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Man killed with axe near 15th and Union

A horrific attack around 10:30 AM near 15th and Union has left one man dead. SPD officers responded to 15th and Union around 10:30 AM to a report that one man had attacked another with a axe. They have taken the suspect into custody and witnesses have identified him as the man who struck the fatal blows. UPDATE: We have a photo of the scene. While it is not gruesome, sensitive readers might not want to view the full image.

11:14AM – The man has died and a student at a nearby school witnessed the attack.

11:32AM – Man killed with pick axe near 14th and Union – Shocked neighbors in the area. I’m told the attack occurred in front of house at 15th and Union.

11:34AM – Man killed with pick axe near 14th and Union – A view of the scene. The body is obscured.

11:43AM – Man killed with pick axe near 14th and Union – SPD has few details at this point but confirmed that this is a homicide investigation. The adult male victim was dead when officers arrived. The suspect was captured in an alley a short distance away and identified by witnesses.

Investigators continue to collect evidence at the scene and Union is closed between 16th and 14th.

SPD will not confirm that the weapon was recovered but did confirm that witnesses reported the attacker used a pick-axe.

12:13PM – SPD report

On November 22nd at 10:37 a.m., East Precinct officers responded to a report of an assault in progress in the area of 15th Avenue and East Union Street. A man had attacked another man with an object that witnesses described as a pick axe. The suspect then fled on foot.

Responding officers found the victim dead and began a search of the area. Within minutes, officers located andarrested the suspect. What officers believe to be the murder weapon was also recovered.

The suspect has been transported to Seattle Police Headquarters for questioning. Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) detectives have responded to process the crime scene and search for evidence. Homicide detectives will be interviewing witnesses and the suspect.

More will be posted on this incident as soon as it becomes available.

12:36PM – No additional updates at this time. We’re checking to find out what we can about the victim and the suspect who was arrested.

12:42PM – We are reviewing police radio communications in the wake of the attack. Here’s the timeline as we re-construct it.

10:37 AM
Multiple calls that a man has been attacked with a pick-axe

10:38 AM
Suspect southbound in the alley between 14th and 15th from Union

10:38 AM
SPD finds male found down on sidewalk at 15th and Union. Suspect is reported as wearing all black.

10:39 AM
Victim is reported as adult male, unconscious, bleeding from head.

10:41 AM
Another witness reports the suspect was wearing blue jacket, blue jeans and a beanie.

10:42 AM
Call for an extra unit at 14th and Unit to clear school kids as the suspect is being surrounded.

10:43 AM:
Call for Union to be closed

10:45 AM
Updated description: White heavy set male, 5’5″ 230, dark hair, black heavy jacket, black back pack.

10:46 AM:
Suspect is surrounded by multiple units in the alley and taken quickly into custody.

1:32PM – Street closure – East Union between 14th and 16th and surrounding streets remained closed as of 1:15 PM.

2:01PM – East Union re-opened – Per Alan’s comment below.

2:07PM – Bulletin sent to Seattle Academy parents – “It is possible that several of our middle school students witnessed the act.” Sent out this morning at 11:37 AM.

To the Seattle Academy Parent Body:

At approximately 10:30 a.m., a violent altercation between two men occurred on the corner of 15th and Union, kitty corner from the Temple Building (on the opposite side from the walking route of our kids). One of the men struck the other in the head with an ax; the aggressor fled between houses, walking in the opposite direction from the Temple Building. A suspect is, according to Seattle Police, in custody.

All Seattle Academy buildings immediately went on lockdown; all streets and sidewalks have been cordoned off by the Seattle Police Department, so access and egress from Seattle Academy’s middle school may be difficult for a period of time, at the discretion of the Seattle Police Department.

It is possible that several of our middle school students witnessed the act; our counselors are working with andwill work with those students, as well as the rest of the student body, to help them with a very difficult emotional situation.

Given that we are dismissing at noon because of the weather and that Seattle Police have cut off transportation to and from the Temple area, we are walking middle school students to the CUB and pick up for middle school families will occur at the CUB lot on the corner of 13th and E Union.

No other details are available at this time; we will keep you posted as we get more information.

As always, our faculty and staff have responded superbly and have done so with the best interests of your kids as their guiding principle.

4:08PM – Suspect details – We are starting to get more details of the man police suspect in this grisly murder. The 26-year-old is currently booked into King County Jail on investigation of homicide. He has recently lived on Summit Ave. SeattleCrimereports on his record including arrests in connection with assault and domestic violence cases.

