Stabbing investigation near 24th and 112th

March 25th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news No Comments »

Thanks for the tips about a police search that included presence at 26th and Roxbury. We’ve learned from the King County Sheriff’s Office that a man was stabbed near 24th Place and SW 112th. The victim was being taken to Harborview Medical Center. The investigation stretched to 26th and Roxbury because a vehicle there was somehow linked to the suspect. That’s all we know so far but we’ll be following up.

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Crash, stabbing investigation in White Center

March 20th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 16 Comments »

Thanks for the tips. The big King County Sheriff’s Office response near 17th/98th is for a complicated crime scene – a car crashed and a man with stab wounds was found inside. He has been rushed to Harborview. Deputies don’t know who attacked him but they believe it happened in the course of a robbery. The victim is reported to be in stable condition.

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Suspect in custody after White Center arsons

March 20th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 3 Comments »

On Tuesday afternoon, two readers reported being on Metro buses when announcements were made that they were rerouting because of “an active arsonist.” KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott tells WCN that “one male is in custody on multiple counts of arson and reckless burning” after “several fires set at bus stops and three businesses in White Center.” No further details on the case but we’ll be checking on the suspect’s status.

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UPDATE: Why 16th SW was closed at SW 107th this morning

March 20th, 2019 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 2 Comments »

ORIGINAL WEDNESDAY REPORT: A bizarre and tragic incident led to the closure of 16th SW at SW 107th for a while this morning. The scene was clear before we heard about it but here’s how King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott answered our followup inquiry:

Suicide attempt, 10700 block 16 Avenue SW. Male poured gasoline on himself and lit himself on fire. A Deputy saw it and used his fire extinguisher to extinguish the fire. The male was transported to (Harborview Medical Center) in very critical condition.

We always share this in reports mentioning suicide: If you or someone you know is considering self-harm, the Crisis Connections hotline is available 24/7 at 866-427-4747.

ADDED THURSDAY: The King County Medical Examiner’s Office says the 30-year-old man died, from burns over 92 percent of his body.

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UPDATE: Child seriously hurt by driver in White Center, expected to recover

March 18th, 2019 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news No Comments »

8:12 PM: Just in from King County Sheriff’s Office via Twitter: “Car vs child accident at SW 110/ 16 AVE SW in White Center. 12 year old child being transport(ed) to HMC by @KingCoMedicOne with serious injuries. KCSO Detectives responding to the scene. Road will be closed for several hours for investigation.” We’re on our way to the scene.

8:40 PM: NB 16th is actually open but the center and SB lanes are blocked. Detectives say they’ll be here another hour or so.

ADDED WEDNESDAY: Finally got some additional info from KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott. The victim suffered broken bones but is expected to recover fully. He is believed to have “run into traffic” before being hit; Sgt. Abbott adds, “The driver was cooperative and remained on scene. Alcohol and drugs were not involved.”

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2 to hospital after Boulevard Park-area collision

March 14th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Boulevard Park, King County Sheriff's Office, Traffic, White Center news No Comments »

That photo is from the King County Sheriff’s Office, which reports via Twitter: “Deputies on scene of a collision involving two vehicles and a semi truck at S. 96 Ave./ 8 Ave. S in Boulevard Park area, Unincorporated King County. 2 patients being transported by medics to HMC in critical condition. The road will be closed during the investigation.”

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MISSING: Have you seen ‘Pepe’?

March 7th, 2019 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news No Comments »

The King County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your help finding a man last seen in White Center:

Michael Pepion, “Pepe,” age 42, was last seen on October 18, 2018 near the 9600 block of 16 Ave. SW in White Center. From there, he allegedly rode with another person to the Tahuya State Forest area, near Belfair, to the quad trails. Michael has not been seen nor heard from since, which is concerning to Detectives.

King County Major Crimes Detectives are asking for anyone that has seen Michael or know his whereabouts to call the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206/296-3311. The circumstances regarding his disappearance are concerning to Detectives.

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Why the Guardian One helicopter is over White Center

March 2nd, 2019 Tracy Posted in Crime, Helicopter, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

Thanks for the text (206-293-6302 any time). Guardian One confirms via Twitter that it’s the helicopter you’re seeing/hearing over White Center. Flight tracking shows it’s been focused in the southwest White Center/northwest Burien area. G1’s tweet says King County Sheriff’s Deputies are looking for a robbery suspect. We’re monitoring the search via law-enforcement radio but have not yet heard details of the incident. We’ll update if we find out anything more; let us know if/where you’re seeing deputies on the ground. (added) Radio discussion indicates the ground search has been centering on 14th/116th.

