UPDATE: Gunfire investigation on 1st Avenue South

April 11th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN photo by Patrick Sand)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 4:18 PM: We are awaiting official info from the King County Sheriff’s Office but so far via the scanner we hear they are closing 1st Avenue South between 116th and 124th to investigate gunfire. No one shot, so far as we have heard, but at least one car is reported to have been hit. Deputies are looking for a vehicle with suspects, described so far as a white Camry. We’re headed down to check on the road situation and will update.

5:44 PM UPDATE: The road is reopening. KCSO says, “This appears to be a road rage incident that turned into occupants of 1 vehicle firing multiple shots at another vehicle. Those occupants of the 2nd vehicle returned fire and then crashed into 2 parked cars and a fence. No one injured, other vehicle fled the scene.”

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FOLLOWUP: White Center bank robbery suspect charged

March 31st, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news No Comments »

The 19-year-old arrested hours after the White Center KeyBank was robbed on March 22nd is now charged with first-degree robbery. That’s the charge filed this week against Khalid K. Mohamed, and the charging documents reveal more details of what investigators say happened.

Mohamed is accused of holding up the bank by typing a demand note on his cell phone and showing it to a teller. Prosecutors say it read, “Give me your money. I have a gun. Do not press the alarm or I will shoot you (or kill you).” Other details suggest he came to this area four days before the robbery and intended to leave immediately thereafter – he was staying with a cousin at the Boulevard Park complex where he was arrested. He is reported to have told investigators he lives in Utah, though his ID card was from Minnesota, where he has other relatives. The charging documents say he was found via a tracking device in the $1,245 cash he got away with. It had been tossed into the trash at the apartment complex but “wet footprints” subsequently led them to the unit where Mohamed was staying. Deputies kept watch on the apartment while seeking a search warrant that was subsequently granted. Court documents say Mohamed exited the apartment just as deputies got word that the search warrant had been approved, so they took him into custody and went inside. They reported finding his packed suitcase, containing almost all the stolen cash, plus the clothing he was wearing during the robbery – as shown on surveillance video – and the Louis Vuitton bag he had displayed during the holdup, implying he had a gun in his hand inside the bag. Mohamed remains in the King County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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FOLLOWUP: Liquor Cannabis Board says it seized $50,000+ of marijuana from Smoke Shop

March 28th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Businesses, Crime, White Center news 15 Comments »

Last night, we reported briefly on a state Liquor and Cannabis Board action against The Smoke Shop in downtown White Center. Today, we asked the LCB for details; here’s the reply from spokesperson Brian Smith:

Enforcement received a tip that “The Smoke Shop”, an LCB licensed tobacco and vapor products retailer located at 9823 16th Ave SW in White Center, was illegally selling marijuana, including to minors. An LCB Officer entered the store yesterday afternoon and made an undercover buy from a clerk.

The officer paid $50 for 9 grams of flower. After the purchase, the officer obtained a search warrant for the smoke shop. LCB enforcement officers executed the search warrant yesterday afternoon. Three King County deputies also assisted. The officers located over 13 pounds of marijuana flower, concentrates and pre-rolled joints in the smoke shop. The retail value of the product was estimated at over $50,000.00.

The clerk was arrested by LCB officers and booked into the King County jail. The marijuana, a 12-gauge shotgun, and approximately $2,700 were seized as evidence. The shotgun was located in a backroom safe with the marijuana and cash. During the operation, officers also contacted a 19-year-old minor who purchased marijuana from the store. Officers will be recommending felony charges for unlawful possession and distribution of a controlled substance (RCW 69.50.401). LBC will also be serving a violation to The Smoke Shop for operating the tobacco and vapor licensed business in violation of chapter 69.50 RCW (RCW 70.155.150). The penalty of the AVN is revocation of both the tobacco and vapor product licenses.

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UPDATE: Deputies arrest suspect in White Center bank robbery

March 22nd, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on UPDATE: Deputies arrest suspect in White Center bank robbery

1:13 PM: Thanks to the tipster who asked about a large police response in White Center. The King County Sheriff’s Office confirms that they’re investigating a bank robbery that happened around 12:30 pm, at the KeyBank on 17th SW. No one reported to be in custody yet. More as we get it.

