Police investigating gunfire at 23rd and Union car wash

Police are investigating after a burst of gunfire at a 23rd Ave car wash reportedly targeted a woman who fled in terror inside a nearby business to escape Saturday afternoon, according to police radio dispatches.

We have not yet confirmed details with police but East Precinct radio reported several units converging at Uncle Ike’s car wash just north of 23rd and Union after a bout of gunfire was reported just before 1:30 PM.

The victim was uninjured, according to radio reports.

Police were searching for a green Camaro carrying two men reportedly involved in the shooting. A car matching that description was stopped about two miles south of the shooting scene and one person was detained but we do not yet know if police have connected him to the shooting.

King County to ‘reorg’ a public health approach to juvenile justice

King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an order Thursday directing the health department to make a plan and timeline for juvenile justice reform. Seattle Police Department Chief Kathleen O’Toole supports the order.

“I wholeheartedly support this bold step to transform the way our community handles juvenile offenders,” O’Toole said in a statement. “Credible research suggests that we can reduce crime by bringing a rehabilitative, public health approach to juvenile justice. In addition to the change that’s being announced today, I also believe we must continue to expand programs that support all of Seattle’s young people early in life, investments that are essential to preventing youth from becoming offenders in the first place.” Continue reading

Trial of Capitol Hill photographer charged with rape set to begin

The trial of Matt Hickey, the Capitol Hill gadfly, photographer, and freelancer accused of rape through fake porn “auditions,” is scheduled to begin November 27th.

Barring any further continuance, prosecutors hope to charge Hickey with four separate counts of second degree rape. Hickey’s initial October 2016 court date postponed due to Hickey’s refusal to waive the extradition process as he sat in a Nevada jail. His first appeared in court November 29th, 2016 where pleaded not guilty. Hickey remains jailed on $200,000 bail.

The Stranger’s Sydney Brownstone first investigated and revealed Hickey’s alleged rape and scams last year. The Los Angeles Times highlighted Brownstone’s work in a story on the case last week.

SPD’s investigation turned up more alleged rapes since 2001. Hickey, meanwhile, claims sexual contact with the victims was consensual.

Community crime meeting takes on Capitol Hill, Central District package thefts

Many Deliveries

There are so many package thefts on Capitol Hill that we only mention the interesting ones in CHS blotter reports. With online ordering about to peak for the season, find out how you can keep your packages safe and how you can help your building be more secure at the next meeting of the East Precinct Advisory Council, Thursday night:

EastPac Meeting

Experts from the SPD’s burglary unit will be on hand to give you tips and answer questions.

Blotter | Driver OK after bat thrown off Pike overpass smashes through windshield

(Image: WSP)

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

  • Bat through windshield: The Washington State Patrol reports that a woman suffered minor injuries after a bat apparently thrown from the Pike overpass slammed through her windshield Saturday. Pictures of the aftermath were posted by the WSP Saturday afternoon. There were no immediate arrests. If you have any information that could help in the investigation, call SPD at (206) 625-5011.

Continue reading

East Precinct cop accused of theft pleads not guilty

Seattle Police Department officer Michael Stankiewiczthe cop charged with theft for allegedly skipping 55 days of work in the East Precinct — has pleaded not guilty to the crime.

Prosecuting documents state Stankiewicz stole $23,905.65 by allegedly being absent from work when he was scheduled to be on duty.

Stankiewicz was arraigned Monday morning.

His case setting date is scheduled for November 27 under judge Sean O’Donnell with Anna Goykhman being Stankiewicz’s counsel.

Following the entry of his plea, jail records show Stankiewicz was booked into King County Jail before being released a half hour later. The defendant remains out of custody pending court hearings.

Man charged in string of fake FBI agent robberies including $130K rip-off in Central District

The man the FBI says impersonated one of their agents and robbed a Central District business of nearly $130,000 has been arrested and charged, officials announced Friday.

Steven W. Fisher, 43, has been charged with attempted robbery, robbery, and five counts of impersonating a federal officer, according to the announcement from the Western District of Washington’s U.S. Attorney.

In a January robbery reported on by CHS at the time, investigators say Fisher claimed to be a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent investigating a suspicious transaction at 23rd and Jackson’s Red Sea Finance.