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FOLLOWUP: White Center murder suspect arrested and jailed; bail set at $2 million

March 1st, 2019 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: White Center murder suspect arrested and jailed; bail set at $2 million

Just announced by the King County Sheriff’s Office:

It’s been almost three months since KCSO announced Roberts, 24, was being sought in connection with the shooting death of 26-year-old Ricardo Villa Senor in November. According to the jail register, Roberts is charged with first-degree murder and his bail is set at $2 million.

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WHITE CENTER CRIME WATCH: 2 arrested in 1995 murder, 23 years later

February 13th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on WHITE CENTER CRIME WATCH: 2 arrested in 1995 murder, 23 years later

Announced today by the King County Sheriff’s Office:

On November 27, 1995, the King County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle parked in the 200-block of SW 97 PL in White Center. Upon their arrival, deputies found an African-American male, identified later as Kenneth Ruffer, age 26, shot to death within the vehicle.

The ensuing investigation identified numerous persons who knew Mr. Ruffer. It was ultimately learned that Mr. Ruffer may have been set up for a robbery by a female associate who at the time was 25 years old. A male suspect at the time of the murder was 29 years old, and was named as an accomplice to the robbery-murder.

Collected evidence was examined by the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab with a DNA analysis conducted. A full DNA profile was obtained which subsequently matched a reference sample collected from the male suspect.

Although DNA evidence did allow for the identification of a suspect in this case, cooperative witnesses had to be developed. Detectives spent the past year re-examining the case, its evidence, and tracking down and re-contacting witnesses in order to develop that level of cooperation.

On February 13, 2019, the now 52 year-old male and 48-year-old female, were booked into the King County Jail on Murder 1 charges.

(added 2:13 pm)

“Our detectives never give up in their quest for justice for all victims” said Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht. “Today, their tireless work has hopefully brought some comfort to Mr. Ruffer’s family.”

“This case, and others like it, highlight the need for funding of a dedicated Cold Case Unit,” said Sheriff Johanknecht. “The King County Sheriff’s Office has over 300 unsolved cold cases. Our major crimes detectives must balance cold case investigations with a high volume of current cases … Every victim matters, and I will continue to seek ways to ensure those who do them harm are accountable for their actions.”

We’re checking with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to see if charges actually have been filed yet, as online files don’t show them – though we’re aware that court/criminal-justice operations are catching up from snow closures.

7:15 PM: Both suspects are charged with first-degree murder, according to documents we obtained from the KCPAO – Christopher Wright and Nichole Asphy. Prosecutors allege Ruffer was shot dead as they attempted to rob him.. We’ll add more details from the charging papers later.

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UPDATE: 2 deputies on leave after gunfire in White Center Subway incident

February 4th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 2 Comments »

5:26 PM: If you’re wondering what the helicopter and King County Sheriff’s Office activity is near 16th and 104th in White Center, here’s what KCSO is saying: “Deputies contacted suspect armed with a knife [related to domestic violence]. Attempted to tase him with no effect. Shots fired by deputy at suspect, unknown injuries. Suspect inside Subway where he is still armed and barricaded. All employees safe.”

5:38 PM: We’re monitoring this via radio communication. SWAT is involved. Deputies are talking with the suspect.

6:41 PM: Still working to get him to surrender.

6:57 PM: Per radio communication, they are taking the suspect into custody now.

11:11 PM: New information late tonight from KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott:

On 2/4/19 at 4:15 PM Deputies were dispatched to a domestic violence disturbance near the 10400 BLK 16 AVE SW, in White Center. The suspect, a 29 year old male, had vandalized a car and then ran into the Subway restaurant that was nearby. When Deputies arrived on scene the victim directed them to the Subway.

Deputies approached the suspect inside Subway and he produced a knife. Both Deputies deployed their tasers, but it had no effect on the suspect. Instead the suspect charged at one of the Deputies with the knife, then turned toward the occupants of the Subway, at which point the Deputy fired a shot at the suspect, fearing for everyone’s safety. The shot missed the suspect, and he retreated into the Subway kitchen and barricaded himself. The employees and customers were able to exit the store.