1:25 PM: Added the photo above. We asked KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott for any description information about the robber – “Black man in his 20’s, 5’5″, slim build. Facial hair, black hoodie, with a bag.”

(Photo courtesy Aaron Wells Photography)
4:18 PM: After deputies tracked a suspect to a Boulevard Park apartment building near S. 118th and Des Moines Memorial Drive, the SWAT team came in to work toward arresting him. Within the past hour, they succeeded in taking him into custody, Sgt. Abbott confirms.

9:22 PM: Additional details in a news release from Sgt. Abbott:

Today, 03/22/2018 at 1230 PM, a bank robbery occurred at the Key Bank, 9600 BLK of 17 Ave. SW in White Center. The (robber) implied that he had a gun to the teller inside the bank, and fled the scene after the robbery. Video surveillance was quickly obtained … and Deputies were able to track him down at an apartment complex in Burien at the 1800 Block of S 118.

Once Deputies arrived on scene, they found a bag of money that had been thrown off the balcony of an upper apartment unit. Deputies on-scene were able to obtain information from witnesses, which led them to the exact apartment where the suspect had barricaded himself in. The Deputies experienced multiple failed attempts to get the suspect out of the apartment unit. KCSO’s SWAT team was called out to the scene. The suspect saw the armored SWAT vehicles arriving, along with the SWAT members, and surrendered to Police. The suspect was arrested without incident. No one was injured; this was an excellent job by all Deputies and Detectives on scene.

The 19 year old suspect was booked into KCJ for robbery.

We checked, and he does not appear to have a record; the definitive word on that will come as his case makes it through the court system – we will follow up.

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KCSO warns of frightening scam – telephoned kidnap claims

March 13th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on KCSO warns of frightening scam – telephoned kidnap claims

Just in from the King County Sheriff’s Office, an alert about a terrifying scam, with one call made to someone living in our area:

In a span of 4 days, a new *SCAM* has surfaced. Male suspect or younger sounding female claims they have kidnapped the caller’s kids and won’t return them without money.

On 03/08/2018 in the Ravensdale area, a Mom had dropped her two kids off at the school bus in the morning. A short time after the bus left, the mom got a call from a blocked number. The male caller, described as having an accent, stated that he had her daughter and used her real name, although he had her last name slightly wrong. He told the mom that if she didn’t meet him with money in exchange for her daughter’s release he would “kill the child.” In a panic, the mom called the school and confirmed both her daughters were in school and safe.

Four days later, on 03/12/2018 in unincorporated King County near White Center, a father received a phone call from a blocked number. A younger-sounding female came on the line pretending to be the daughter of that father. The female stated she was kidnapped and the suspect needed money to release her. The male suspect, again described as having an accent, then got on the phone and demanded money from the father or he “would hurt her.” The suspect then hung up on the father and the number was blocked so he had no way to call back. The father called his daughter’s school and, once again, was assured the child was safe at school with no issues.

Please keep in mind these type of phone calls are *SCAMS* – never provide money to anyone over the phone.

The parents did the right thing in these instances – confirmed with the school their kids were ok and called 911 to report it.

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FOLLOWUP: Double-murder suspect charged

March 5th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Double-murder suspect charged

Merle Buchanan is now charged in the January 6 double murder in White Center. We reported Saturday night on the arrest of the 26-year-old suspect, more than a month after the King County Sheriff’s Office announced he was being sought in the deadly double shooting.

(WCN photo, January 6th)
Today, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Buchanan with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of second-degree unlawful firearm possession. Charging documents say the victims, Paul Tapia and Jose Garcia, were co-workers, and that they arrived together at the Taradise Café just after midnight. Buchanan, a White Center resident, is described as a semi-regular who had been there about an hour by then. The court documents say surveillance video showed him talking with Tapia outside the bar, by his car, with Garcia nearby, and then showed the shooting around 1 am. The charging documents do not mention a motive. They do say Buchanan was identified via a trail that started with an AutoZone receipt found at the scene. He is in jail in lieu of $1.1 million bail, including $100,000 related to a domestic-violence protection order violation charge involving an incident with a former girlfriend hours before the shootings.