4:12PM – Victim details – SPD says it will be releasing some details about the victim in this crime shortly. In the meantime, SPD would only confirm that the victim is an adult male.

UPDATE x2: SPD says the victim was a 58-year-old male. They can’t yet say if he is from the area.

4:56PM – Weapon details – We’re also hearing that the weapon used in the murder was more axe than pickaxe. We’ve updated the headline and some elements of the post to reflect that.

7:37PM – SPD says victim likely did not know attacker – SPD’s update on the 15th/Union attack:

Updated information on 15th/East Union homicide

A 26 year old male has been interviewed by Homicide detectives and booked into the King County Jail for Investigation of Homicide. The victim is a 58-year old male. The weapon used in this attack was a hatchet, instead of a pick axe described by many of the witnesses. That tool has been recovered. The Homicide Unit is continuing to investigate this crime.

It is believed that the suspect and the victim did not know each other. This appears to have been a stranger type attack.

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51 thoughts on “Man killed with axe near 15th and Union

  1. Because assault with a pickax is clearly something that would only happen in the Central District. Tom, you are a racist prig.

  2. Nobody knows at this point. In my opinion I feel it was random. If he was planning the murder, wouldn’t he have done it more discretely, like at night in a dark alley way or something? (I’ve been watching too much CSI) Its just that SO many cars pass by this area, I couldn’t help to think that this guy is just mentally crazy.

  3. I live close to that area and I have always felt safe. I’m a white middle class pregnant women and I wouldn’t move and I hang out on capital hill all the time. That’s around Seattle U as well, just so you know, there’s a bunch of yuppies/hipsters/gays/ and every thing in the middle living around 15th and Union. Don’t judge.

  4. You’re the one I say UGH at. Why don’t you just say what you mean; “I think black people are the only ones who commit crimes and now they are invading (comparatively) rich, white, Capitol Hill.” Crime can happen ANYWHERE, and be done by ANYBODY for a multitude of reasons. The upsetting thing here is that someone died; not the fact that it happened in a “good” neighborhood.

  5. go ahead and call me judgemental, but a seemingly random (we’ll know more when the details come out) attack in broad daylight in full view of many witnesses? Doesn’t sound like they gave it much thought, as they were captured right away. Sounds like someone not acting in their right mind, perhaps high on drugs? I guess we’ll know soon enough.

  6. Also if you took a look at the crime statistics there are far more violent crimes in the Capitol hill area. Boy remember the shooting that killed all those young kids a few years back, damn Madison valley crime creeping into the hill.

  7. Yes, that report tells you there is plenty of violent crime on Capitol Hill but it doesn’t tell you where the criminals reside or any other demographic data…

  8. Those with memories going back long enough know that Union has always been trouble. 17th and Union had a number of drive-by shootings in the late 80’s. 23rd and union goes without saying as a drug/violence epicenter. 15th and Union (at the pillars) used to be where the Seattle Academy kids dealt drugs when the school was only in the temple de hirsch. And last but not least, how many TT Minor, LWGS and SAAS kids have been maimed by speeding cars on that stretch between 12th and 19th?

  9. the reality is most violent crimes are between people who KNOW each other. so be more aware of who you know, not where you live. i’m not saying location isn’t something, it’s just not everything.

  10. sorry I meant random, not as in a random target, but seemingly unprovoked (not like a fight that escalates to gunfire, for example) and with no attempt to commit the crime away from witnesses.

  11. It is long past time we got an initiative petition to ban the way the state mental health laws enable dangerous personalities to murder us at random all in the name of protecting the mentally ill. The pendulum has swung too far, the lawmakers are unwilling to take the action clearly needed, so its up to the public to step in and do what needs to be done.

    Shannon Harps, the Kalebu killer of South Park, geez there are dozens of murders in the past few years that were entirely preventable except that the mental health workers who know the imminent danger are threatened with jail and fines if they warn anyone including the police. Enough is enough!

  12. Tom is right, I could go on and on about how bad it is living in the cd, here are a few.

    My house has tripled in value since I purchased it 10 years ago (current market value)
    My house has never been broken into
    My car has never been broken into or stolen
    I have never been bothered when I walk to the bus stop at ungodly hours of the morning
    I know all of my neighbors by name
    I was mugged once and my bag stolen which is terrible and scary. Oh wait, that was on 13th and Denny.
    I was once witness to a shooting, truly frightening. I think that was on 10th and Pike.

    So yeah Tom, I’m good here in the CD, how is your $1200/month studio apartment working out for you?