KCSO HNT (Hostage Negation Team) spoke with the suspect for over an hour and a half, trying to get him to peacefully surrender. At one point the suspect gave both of his knives up to Deputies, but still refused to come out. Instead he began spraying WD-40 on himself, and throughout the room, threatening to light himself on fire. Just prior to that happening, the TAC30 SWAT team made entry into the kitchen area where the suspect was barricaded.

The suspect was using a bulletin board as a shield and had a screw driver in his other hand that he began swinging at the Deputies. A Taser was deployed, but had limited effect on the suspect. Several rubber bullets were fired at the suspect as well, but they also had limited effect.

A K9 dog was then used to try and take the suspect into custody. The suspect was able to slip by Deputies and used his screwdriver to try and stab at them. A shot was fired by a TAC30 Deputy at the suspect, but it did not hit him. The suspect was then taken into custody.

King County Medic 1 was on-scene immediately and treated the suspect, who was rushed to Harborview Hospital. He was listed in stable condition with a dog bite. The attending physician has confirmed the suspect was not struck by a bullet.

No Deputies were injured in this incident.

The two Deputies who fired their weapons are on paid administrative leave, which is standard in Officer involved shootings.

Sheriff Johanknecht has asked the Seattle Police Department Force Investigation Team to investigate the officer involved shooting.

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UPDATE: Shooting death investigated in White Center

January 16th, 2019 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 3 Comments »

5:56 AM: Early this morning, the King County Sheriff’s Office reports, “Deputies responded to an anonymous call of a male shot (in the 10400 block of 15th Avenue SW), White Center. 51-year-old male located with a gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was pronounced dead at the scene.” The Major Crimes Unit was investigating. We are following up with KCSO.

7:35 AM: We checked in with KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott. He says the victim was found on the street but they “have no suspect info at all at this time.”

6:01 PM: The King County Medical Examiner’s Office identifies the victim as 53-year-old Martin A. Burton and says he died of a “gunshot wound to the lower extremities.” (Added: KCSO provided this photo of the victim.)

No other new info in the case so far.

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VIDEO: See a King County Sheriff’s Deputy’s daughter-assisted signoff

December 12th, 2018 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 3 Comments »

That phone video captures King County Sheriff’s Deputy Randy Shute calling in to dispatch one last time before his recent retirement. We happened to hear the call as it happened – including the dispatcher revealing that she’s the deputy’s daughter. We asked KCSO public-information officer Sgt. Ryan Abbott about it; today, KCSO posted the video, on the same day as a party celebrating Deputy Shute’s retirement. He served for more than 36 years, including the White Center ara.

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FOLLOWUP: King County Sheriff’s Office seeking suspect in White Center murder

December 9th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: King County Sheriff’s Office seeking suspect in White Center murder

New information about the shooting death in east White Center three weeks ago – and a suspect that KCSO is seeking. Here’s the announcement we received:

KCSO Major Crimes Unit has identified the suspect in the homicide from 11/19/2018 at the 10000 BLK 1 AVE SW as 24-year-old Mical D. Roberts; he is described as 6’5, 250 pounds, and is considered *Armed and Dangerous*. Detectives have probable cause to arrest Roberts for Murder. If you know the whereabouts of Roberts, call 911, do not attempt to contact him. You can also leave an anonymous tip with Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or through the free P3 tips app. Crimestoppers offers a $1000 reward for the tip that leads to the arrest of Roberts. See attached photos of Roberts.

(Backstory) On 11/19/2018 at 7:39 PM a female called 911 from a bedroom closet stating that a shooting was occurring at the residence located at the 10000 BLK 1 AVE SW. Deputies arrived on-scene a short time later and located the 26-year-old victim in the house with multiple gunshot wounds. The victim died at the scene from his injuries. The suspect fled in an unknown vehicle prior to the Police arriving.

Detectives continue to interview witnesses and follow up on leads. They ask that if anyone has any information regarding this shooting to call the King County Sheriff’s Office at 206/296-3311 or 911.

We still don’t know the victim’s name.

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Helicopter search after shooting at 15th/Roxbury

December 5th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on Helicopter search after shooting at 15th/Roxbury

A shooting at 15th and Roxbury sent a male victim to the hospital with a hand injury, and deputies have been searching for suspect(s) north of the city/county line, with K9 on the ground and Guardian One in the air.

