Traffic nightmares, a heavenly pursuit, birthday suits, and an unwanted housewarming party in this month’s Lake Union crime recap.
Chaos on the freeway: Commuters yet again faced a traffic nightmare Monday evening after all I-5 southbound lanes were stopped and turned around to evacuate the freeway. Around 7 p.m. the Washington State Patrol responded to an influx of calls reporting a man who had parked his truck on the Ship Canal Bridge and set it on fire. When approached by police, the suspect reportedly drew a knife and advanced. The troopers attempted to taser the man, which didn’t work, so they both shot him. The suspect was transported to Harborview Medical Center where he later died. The Ship Canal Bridge was closed until midnight as an investigation ensued.
Closer to God: A man was rescued from a 15-foot tall ledge on the edge of a building at Fifth Avenue and Pike Street. He reportedly told police that he had taken drugs and was climbing the building to “be closer to God.” The man was taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening leg injuries.
Full moon tonight: A man high on drugs and donning no clothing went on a rampage through the Eastlake neighborhood. He reportedly ran around the streets tearing out his hair, damaging cars, and threatening officers with rocks. He admitted to taking an array of drugs and was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment.
A warm welcome: A Texan man had only lived in Seattle for about a week when he was robbed in his apartment on 1000 6th Avenue North. According to the report, the resident’s door was kicked down just before 11 p.m. by a group of men, who barged in and held him down to the ground. The victim’s briefcase, wallet, iPhone and passport were stolen but he was left unharmed. Suspicious activity had been reported in this apartment during the lease of the previous tenant, thought to be drug-related and the cause of the intrusion.
Each month, we provide a brief summary of Lake Union crime activity from the previous month. Read on for this month’s recap of criminal activity…
Police Continue Their Hunt for Homicide Suspect: On April 6th, a man was shot near 5th Avenue and Olive Way. The suspect is still at large, and SPD are asking for any witnesses or people with information to step forward. The suspect is described as being a light-skinned black male with a short, curly afro. He is estimated to be in his early twenties, about 5’11” – 6 feet tall and of skinny build. At the time of the crime, he was unshaven and was wearing a red sweatshirt and jeans. He also has a marking above his right eye.
K9 Officers Track Down Suspects in Attempted Burglary: SPD were called to a vacant building in the 200 block of Fairview Avenue N on Thursday, April 17th after 10 p.m. with reports of a group of men on the roof, hitting a compressor with a sledgehammer. As officers arrived on the scene, the suspects fled and hid in the building. When they ordered the men out without response, they took a K9 unit named Ziva into the building. They found two of the suspects in closets and another was hiding in a roof vent. SPD recovered a backpack filled with tools and an ax. They booked the three suspects into King County Jail.
Serious Injuries Result from Pedestrian-Vehicle Collision: At about 4:45 p.m. on May 20th, two male pedestrians were involved in a collision with a vehicle near the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Denny Way. The pedestrians, ages 39 and 62, were thrown onto the windshield of the vehicle that struck them. They were transported to Harborview Medical Center in serious condition. No other details are known at this time.
Lake Union Boat Fire & Explosion Injures One: Seattle Fire responded to the a boat dock at 2732 Westlake Avenue North at about 9:30 a.m. on May 22nd from reports of a boat fire. Medics found the owner of the boat, a 33-year-old male, with extreme burns on his upper body. According to news reports, the fire was started when a spark from a vacuum cleaner ignited spilled gasoline (the man was attempting to clean up the spilled fuel with the vacuum). The man was burned on his hands, arms, torso and face with second- and third-degree burns, before he jumped into the water. He was transported to Harborview for treatment. His girlfriend was also on the boat at the time, but she avoided any injury. The estimated damage from the fire is $55,000.
This month in Lake Union crime, our neighborhood was the setting of some unfortunate events, including a fire and two shootings. Read on for summaries of these events…
Shooting Outside KC Sobering Center: Shots were fired near the KC Sobering Center around 4 a.m. on March 29th. Officers arrived on the scene and took a suspect into custody, but he was later released after being identified. Witnesses said they had seen the occupants of two vehicles shooting at each other, just south of the Sobering Center. According to reports, one of the cars was a black SUV and the other was a white sedan. SPD recovered 15 shell casings from the scene, and noted three bullet holes in the plywood construction sheets at Boren Avenue and Stewart Street. A stray bullet had hit a nearby apartment building window as well – officers investigated and found the resident of the apartment unhurt, however the bullet had pierced two panes of glass and the window shade before stopping in an interior wall. This remains an open investigation, since SPD was unable to contact or apprehend any suspects.
Fatal Shooting on Olive Way: An argument between two men resulted in one of them shooting and killing the other on April 6th. Witnesses saw two men arguing heatedly at about 2 a.m. near the intersection of 5th Avenue and Olive Way, when one of the men pulled out a gun and shot the other. SPD arrived on scene to find the 47-year-old victim dead, and the suspect had fled. He is described as being a black male with light skin, short and curly hair (afro), thin build, about 6 feet tall, in his early 20s. He was wearing a red sweatshirt and jeans, and has a distinct mark above his right eye. Click here to view the police drawing. If you have any information about the suspect or his whereabouts, please call 9-1-1 or the SPD’s Homicide Unit: 206-684-5550.