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FOLLOWUP: White Center double-murder suspect Merle Buchanan in jail

March 3rd, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news 1 Comment »

We’ve been checking the King County Jail roster periodically to watch for the arrest of Merle Buchanan, who’s been wanted for weeks in connection with the double murder in White Center two months ago. Tonight, we found his name on the roster. The King County Sheriff’s Office announced on January 25th that they were looking for him, almost three weeks after the shooting deaths in downtown White Center. Buchanan, 26, was booked on Friday afternoon, according to the jail register, with bail set at $1.1 million – including $100,000 for a domestic-violence-related warrant. Court records show he is not yet charged in the shooting deaths.

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About last night’s White Center attack

February 14th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 7 Comments »

If you missed our coverage of last night’s White Center attack that injured an employee of Cascade Heights Veterinary Clinic, it’s on our partner site West Seattle Blog – we originally heard about the helicopter search from people on the city side of the line, so that’s where we started the story, and never got around to crossposting here. Meantime, if you want to talk with deputies about crime/safety concerns, Friday is the day for Coffee with a Cop at the White Center Starbucks (16th/100th), as noted here last week – 9 am to 11 am, just drop in when you can.

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FOLLOWUP: Adjacent house fires on 11th SW in White Center both ruled arson; $10,000 reward fund available

January 26th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, fire, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Adjacent house fires on 11th SW in White Center both ruled arson; $10,000 reward fund available

Thanks to commenter LS for reporting that signs were up at both recently burned houses on 11th SW, declaring the fires to be arson and announcing a $10,000 reward fund.

11025 11th SW, above, is the scene of the most-recent fire – two in the same night, actually – following one at 11031 11th SW, below:

King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West tells WCN, “We suspect both are arson. The second house had a fire inside; then after it was put out, we had to go back for a fire on the deck. No suspects at this time. Of course we don’t know if the two house fires are related, but based on timeframe and locality it appears that way.” If you have any information about either or both, call the number on the signs – 800-55-ARSON.

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WHITE CENTER DOUBLE MURDER: King County Sheriff’s Office identifies suspect and asks for help finding him

January 25th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news 5 Comments »

Two and a half weeks after the double murder in downtown White Center, the King County Sheriff’s Office has identified a suspect and is asking for help finding him. The photo and announcement are just in:

King County Sheriff’s Detectives are asking for the public’s help locating a man who is wanted for shooting and killing two men in White Center earlier this month.

Merle Charles Buchanan, aka Chucky, 26, is wanted for 2 counts of 1st-Degree Murder for shooting and killing 51-year-old Jose Angel Garcia and 45-year-old Paul Victor Tapia outside of Club Taradise in the 9800 block of 16th Ave SW on January 6th.

Around 1 am on January 6th, deputies responded to the area after receiving multiple reports of a shooting outside of the club. When deputies arrived they located the two victims in the parking lot. Garcia died at the scene and Tapia was transported to Harborview Medical Center, where he later died.

During the investigation, detectives identified the suspect in the shootings as Buchanan. Buchanan is known to frequent Burien, Renton and Seattle and detectives believe he is still in the area.

Buchanan is 5’9” and 195 lbs. In addition to the murder warrants, he also has a Felony Domestic Violence No Contact Order Warrant. He should be considered armed and dangerous. If you see Buchanan or know of his location, please do not approach him. You can call 911 or you can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

The court documents related to the no-contact order say that hours before the shooting, he assaulted a former girlfriend while giving her a ride from Skyway to her home in White Center. She got out of the car in Top Hat and called police. Those documents say that Buchanan’s last-known address is in Auburn. Meantime, we are checking with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to see if there are any documents on file related to the double-murder case.

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UPDATE: 2 shot, 1 killed, in downtown White Center

January 6th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 48 Comments »

1:20 AM: From the scanner: Two people have been shot in the 9800 block of 16th SW. One is reported to have been killed. No word of any arrests so far – we’ve heard talk of a chaotic scene and a possible getaway car. More to come.

2:22 AM: Sheriff’s deputies have 16th SW taped off from 98th to just short of 100th. They’re focused in the same area as last May’s deadly shooting. No one at the scene is commenting so far, though.

3:02 AM: Via Twitter, KCSO confirms that “one male” is dead and “another” is in critical condition.

