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Man leaves gun in Lookout bathroom: Robbery foiled?

A 22-year-old man was arrested when he left his gun behind after a visit to the restroom at the newly opened Lookout on Bellevue Ave, according to a Seattle Police Department report.

Witnesses in the report said they believe the man and his accomplice were casing the bar for a possible robbery when they entered the Lookout around 4:40 PM on July 1. Witnesses said one man looked around the bar nervously as the other asked to use the restroom. A bar employee asked the waiting man for his ID. He said he didn’t have one and was asked to leave. When the other man returned from the bathroom, both men left the bar.

But one had left something important behind.

According to the report, the Lookout employee entered the restroom and found what appeared to be an old, rusted .380 semiautomatic pistol on the bathroom counter just to the left of the sink. The employee removed the weapon and called 911.

Meanwhile, the two men had returned to the Lookout. The first man asked about the bar menu and then re-entered the restroom. While the Lookout staff waited for police officers to arrive, the men took turns going into the bathroom to look for the gun, witnesses said.

The men were stopped leaving the bar by responding officers after the two had been going in and out of the bathroom for about 15 minutes, according to the report.

One man was arrested for carrying a weapon in a public place. The report says the firearm turned out to be an air gun.

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15 thoughts on “Man leaves gun in Lookout bathroom: Robbery foiled?” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. ….kudos to the staff for paying attention to the body language of these idiots. Not sure why the Hill seems to be seeing a rise in violent crime (or potential crime) but hopefully the police are paying as close attention as the staff was that night.

  2. I agree that something was fishy, and I don’t blame the Lookout staff for getting nervous. However, I’m curious about how police handled the situation.

    Justin, what do you mean by, “arrested for carrying a weapon in a public place”? The part of the report shown here doesn’t mention the arrest. Typically, people are arrested because they are suspected by police either of being in the process of committing a crime or of having committed a crime. The purpose is to stop a crime in process, accuse the person of wrongdoing, and ensure that the person appears in front of a judge.

    What crime did the officer suspect this man of having committed when he allegedly left a BB gun in the restroom? I’ll assume that the cop didn’t recognize it as a BB gun. Is it illegal to carry a weapon in a public place? If so, how do people transport weapons from one private place to another?

  3. I’ll see if I can get anything else out of SPD and/or track down the case with the courts. Here’s what they arrested him on. Doesn’t mean it stuck:

    SMC 12A.14.083 Weapons in public places .
    •It is unlawful to knowingly carry or shoot any spring gun, air gun,
    sling or slingshot, in, upon, or onto any public place.

  4. It is also illegal to take weapons into bars. Even if you have a permit to carry it you will still have to leave it outside the bar.

  5. Huh. So the only way to move a spring gun, air gun, sling or slingshot, through Seattle from one private place to another is to violate the law. Thanks, legislators.

    Strangely, in this case, it was the guy leaving the airgun on private property that got him hassled by the police.

  6. i’m trying to add all this up – it seems like the response time for a firearm left in a bathroom was a bit high – the cops didn’t show up for 15 minutes while they went in and out of the toilet? that must have been incredibly stressful for the staff there – but you’d think that a weapons call would kind of jump pretty close to the top of the priority queue for the officers in the area?

  7. But it was no longer a weapon sitting somewhere waiting to fire unexpectedly. It was never that, in fact. It was one found left abandoned, just sitting there. With no bullets, and maybe some BBs inside. Does that even warrant a visit from police? Even if it was a real gun? Or another weapon?

    I don’t expect the police to give much priority to a knife left laying on a restroom counter. Bomb? Sure. Knife? No. Gun? Probably not. Just take it to the precinct. Some guys acting strange and *really* botching their “hey, you want to buy a gun?” “yeah, man, meet me at the Lookout” … “where is it?” “in the men’s room like I said” “well I didn’t see it” “well go back in there and look again” caper? Sure, if there’s nothing pressing keeping them. Otherwise? It’s just an abandoned gun and some weirdos who left the bar earlier after not doing anything but looking shifty and going to the men’s room. And forgetting their BB gun in there.

    That anyone was arrested only makes sense if you assume that the cops couldn’t tell a BB gun from a real one. Maybe they couldn’t. Even if they couldn’t, the worst they could have suspected was someone taking a gun into the one kind of business in which guns are not allowed, then leaving it behind in the restroom. It’s weird, but it’s not SWAT team territory.

  8. Generally you wouldn’t need to carry a weapon into a place of business if you were transporting it from one private place to another. The person most likely didn’t need the weapon to go to the bathroom.