  13. Oh COME ON you guys, he didn’t say anything about race. Would you guys chill? It’s a shocking situation. I’ve never had anything bad happen to me/my apartment/car either. I live on the hill, no I don’t pay that much for my one bedroom, blah blah blah. Why are you so defensive about the CD? I don’t stereotype those of you who live there, please don’t get mad when someone does that/stereotype right back.

  14. I live in the area too (3 blocks away) and it is a really nice area. We’ve met so many of our neighbors, who are great people. Not like the neighborhood in the Laurelhurst where no-one cared who we were until four years later when we put up the for sale sign. I’ve never felt even slightly at risk walking around here, day or night.

    There do seem to be a group of fairly off people wandering the capitol hill and central areas (well… all of Seattle really) and I second the call for social services to work harder on keeping mentally ill people from being displaced. These are the acts of desperate people who felt they had no one to turn to, no avenue but to do these horrible things. As a community, we need to support the local government when they want to budget to help mental health services, drug rehab, homeless services. That’s the only way to break the cycle – make sure there is help out there for people who need it.

  15. The girl who was stabbed in 2007 a few blocks from where THIS happened? It ended up being one of the patients from the mental facility that is nearby. This is an ongoing problem apparently. I wouldn’t be surprised it if was yet another patient from the same facility.

  16. Yeah, I was living just a block away from the halfway home where that 2007 murderer lived. Isn’t there another one of those Pioneer Services halfway homes right in the middle of the Seattle Academy campus? (am I mistaken on this?) I walk by it all the time & wonder how much concern it must cause the folks at the school…

  17. Oh, I am sorry, he must have just meant that people start committing crimes due to the slightly higher altitude or something! Silly me!

    He didn’t say anything about race? Are you serious? Just what do you think he was trying to imply then!?!? The CD was historically an African American neighborhood; I have only been in Seattle a few years, and even I know that. It’s like saying that Harlem is a bad neighborhood but saying that you never meant to imply anything about race. Both neighborhoods are gentrified now (for better or worse), but this racist bs continues and these neighborhoods continue to be perceived as more dangerous because they are/were communities of color. I moved to the border of the CD a few months ago, practically next door to Trader Joe’s (white hipster haven), but some of my friends still act like they are venturing to some distant lawless land. It is ridiculous. I feel way safer up here then I ever did down the hill, where I was almost mugged and a heard of drunk white hipsters threw a desk chair threw my window.

  18. This is truly a heinous act. Apparently a whole group of young kids from Seattle Academy witnessed this horrific act as they were walking to their P.E. Class in another building on campus. I can’t imagine how traumatized they are by this! I’m glad they caught the perpetrator

  19. My thought exactly. Shannon Harp’s killer had lived in a transitional facility on Summit. The suspect in this case is said to have “recently lived on Summit Avenue”. I can’t help but wonder if it’s the same place.

    I know it’s not possible to stop all the hate and violence in the world, but it makes me absolutely SICK when people bitch about the government taking too much of their money and using it for social programs. Mental health services are either non-existent or just plain shameful. I have a friend who works as a social worker and makes home visits to check on the mentally ill. He makes $15 an hour. I made more than that working in a coffee shop (if you include my tips). Half the people he checks on should be institutionalized, but there’s no room (ie: no money) for them.

    I wonder if this is another case of a terrible crime that could have been prevented if the suspect had been more closely monitored or needed to be institutionalized. Scary and sad.

  20. so, we’re supposed to not stereotype the CD…while you make assumptions about the people who live in the hill? Really? you can say it’s a race thing, personally I don’t think crime has anything to do with ones race (note that the attacker here was white?), but if you think that’s what he was insinuating, whatever. I don’t see why it’s okay for you to puke out insult after insult about capitol hill residents but you get all up in arms when someone makes a comment about central district crime. go be hypocritical on your own blog.

  21. Are you saying you wouldn’t consider the killer mentally crazy if he had planned and executed his murder more discretely?

  22. I’m just going to hop on this and say it was a stupid comment, but definitely not one filled with any sort of animosity. There is a stereotype in Seattle (as there is in almost every city everywhere) that certain parts of town have more crime than others. This can be said about Belltown, U-District, the CD, the ID, Pioneer Square, etc. On the flip side you can say that there are certain parts of town that have a proliferation of affluent residents. This can be said to a degree about certain parts of Capitol Hill (Yay $675 rent?), Queen Anne, Belltown, Pioneer Square, the CD, the ID, etc.

    Those places listed about have varying demographics but the same crime. Burglary, assault, homicide, muggings, drugs, etc happen in all of those places, but would you call someone a racist for saying “The crime from the U-District is hitting a little too close to home.” Probably not. I’d venture to say, unless you were grasping at straws and going for the homeless-phobe route, you’d probably not give a shit, no?