Boat Fire Damages Two Vessels in Lake Union: A marina fire at 1800 Westlake Avenue North on April 11th destroyed one boat and damaged another. Firefighters arrived on the scene at about 12:20 a.m., and extinguished the flames within about 20 minutes, but it was too late for a 33-foot vessel. Luckily, no one was hurt in the fire, although the total estimated damage to the boats and the dock where they were moored is $370,000. The cause for the fire is unknown.
Seattle Police were kept busy with a variety of opportunities to serve and protect in the South Lake Union neighborhood this past month. Not the lease of which was the tragic helicopter crash taking the lives of two of Seattle’s much loved news professionals. Read the summaries of recent Lake Union crime incidents below.
Customer Racks up Huge Dinner Bill – Attempts Walk-Out: A dine and dash effort was stopped in its tracks at the World Sports Grille on Feb 15th. The 35-year-old Seattle man experienced a bit of sticker shock when his dinner and drinks bill totaled $226.92. Apparently the order of four expensive Scotch whiskeys with his dinner was not pre-approved on his credit card when it came back declined. After claims of belonging to the Sicilian Mafia and also the CIA, the suspect dashed for the door where restaurant staff attempted to block his exit. He successfully made it out the door but was pursued and detained by restaurant staff until police could arrive. The suspect was booked into King County Jail for theft, Assault, and harassment. Hopefully the CIA will not claim jurisdiction on this one.
Construction Site Trespassing Incident: An alarm call at a construction site near Seattle Center resulted in the arrest of a 27-year-old male at about 2:30 on February 19th. Two suspects were captured on video inside the construction area near a crane. Officers called to the scene were able to detain and arrest one suspect but the second suspect successfully climbed the fence and escaped.
Marijuana Dealer Burglarized – Potentially by Customer: Evidently texting while burglarizing is all fun and games. On March 8th, Seattle Police were called to an Eastlake apartment to investigate a burglary. Upon arrival, officers noted the apartment had a strong smell of marijuana. The victim reported an Xbox One, Xbox 360, video games and cash were all stolen. He claimed that a friend of a friend who had been at the apartment previously had commented on his game collection. The friend had texted the victim that day asking if he was home. The report states that upon further questioning, the victim admitted he is a medical marijuana user and sells pot to his friends, one of whom is the suspect.
Ambulance Collides with Pedestrian: A pedestrian suffered a serious head injury on Saturday March 15th after an ambulance struck the pedestrian while crossing Boren Avenue. Apparently, an SUV had stopped to allow the pedestrian to cross when the pedestrian’s head was struck by the mirror on the passing ambulance. The ambulance driver was not found to be impaired and was released from the scene. The victim was taken immediately to Harborview for treatment. An investigation is on going.
Fatal Helicopter Crash Near the Seattle Center: On March 18th Seattle police responded to a tragic helicopter crash on Broad Street near the Seattle Center. KOMO News photographer Bill Strothman and pilot Gary Pfitzner were identified Tuesday as the two victims killed in the crash of the station’s news helicopter. Richard Newman, 38 suffered serious burns when the helicopter crashed on his car. Another man and a woman were in vehicles also struck by the helicopter were miraculously uninjured. The crash is still under investigation by the National Safety Transportation Board to determine the exact cause of the crash which saw the helicopter lift off the helipad and then rotate, crashing to the street in a fireball.
Featured photo from here, credit Demotix for Splash News.
Apparently, the cold temperatures and snow in the last month has resulted in a reduction in South Lake union crime. Let’s hope the bad guys continue this trend into the spring regardless of the weather conditions.
Botched Robbery Results in Arrest: A failed robbery at the Money Mart on East Olive Way on Jan 25th resulted in the arrest of the suspect. Upon receiving a demand note from a woman in line at about 2 p.m., the teller activated the silent alarm and called police. The 42-year-old female suspect fled the scene at that time. After stopping the suspect in the vicinity, the police reported that she insisted the incident did not qualify as a robbery since she didn’t get any money. Unfortunately for the suspect, her perception of the law is not correct. She was booked into King County Jail for investigation of robbery.
Victim of Gunshot Wounds Tells Vague Story: At about 2:30 a.m. on February 6th, a man in his 20s was found walking along I-5 near the Mercer Street ramp. He had multiple gunshot wounds and told the police he had been at a club downtown near 6th Avenue and Pike Street, where he had been shot. He was taken to Harborview for treatment of his wounds. The investigation is ongoing as investigators are trying to determine the rest of the story.
Bicycle Theft Increases in Our Neighborhood: Bike theft is on the rise in South Lake Union and all of Seattle, as reported by KOMO News. Taking extra caution to lock up and deter thieves is requiring bike owners to be vigilant and inventive when it comes to protecting your bikes.
Victim Sustains Life-Threatening Head Injury in Collision with Car: A vehicle struck a 26-year-old female pedestrian on February 11th at 7:30 p.m. while she was crossing Denny Way in the crosswalk. The driver of the vehicle did not show signs of impairment. The woman sustained life-threatening injuries and was taken to Harborview Medical Center.