We’re updating on partner site West Seattle Blog.

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UPDATE: Multiple-car crash in downtown White Center

November 24th, 2018 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on UPDATE: Multiple-car crash in downtown White Center

8:40 PM: Avoid downtown White Center for a while – a six-car crash is reported at 16th/98th and KCSO is blocking traffic at 16th/Roxbury, 16th/100th, and 15th/98th per scanner. No info yet on injuries; we’re off to find out more.

8:59 PM: First photo added. At least two people will be taken to the hospital.

9:09 PM: May be “only” 4 cars. One driver is being investigated for possible DUI.

9:26 PM: Another photo added. Roads might be closed for a while – we’ve left the scene but via scanner are hearing deputies being advised to “bring road closure signs.” Fixing the light pole will take some time too.

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UPDATE: Detectives investigate deadly shooting in east White Center

November 19th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 6 Comments »

(Added: WCN photo)

10:16 PM: King County Sheriff’s Deputies are investigating a shooting in the 10000 block of 1st SW (map), and they say it’s turned deadly – the 26-year-old man who was shot has died. KCSO says via Twitter that they don’t know yet what led up to the shooting; their detectives are on scene.

1:30 AM: KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Ryan Abbott told us detectives would likely be there for hours, so we stopped while out on something else. Photo added above. The street is blocked off in a residential neighborhood we’d describe as east White Center.

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Driver hits, critically injures pedestrian at Ambaum/116th

November 17th, 2018 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on Driver hits, critically injures pedestrian at Ambaum/116th

We’ve received a couple questions about an incident tonight right on the White Center/Burien line, at Ambaum/116th (map). King County Sheriff’s Office detectives have the area closed off for an investigation. According to KCSO via Twitter, a 38-year-old man is in critical condition at Harborview – he was on foot when a driver hit him.

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VIDEO: Recognize this robber?

September 19th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on VIDEO: Recognize this robber?

Recognize him? If you do, you might be able to help solve this White Center holdup:

It happened just before 8 am on July 30th at Uncle Ike’s in White Center, but the video is being circulated now. The robber is described as 20 to 30 years old, wearing a dark hoodie and dark pants, carrying a satchel, armed with a handgun. He held up the shop and took off on foot. If you have any information on his identity, call 911.

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King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht tells North Highline Unincorporated Area Council about her ‘intense’ start

September 10th, 2018 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht tells North Highline Unincorporated Area Council about her ‘intense’ start

(WCN photos by Patrick Sand)

By Tracy Record
White Center Now editor

It wasn’t Mitzi Johanknecht‘s first guest appearance before the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, but last Thursday was her first appearance as King County Sheriff.

She said the start of her term has moved fast and been “intense.” It began with training that hadn’t happened in a few years. Eighty “less-lethal shotguns” – “beanbag rounds” – were distributed in the first quarter. And they’ve bought more, “with the goal of having almost everyone who’s in a patrol car … to have that tool on board with them.” She put through a supplemental budget request at mid-year and got funding for a full-time recruiter, which she said the department hasn’t had in years.

A few weeks ago, she sent King County Executive Dow Constantine her proposed budget. He asked for millions in cuts; “I said no,” the sheriff declared. “We respect that (he wants us to) cut our budget, but we see some real needs in our communities.” They’ve asked for a Regional Gang Task Force, starting with a sergeant and two detectives from KCSO, “so we can get our arms around the gang problem … (which) extends across all the borders.” In the next week or so, she said, we’ll see the executive’s budget, and she expects to see that included.

Another accomplishment: A fulltime community liaison, who will be working fulltime on drafting a community engagement plan. “This is a person who isn’t a badge or gun toter …somebody who actually has experience” in community engagement. The job will be posted soon, she said.

They’re also proposing combining some KCSO units to create a Youth and Family Section. And they’ll be working to fight fraud and scams – protecting seniors, for example. Also, they’re asking for a new Training Detective – looking ahead to the potential passage of Initiative 940 (De-escalate Washington) – and Mental Illness and Drug Dependency funds to coordinate someone that will work on services such as crisis intervention.

What about marijuana-related money – is it helping? asked NHUAC vice president Barbara Dobkin. The sheriff replied that in order to get some added resources, she suggested putting that money toward helping people with addiction issues, among other things.