7:18 AM: More info from KCSO early this morning: The man who was killed was 51; the other man, who was in surgery as of a few hours ago, is 35. KCSO says they were shot outside the Taradise Café. “Detectives believe that the two victims knew each other and that they got into some kind of verbal and physical altercation with an unknown age, race, or build male just before the shooting.” KCSO says few witnesses remained on the scene by the time deputies/detectives arrived.

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WHITE CENTER CRIME WATCH: Carjacking in Super Saver Foods parking lot

January 4th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on WHITE CENTER CRIME WATCH: Carjacking in Super Saver Foods parking lot

King County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes detectives are investigating a carjacking and assault early this morning in the Super Saver Foods parking lot at 16th SW/SW 106th. It happened just after 1 am, according to KCSO Sgt. BJ Myers, who says the carjacker punched the victim in the face and stole his white 2003 Ford F250 pickup truck, WA plates C67286K. Call 911 if you see it.

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STOLEN & DUMPED? Seen at North Shorewood Park

November 24th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Crime, Parks, White Center news Comments Off on STOLEN & DUMPED? Seen at North Shorewood Park

Two items spotted at North Shorewood Park this afternoon by Gill:

The first item is a stolen bike which is located just off the North/South trail on its west side about halfway.

This trail is the one that can be accessed from either above the basketball hoop or from the other end by the fenced Corral. I would have tried to move it onto the trail but my hands were already full of other trash.

The second item was found about 100′ SE of the upper picnic table.

Two phones were in the pile along with items that someone might juse riding to and from work including water bottles. The whole pile now resides in the waste container down by the 24th Ave. SW entrance. Likely KC Parks will empty it Sat. morning.

So if any of that looks familiar to you – check it out on Saturday, sooner rather than later.

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SEEN THIS VAN? King County Sheriff’s Office puts out countywide call for help finding stolen van full of musical equipment

November 18th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news Comments Off on SEEN THIS VAN? King County Sheriff’s Office puts out countywide call for help finding stolen van full of musical equipment

From the King County Sheriff’s Office:

King County Sheriff’s detectives are asking for the public’s help locating a U-Haul van that was stolen from a hotel parking lot in SeaTac containing over $1 million in musical equipment.

The van was parked in the Double Tree Hotel parking lot in the 18700 block of International Blvd Thursday night. Surveillance photos show the van was taken from the parking lot Friday around 4:10 am. A dark colored pickup truck was seen in the area at the time of the crime and may be associated with the crime.

The U-Haul is described at a Ford F450, orange and white with a large picture of a Zebra on the side and license plates AG29943. The dark-colored pickup is described as a 2 door with 2 white stripes on the top of the cab.

If you have information about this crime please call the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311. Or you may remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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FOLLOWUP: Court documents say 16-year-old suspect confessed to deadly shooting in White Center, throwing gun into Puget Sound

November 15th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news 2 Comments »

The suspect arrested in last Friday night’s shooting death by White Center Plaza had a hearing today. Documents from that hearing reveal that he is a 16-year-old from Olympia. We’re not identifying him until and unless he is charged; the deadline for that is Thursday afternoon. Today’s hearing resulted in a judge finding that there’s probable cause to keep him in detention until the charging decision is made. The documents say he was arrested at Capitol High School in Olympia and that he is a student there, and that he confessed to shooting 27-year-old Kenny T. Su at least four times with a .40-caliber handgun which he then threw into Puget Sound.

King County Sheriff’s Deputies searched off Don Armeni Boat Ramp in West Seattle today; a reader sent the photo above, and KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West confirmed that divers found a gun in the water. The suspect is reported to have told investigators that he shot the victim because the man had stabbed him minutes earlier at the 15th/Roxbury Texaco station, after allegedly demanding the suspect’s shoes. According to police, they identified the suspect with the help of security video and a tipster; the suspect told them he was in the area because he had taken a bus from Olympia to visit relatives in Delridge.

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FOLLOWUP: Suspect arrested in White Center shooting death

November 13th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news 1 Comment »

(WCN photo, Friday night)

The King County Sheriff’s Office just announced that a suspect is in custody in last Friday night’s shooting death in White Center. KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Jason Houck says the suspect is “a juvenile male” who has been booked into the King County Youth Detention Center, adding, “At this point, there is no new information about what led to the fight that occurred just prior to the shooting. Detectives are still actively investigating this incident.” The victim was a 27-year-old man from Burien, found by the White Center Plaza building late Friday night, along 15th SW just north of SW 98th – here’s our coverage from that night.

