Attorney General Loretta Lynch was in town meeting with Central Area activists, the federal monitor tasked with overseeing SPD’s use of force consent decree filed an assessment on how the department was progressing with internally tracking use of force incidents.

The monitor found the department was hitting key benchmarks laid out by the DOJ. However, the report also said SPD still has “a ways to go” towards adequately documenting and investigating Type II use of force incidents by officers, like those typically involved in responding to May Day protests on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Blotter | Knifepoint robbery reported on backside of Pike/Pine

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Robbery: Police found a man down in an alley after a reported knifepoint robbery just after 11 PM Tuesday. Police rushed to the area after a caller said he was down in an alley near the E Madison IHOP in the incident near Seneca and Broadway Ct on the backside of Pike/Pine. According to East Precinct radio reports, the victim said he was approached from behind and did not get a clear look at the suspect. Seattle Fire was called to the scene to treat the victim for a reported injured shoulder. There were no immediate arrests.
  • Eastlake murder: Police are investigating a homicide in Eastlake:
    Detectives have arrested a 55-year-old man in connection with a fatal weekend fight outside a Seattle housing facility. Two residents of the housing facility, located in the 1800 block of Eastlake Avenue, left the facility just before 3 AM Saturday and began fighting one another. The victim, a 47-year-old man, was injured in the fight, and returned to his apartment at the facility. About 10 hours later, staff at the facility notified police that the victim was found in medical distress and was taken to Harborview Medical Center. Police arrested a 55-year-old man who had fought with the victim and booked him into the King County Jail for assault. The 47-year-old man later died from his injuries, leading police to re-book the 55-year-old suspect into jail for Investigation of Homicide. Continue reading

Hold-up at 16th/Mercer part of string of overnight armed robberies

Seattle Police investigated a string of armed robberies overnight that included a hold-up on Capitol Hill near 16th and Mercer.

According to SPD radio dispatches, a male victim was robbed of his wallet and phone by a group of three armed with handguns near 16th and Mercer just around the corner from the Canterbury around 10:30 PM Sunday. The suspects were last seen running northbound on 16th Ave E. Police were told the sound of what was believed to be cap gun firing could be heard as the group ran away. There were no reported injuries. UPDATE: The victim in Sunday night’s crime tells CHS he was able to track his phone to an address… in Renton. The victim also said he had to wait 90 minutes on the phone after he called SPD to relay the information. No word on whether SPD was able to act on the information.

Later just after 1 AM, a female victim told police a group of three males tried to stick her up near 19th and Main, firing off a handgun in the process before fleeing toward Blanche Lavizzo Park. The female victim described three males wearing bandanas over their faces. At least one male was armed. She told police one in the group put the gun to her waist and demanded her belongings. The victim said she told the robbers she had nothing before they turned her loose and she fled to a nearby apartment.

Police were investigating whether the same group was also involved in a third robbery during the night reported elsewhere in the area. We do not yet have details on the third incident. UPDATE: A third incident — actually the second in the three robbery sequence — was reported around 12:15 AM on Beacon Hill on 15th Ave S. If the robberies involved the same group, they apparently traveled south from Capitol Hill after the 16th and Mercer robbery before doubling back north for the 19th/Main robbery in the Central District. SPD is investigating.

The possible spree follows a period of relative quiet for street robbery activity after the typical summer flare-up on Capitol Hill and in the Central District. Last week, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch was in the Central District to discuss increased policing resources and funding in a sign of increased federal activity in the area to respond to concerns over gun violence.

UPDATE 9/29/2015 9:30 AM: SPD has posted a report on the robbery spree:

A group of three men are suspected in a series of overnight robberies in the East and South Precincts.

SPD robbery detectives believe the trio of suspects first approached a man and a woman at 16th Avenue and Mercer Street around 10:40 PM Sunday night. The suspects, who had hooded sweatshirts pulled over their faces, pulled guns on the victims and demanded cash and cellphones before fleeing the scene.

The victims told police they heard what sounded like a “cap gun” going off as the suspects fled. Officers tried tracking one victim’s cellphone, but were unable to locate it.

About two hours later, just before 12:30 PM, police received two back-to-back reports of robberies on Beacon Hill. First, a woman reported a group of suspects had flashed a gun in the 3000 block of 14th Avenue S. and threatened to shoot her if she didn’t hand over cash.

Minutes later, police received another report from a man, who said several suspects had approached him as he was getting out of his car in the 2900 block of 15th Ave S–just a few blocks away from the first robbery on Beacon Hill–and demanded cash and credit cards. Again, the suspects fled.

In a fourth case, a woman reported three masked suspects had approached her in a parking lot at 19th Ave and Main St. just after 1 AM and demanded her wallet and cell phone before they fled. The victim told police she heard what sounded like a gunshot as the suspects ran off.

K9 teams assisted in searching for the suspects throughout the night, but were unable to locate the men. No one was injured in the four incidents.

The suspects reportedly covered their faces with sweatshirts or bandannas during the incidents, and victims were only able to describe them as Hispanic men in their 20s. Detectives believe all four cases are connected and are working to track down additional details about the suspects.