According to the SPD report on the incident, a worker at the “bank/savings and loan” was closing up for the night around 7 PM when the suspect knocked on a metal security gate, showed a badge, and said he was FBI. Once he was let in past the security gate, the phony agent told the worker he had conducted a “bad transaction” and asked to see the records for the day. “(The victim) pulled up his transaction record on the computer as S1 looked on,” the report reads. Continue reading

Officer charged with theft for skipping 55 days of work in the East Precinct

East Precinct cop Michael Stankiewicz has been charged by the King County Prosecutor for getting paid for days that he was not actually working.

On August 15th, a lieutenant noticed a discrepancy in Stankiewicz’s scheduled work day when the officer was absent, according to the charges. The lieutenant then checked other logs, saw a pattern, and notified respective commands. The Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) acted on its investigation of Stankiewicz on August 29th, inducing the officer’s paid suspension.

Once the OPA found the accusations grounded, the prosecuting attorney was notified, and Stankiewicz was put on unpaid leave. Of the 321 days the OPA checked, the investigation found the Marysville resident got paid 55 separate times where he made $49.29 an hour but wasn’t working.

The total amount of unwarranted pay Stankiewicz is charged for taking: $23,905.65.

Stankiewicz was previously cited for excessive force in 2015 in which he received eight days suspension. In this incident, he was found to have unnecessarily lifted a sitting, arrested individual only to knock out the man’s legs from underneath him and choke him.

The defendant will be arraigned on November 6th at the King County Courthouse.

Meet the one woman holding down SPD’s Bias Crimes Unit

SPD Detective Beth Wareing (Image: Alex Garland)

While the Seattle Police Department has kept track of biased crime cases for decades — it has to be reported to the feds — a unit dedicated to investigating the reports is only a few years old. It sits underneath the homicide and assault units. The person in charge? Detective Beth Wareing.

She’s technically a coordinator but she reads all the cases, knows where they are and answers questions. The hallmark of bias crime, Wareing said, is random selection — a stranger suddenly choosing to do something hateful to a person with little or no warning. “It’s one of the things that makes them a little difficult to solve,” she said. The department says only 39% of reported bias crimes in 2017 have resulted in charges.

The number of reports, so far, never goes down. “It’s a challenge to say what is completely responsible for increases,” Wareing says. “It is possible it’s in an increase in bias crimes, people are reporting more, officers are doing better at identifying characteristics in a case, or demographic trends have been increasing interactions between people.”

The reality is, however, it’s rarely one factor. And things like politics and media coverage matter.

“One of the things I’m seeing in Seattle is people in Seattle are aware,” Wareing said. “They tend to be pretty active, they read the news. We get a lot of concerned citizens calling in.” Continue reading

Expert: Woman’s unsolved 2015 Madison Valley death ‘most likely a homicide’

A photo of Schmidt on adventure in Alaska provided to CHS by her family

Family of Devan Schmidt, the 29-year-old found dead in a Madison Valley home in 2015, say they have proof she was murdered but the case is not moving forward because the victim was a young woman found with drugs in her system.

“If a young woman has drugs in her system and she is raped and murdered in Seattle… it’s just going to be written off as undetermined?,” Lia Kendall asks. The victim’s sister, provided CHS with the findings of a renowned forensic pathologist and toxicologist expert who says the death “is most likely a homicide.”

“The findings at the autopsy point to it, the findings at the scene support it and the circumstantial evidence is almost compelling,” the expert wrote in a July 2017 letter to Kendall shared with CHS in which the pathologist offers to take part in possible legal proceedings in the case. CHS is not identifying the expert because Kendall agreed not to make his involvement in the case public until there is an arrest and charges. Kendall says the investigator has offered his services at no charge.

On the morning of May 2nd, Schmidt was found unconscious by a housemate. The roommate called 911 and was guided through CPR. Seattle Fire medics rushed to the house near E Denny Way and 29th Ave E but pronounced Schmidt dead at the scene. The case troubled the medical examiner who wrote that circumstances around the death were “concerning for homicidal violence,” and asphyxia “could not be ruled out.” Continue reading