Will the area get more officers, given the increased density? The sheriff said she asked for 18 more officers – 6 more at each of the unincorporated-area precincts. She also noted that a staffing study is under way.

As for those on staff already – NHUAC board members told the sheriff that they get great service from the people currently assigned – Kennamer, Peter Truong, etc.

NHUAC president Liz Giba asked about notification when new marijuana businesses are proposed, like recently opened Mr. Buds. Major Howard said they aren’t asked for their opinion at the start, only at renewals.

In an ensuing random discussion, the sheriff noted that she has trouble getting to all her e-mail.

P.S. 9:30-11 am October 3rd at Brass Knuckle Bistro, several KCSO reps will be available for Q&A at “Coffee with a Cop.”

Before the sheriff’s arrival, two members of her local team presented their update:

CRIME UPDATE: Storefront Deputy Bill Kennamer (above left) said that KCSO has changed its data-storage methods, so he didn’t have as much data as usual. But they had a lot more “Part 1” crimes than usual. Precinct 4 commander Major Bryan Howard joined Kennamer at the front of the room and explained that every department in the U.S. is converting to a better way to parse data – but comparing new stats with old ones under the old system is apples to oranges. He said crime is going to look higher because “the way we are counting it” has changed. The shift, Howard said, happened back on July 16th. They are writing reports in a new system, too. Everything is compliant with NIBRS (explained here). He does believe auto theft is trending slightly higher. Kennamer said some repeat offenders are back on the street. Major Howard noted that juvenile offenders are now booked only for the most serious things.

The precinct currently has 31 officers but at full staffing should have 42, Howard said. They’re recruiting but it’s tough. Full staffing would mean 3 officers at a time in White Center rather than 2, and would mean more proactive policing, “the kind of policing we want to do, the kind of policing our new sheriff wants us to do.”

Howard also talked about the Myers Way encampment zone and said that about six weeks ago, they looked into concerns that campers had spilled into the unincorporated area. Those concerns turned out to be unfounded, he said; a grand total of one person was found camping outside city limits.

Giba asked for a status update on the Burien murders. Major Howard said there were no updates that he could discuss.

Also at Thursday night’s NHUAC meeting:

PLANT AMNESTY: Former NHUAC board member Dominic Barrera is now the executive director of this organization founded by the late Cass Turnbull.

Since taking over Plant Amnesty, Barrera said, he’s worked to broaden the organization’s audience beyond its North Seattle-heavy focus. Toward that end, PA will be offering classes in White Center starting this fall – first one, 7 pm Wednesday, September 19th, at North Highline Fire District HQ. October 24th and November 14th will be the two following classes – the topics include pruning. Barrera said he’s been learning too – “my rose bushes are better than ever, my Japanese maple is better than ever …”

He also discussed the Seattle tree-ordinance controversy. He said one big concern is the removal of “exceptional trees” from the protections in the new proposal. He also noted that the ordinance has now been placed on a slower track and won’t likely be voted on until early next year. He said one thing advocates will do in the meantime is case studies. NHUAC vice president Barbara Dobkin noted that in this area, “it’s a free for all” and “legacy trees” are being cut down with impunity. Barrera said an attempt to craft a countywide tree ordinance failed years ago.

REDEVELOPMENT: In downtown White Center, the former Club Evolucion and former Fantasy Shop are owned by the same investor and both will be split into multiple business spaces, Deputy Kennamer said he had learned. He also noted the work that’s under way on the new Greenbridge development on the east end of the area, off 4th SW.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Upcoming events include the White Center Food Bank gala at the Brockey Center on October 20th and the Southwest Youth and Family Services gala on October 27th. .. The White Center Eagles are having a First Responders Appreciation Dinner, 3-6 pm September 16th, free for any first responder …the White Center Art Walk is coming up, too.

UPCOMING MEETINGS: The October meeting will be a candidate forum with 34th District State Senate candidates Shannon Braddock and Joe Nguyen. In November, the King County Land Conservation Initiative is a planned topic, and they’re hoping for a state Liquor and Cannabis Board followup. In December, NHUAC is looking toward a legislative focus with State Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon and Eileen Cody, plus the State Senate seat winner. … NHUAC meets on first Thursdays most months, 7 pm at NHFD HQ (1243 SW 112th).

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