    So, yeah again, it was a stupid comment but man lay off a bit. Everyone says stupid things every once and a while, like assuming that Capitol Hill is full of idiots paying too much for everything.

  23. Well, we agree on one thign, crime DOES NOT have anything to do with race, but I think that guy was pretty clearly insinuating otherwise. Yeah, the attacker was white, but which again demonstrates that members of any race can commit crimes. But again, what do you think that comment was trying to imply when it said that the crime of the CD (again, a historically African American neighborhood) was seeping down the hill?

    Also, I am not “puking out” insults about Capitol Hill residents–I AM A FREAKING CAPITOL RESIDENT!!! I am also white, young, privileged, so it’s not even like I am trying to talk smack about young white people–the reason I was pointing out that it was young white hipsters who threw a chair threw my window was to highlight the fact that it’s not like Capitol Hill is a safe perfect neighborhood because it’s white. Also, do you seriously not see the difference between “stereotyping” Capitol Hill by saying that a lot of white hipsters live there (not in any way a negative statement, and also a document-able fact) versus implying that residents of the CD (code for black people) are violent criminals (an ignorant, racist, inaccurate piece of fiction? Puh-lease.

  24. Joe was the victims name. He lived on 14th ave. We’re neighbors. Sweet peaceful old guy. Spent half his days smoking in the alley behind his house. I’ve said hi to him every day for the past 2 years. This is aweful.

  25. You all are funny (in a bad way). Why is it that when something like this happens, people point fingers and take sides? CD vs Cap Hill? REALLY? Next thing you know y’all are going to start penning initiatives for neighborhood walls to keep the unpleasants out. All of you live in Seattle/206-xxx-xxxx/981xx. Stop acting like you all are all in it together. All those neighborhoods are Seattle, and anyone who’s not from Seattle won’t care what piddly little hill your apt is on. Crime is crime. Stop acting like you’re on an island people. Shit happens all over-no one is immune. No one is better than anyone else just because they have a bigger paycheck either. Get over yourselves-ALL OF YOU. I’m pretty sure the victim’s family could care less about the CD or race relations between 206 neighborhoods right now.

    Grow up Seattle-seriously.

  26. so…we’re supposed to not “pretend like we’re all in it together” but also disregard what neighborhood our little apartments are in? your post is a little contradictory. regardless, it’s a good point. all neighborhoods have crime to some extent, deal with it.

    but I think people got way too worked up about some thoughtless remark from some random poster about CD crime. seriously.

  27. Wasn’t Joe always kneeling at the fence to keep his dog company? He had a friend sometimes with him. Such a nice guy. Sounds like from the report it was a random act… just scary.

  28. we all got out okay, fortunately. i am concerned about the student who witnessed the murder, i hope they are ok. it was by the middle school, and that is very disturbing.

  29. The three legged dog guy is usually in the front. Joe usually sat in the alley having a ciggy. Really nice guy that always said hi and was really friendly and totally chill. This sucks, so horrible to happen.

  30. Actually it was a typo…it was supposed to say “stop acting like you all **AREN’T** all in it together…” Meaning don’t act like one you all aren’t in Seattle. Seattle has crime-it isn’t neighborhood specific (but wouldn’t it be cool…cross the street from the CD to Cap Hill and *abra-cadabra*-crime free).

    Sorry about the typo.

  31. RIP Joe. You were a great guy to know and thanks for watching over all of your neighbors and having the humanity to acknowledge the existence of your fellow human beings with a simple “hi” or “good morning.” A truly unusual display for “cool” Seattle.

  32. I live at 14th & Union. Anyone who thinks 15th & Union is ‘all ghetto’ is either a fool or should get out of the suburbs once in a while.

  33. People: the comments section of every news story is not always the appropriate place to scream about race-relations in Seattle. Get it together, for christ sake. This was a terrible, senseless thing to have happened. Jumping to conclusions doesn’t help.

  34. Tragedy in every way. Condolences to the victim’s family. One historical point: born and raised here since late 50s-there has always been a racist attitude that the CD was rife with crime because, at the time, it was predominantly African American. Seattle has long held many racist practices and hate speech, even legal restrictions on where people could live. Honesty offers at least hope that these racist canards may someday be eliminated.

  35. This is a heinous act that could have happened to anyone and anywhere. Stop fighting over your stupid neighborhoods and assumptions. Send your thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of the victim and shut the hell up. Seriously people.