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UPDATE: Man shot and killed in White Center

November 10th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news 2 Comments »

(WCN photos)
11:49 PM: King County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a deadly shooting in White Center. They were searching on the ground and in the air after the shooting by the White Center Plaza building on 15th SW north of SW 98th.

KCSO says the victim is male but that’s about all we know right now – no word yet on the circumstances, and no word of any arrests. We’ll update when there’s more info to report. Deputies are also busy with a deadly shooting less than three miles south at 1st Avenue S. and S. 120th – early reports are that two men shot at each other; one was killed, one wounded in the leg.

7:17 AM: No additional information so far this morning. But we did verify that investigators cleared the scene overnight and 15th SW is open again.

8:45 AM: New information just in from King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Cindi West: The victim was a 27-year-old man from Burien: “Witnesses told police that a group of men was talking with the victim prior to the shooting. The suspect who was with the group of men fought with the victim. When the fight was over, the suspect pulled out a gun and shot the victim. The men fled the scene on foot. King County Guardian One and K-9 responded but were unable to locate the suspect or the men he was with. The only description obtained was that the suspect was wearing a red hoodie.” They’re asking for tips – 206-296-3311 (or 911).

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UPDATE: Helicopter search after Top Hat marijuana-shop holdup, shooting

September 12th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Crime, Helicopter, White Center news 12 Comments »

11:59 PM: Thanks for all the tips about the Guardian 1 helicopter search over Top Hat. It was helping search for suspects in a shooting and robbery at the Star 21 marijuana store in the 11000 block of 1st Avenue South, we confirmed with a deputy in the area. No arrest(s) reported so far. We will be following up with the King County Sheriff’s Office in the morning.

ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: From Sgt. Cindi West of KCSO:

A K-9 search was done on the ground in addition to the helicopter search, but no one was found.

12:23 PM: Even more details in the newest update from KCSO:

The incident happened just before 10:00pm at the Star 21 marijuana shop in the 11000 block of 1 Ave S. A store employee saw lights and heard loud banging near the front door so he opened the door to see what it was. He saw a vehicle rapidly backing into the barriers placed in front of the store. A group of men, wearing masks, got out of the car and ran towards him at the front door. The employee tried to close the door but the men forced their way inside the store. One of the suspects shot the 25 year old employee in the shoulder as they entered the store. The suspects were described as black males wearing masks and hoodies.

Once inside the store the suspects rummaged through the store taking items before fleeing northbound in the vehicle. A short time later a deputy found the vehicle unoccupied near S110th St and Occidental Ave S. The vehicle had been reported stolen in a carjacking in SeaTac on Monday. The employee was taken to Harborview with serious injuries.

The carjacking occurred on Monday night around 11:00. The victim was sitting in his car in a parking lot in the 3500 block of S180th St. when he was approached by three males. One of the males produced a handgun, pointed it at the victim and demanded his car keys. The suspects then fled in the vehicle. The suspects in this case were described as two Hispanic males and one black male, all believed to be in their teens. (C17045198)

If you have information about these crimes please call the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206-296-3311. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

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THURSDAY: White Center Violence Prevention Summit

August 16th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news Comments Off on THURSDAY: White Center Violence Prevention Summit

Just out of the inbox:

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FOLLOWUP: White Center marijuana-store holdups

July 11th, 2017 Tracy Posted in Crime, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: White Center marijuana-store holdups

As promised, we followed up with King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West today for details of the two recent marijuana-store holdups in White Center.

The first one, at Uncle Ike’s in the 9800 block of 15th SW, actually happened the night of July 2nd, she says: “4 masked men entered the store armed with handguns and robbed the store of marijuana. During the crime, an employee was pistol-whipped once in the face by one of the suspects. We have not apprehended any of them yet.”

Then last night at Bud Nation in the 9600 block of 16th SW, she says, the store was robbed around 11 pm by “a single suspect (who) entered the store and was armed with a handgun. He was not apprehended.”

Any link between the two robberies? She says they don’t know.

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