  9. finding a weapon abandoned in the bathroon is such a common occurrence “most” people would think nothing of it. It absolutely makes sense to call the police.

    Maybe they could have put it in the lost and found drawer in hopes its owner returned to claim it.

  10. I happened to go to The Lookout between visit #1 and visit #2. Here’s my first person take:

    There was a weird vibe when I arrived. Dude #1 was loitering on the property edge trying to look casual and failing. He was closely watching Dude #2, who went inside ahead of me.

    Bartender #1 was straightfaced when serving my wine and watching Bartender #2. Bartender #2 was chatting with sitting Dude #2. Sitting Dude #2 goes in and out the bathroom 2x while my wine is being poured and paid for. Clearly there was some history or tension between the Dudes and the Bartenders.

    I didn’t like the vibe going on inside, so I sat on the patio. Could have been nothing, could have been something — in any event, not my business, right?

    I sippy, sippy,sipped the wine, and eventually a cop comes out to the back for a half a minute with Bartender #1 to get something from an outside cupboard. As I leave 10 minutes later, I ask the bartenders what’s up and get the gun-left-in-the-bathroom-then-dude-returns-to-look-for-it sequence of events. The two dudes were being searched and back-seated as I left.

    In retelling this story later, my friends and I speculated all kinds of scenarios for how a gun would be left in a bathroom. Gun pass-off gone wrong? Robbers who chickened out? Forgetful and potentially future Darwin Award winners?

    Interestingly, leaving guns in bathrooms isn’t such a rare occurrence. Several law enforcement professionals have done so.

  11. MW, my comment previous to yours is not directly related to the incident reported here, but to the report that SMC 12A.14.083 makes it illegal to carry an air gun, sling or slingshot, in, upon, or onto any public place. That means that everyone who owns one of those things that was manufactured on private property and was moved by the owner across public property en route to its destination on the owner’s private property is owned by a criminal.

    It it truly illegal to transport a slingshot on the street from the slingshot emporium to your home in Seattle? If so, when that law was enacted, did legislators word it in such a manner to prohibit all BB guns except those which were manufactured and stored on the same piece of private property or on adjacent private property? Sure, it was great that police had a reason to step in and check things out when a rusty BB gun .308 lookalike was left in the men’s room of the Lookout by some sketchy teenagers (not known to be carried or fired by them, of course). But doesn’t the law as described make you wonder why we’d ban carrying something that people don’t typically build at home from the private property where it was purchased across the public property that those people will need to cross to get from the point of purchase to their homes or BB shooting ranges? Surely I’m misunderstanding something.

  12. Thanks Jeanine. Weird scene. I like the google search link :)

    FYI, I talked to SPD about the incident this morning but the media relations person had to gather more info before commenting. Didn’t get a call back this afternoon so will chase them down again on Wednesday.

  13. Heard back from SPD.

    re: the code, interpretation is that you can be arrested for having an air gun in a public place. Doubtful the court side of things would go very far if you are carrying your Daisy air rifle in a box on the bus on your way to Seattle airgun target shooting championships but that’s the law.

    re: response time, dispatchers prioritize calls based on seriousness and in-progress/not in-progress. Given that the airgun had been secured, it sounds like this had lower prio.

    re: the suspect, I have a name that I need to check out now to see what is happening from courts side of things.

  14. I’ve got more info on the 22-year-old arrested in this incident. He was released from jail on July 2nd on $950 bail. I’ll do what I can to find out what happens with the charges but muni court can be high effort/low return information gathering proposition.

    Cause No: 540432
    Court: SEATTLE MUNICIPAL COURT
    RCW / ORD: 12A.14.080
    Release Reason: Conditional release
    Bail Amount: $950.00
    Charge: WEAP IN PUBLIC PLACE

  15. The “Charge: WEAP IN PUBLIC PLACE” part is odd, because the BB gun was only seen on private property, and because SMC 12A.14.080 Unlawful use of weapons only mentions one public place: a “stadium or convention center operated by a city, county or other municipality”.

    Do you suppose they’re hoping for a helpful confession to be mistakenly provided? The only evidence there seems to be of use of the weapon or of having it in a public place is the weapon itself, which was found abandoned on private property. It seems that if these guys have the sense to keep their lips zipped when a police officer is trying to build a case against them, there would not be a shred of evidence linking either of them to the weapon. However, most people are relatively unfamiliar with their rights and responsibilities when interacting with police.