If you have any information about these cases, please contact the SPD Robbery Unit at (206) 684-5535.

The victim in the incident on Capitol Hill tells CHS was with his wife during the holdup and has since seen periodic pings from his phone south of Seattle and on Beacon Hill. TV crews descended on the area around 16th and Mercer Monday night.

U.S. Attorney General meets with Central District reps, praises SPD reform, and, yes, brings cash for community policing programs


Attorney General Loretta Lynch addresses the media alongside Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Mayor Ed Murray (Image: CHS)

Seattle’s efforts to combat gun violence while simultaneously curbing excessive policing tactics is drawing a lot of attention — and even more cash — from the federal government.

On Thursday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch visited the Central Area as part of a national community policing tour where she highlighted, among other things, the progress the Seattle Police Department has made in meeting federal mandates to address excessive use of force by officers.

On the same day Lynch was in town, the Department of Justice monitor tasked with overseeing SPD’s use of force consent decree filed a report about how the department was progressing with internally tracking use of force incidents.

The monitor found that SPD was doing a good job in three out of four categories, including investigating the most severe use of force incidents. However, the monitor’s report said SPD sergeants “still had a ways to go” in adequately investigating mid-level use of force incidents by officers, like those involving tasers and pepper spray.

Lynch praised SPD and City officials for making progress towards coming into full compliance with the consent decree:

Thanks to the consent decree and the commitment to change it represented, the Seattle Police Department has adopted policies and instituted trainings to address bias, curtail the use of force and implement new mechanisms of accountability. Those reforms have not only led to positive results in Seattle, but have become a model for similarly situated departments throughout the country.

SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole was hired last year as the mayor searched for the right person to guide the department through its consent decree process.

Even as reforms are implemented, tensions continue to surface in the process. While many city officials and community leaders have praised the firing of officer Cynthia Whitlatch for her “sustained policy violations involving bias, abuse of police discretion, and escalation of a contact” in a July 2014 arrest on Capitol Hill, the Seattle Police Officers Guild and some East Precinct officers see the chief’s decision to sustain the findings of the Office of Professional Accountability as a betrayal of a veteran officer.

When asked about articles in the police union newspaper that have mocked the consent decree, Lynch said in a Thursday media briefing that her interactions with officers during the day had been positive. “I think that change is hard. It can be hard to be introspective,” she said. Continue reading

Capitol Hill next likely target for drug diversion program that puts counseling before jail

Outside the Broadway QFC. (Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

Heroin for sale outside the Broadway QFC (Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

A Seattle-born drug diversion program being replicated across the country could soon be making its way to Capitol Hill. Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion was launched in 2011 and works by placing drug use suspects into counseling instead of jail.

On Thursday at 6:30 PM, the Capitol Hill Community Council will be hosting LEAD organizers at 12th Avenue Arts to talk about the program and the possibility of expanding it to Capitol Hill.

“Most of us who are operationally involved in LEAD think it makss sense for Capitol Hill to offer,” said Lisa Daugaard, director of the Public Defender Association.

LEAD is currently available in downtown, Belltown, and in Skyway and is funded through a combination of public and private funding. The program is run through a partnership between City and County agencies and uses Evergreen Treatment Services for counseling.

Results from the program have been promising. LEAD participants were 87% less likely to be incarcerated after entry than those who didn’t participate, according to a 2-year study (PDF)of the program recently competed by the University of Washington. They also had 58% lower odds of a subsequent arrest after entry. Continue reading

Muralist victim in Capitol Hill art heist

Seattle muralist Ryan Henry Ward just gave E Pike a new mural. But today he’s hoping somebody on Capitol Hill Monday night gives his painting back:12030333_10207077864178085_8078091421913454902_o

this 3 ft x 9 ft painting was stolen out of my truck on Capitol hill last night. If any one sees it or a painting of that dimension let me know. I built the frame so even if they paint over it i can recognize it as my own. very rare size canvas.

Keep a lookout.Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 3.43.59 PM

Police make arrests following Pike/Pine pistol-whipping, purse snatch incidents

Police chased down the suspect as Seattle Fire units converged on Pike/Pine early Sunday morning to a reported assault with weapons incident that left a man bleeding on the sidewalk along 10th Ave after being pistol whipped.

The 2:10 AM incident was originally reported to emergency units as a shooting but arriving officers found the man in his 20s down with facial injuries after being smacked by a person with a handgun.

UPDATE: Here’s Phoenix Jones’s account of the incident including his claim that he stopped the beating and chased down the suspect:

Seattle Fire arrived to find the victim alert and conscious following the attack.

Officers spotted a man matching the pistol-whipping suspect description and took him into custody nearby at Broadway Ct and Seneca after a short chase.

UPDATE x2: Now here’s SPD account of the incident including the suspect’s weak attempt at convincing police he wasn’t carrying a gun:

Officers arrested three men and seized a handgun after a fight at bar closing early Sunday on Capitol Hill.

Police received a report of an assault around 2 AM Sunday in the 1400 block of 10th Avenue, where they found a bloodied man on the ground and three suspects attempting to climb into a car parked nearby. Continue reading