UPDATE: What the Guardian One helicopter was just doing

March 31st, 2016 Tracy Posted in Helicopter, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on UPDATE: What the Guardian One helicopter was just doing

1:07 AM: Thanks to everybody who called/texted (206-293-6302) about the helicopter activity. Not enough discussion audible via scanner to figure out what they were doing while they were still in the are, but as usually is the case, the crew tweeted just after the incident ended (we did hear “They got the guy” on the local KCSO frequency): “Assisted White Center patrol on person with a gun call in 18 Ave SW. Led patrol in to person in front yard of house. Subject is detained.” We’ll follow up with KCSO later this morning.

ADDED 5:13 PM: Finally have those added details. From KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West: “Around midnight, we responded to the area of the 10400 block of 18 Ave SW for a report of a suicidal man who possibly had a gun. We contacted the man in the area and did not locate a gun. The man was transported to a hospital for a mental-health evaluation. The man is a 66 year old living in the vicinity.”

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VIDEO: If you heard Guardian One late last night …

March 26th, 2016 Tracy Posted in Crime, Helicopter, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on VIDEO: If you heard Guardian One late last night …

The King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support division has published that video showing part of what it was doing late last night – we got texts asking why the helicopter was circling in the White Center area; what you see is the arrest of a suspect found in a stolen car along Myers Way, by the city/county border. After the car was pulled over by Seattle Police, the suspect fled, but was picked up by Guardian One’s FLIR tracking. We don’t know where the car was stolen from – still trying to match this to a specific case.

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FOLLOWUP: Medical Examiner identifies South Park man killed at Boulevard Park 7-11

March 14th, 2016 Tracy Posted in boulevard park, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Medical Examiner identifies South Park man killed at Boulevard Park 7-11

Following up on the deadly shooting we covered Sunday at a 7-11 in Boulevard Park: This afternoon, the King County Medical Examiner identified the man who was shot – described as having been masked, and armed with a hatchet – as 43-year-old Steven Blacktongue. His cause of death: Multiple gunshot wounds.

Our news partners at The Seattle Times have reported some details of Blacktongue’s criminal record, in this story. They also report that the man who shot Blacktongue, who allegedly had first threatened the customer and then attacked the store clerk, is declining interview requests. He has not been publicly identified.

Besides what The Times reported about the man who was killed, city and county records show that Blacktongue was arrested for domestic-violence assault on February 26th in Seattle and spent a day and a half in the King County Jail before being released. The court documents from that arrest list Blacktongue as living in South Park. While the incident is not detailed in the documents we’ve found so far, the victim is listed as an 18-year-old man to whom Blacktongue is related. Blacktongue was released on personal recognizance and ordered to return to court on March 28th.

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VIDEO: Deadly shooting at Boulevard Park 7-11; ‘no indication of wrongdoing,’ says King County Sheriff’s Office

March 13th, 2016 Tracy Posted in boulevard park, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 6 Comments »

(Photo courtesy Alisha)

8:13 AM: The King County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a deadly shooting in Boulevard Park this morning. KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West tweeted that she was on the way to 8th South/South 110th and that the early reports indicate it involved a “customer shooting hatchet-wielding masked man.”

9:31 AM: Just talked with Sgt. West at the store (will add video when we have it uploaded). She said the call came in around 5:45 am. The man who fired the shot(s) was getting coffee when the masked man came in. The man with the gun was carrying it legally, she said.

(WCN photo)
11:11 AM: While we were at the store, the King County Medical Examiner was on the scene to take away the body. Meantime, here’s what Sgt. West told us:

If you can’t play the video – Sgt. West says there was “no indication of wrongdoing” on the part of the 60-year-old store customer who shot the man – he’s a regular customer who had a concealed-pistol license – but the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will ultimately get the case for review.

11:30 AM: A news release sent by Sgt. West after our interview added two more details: The clerk, 58 years old, has a minor abdominal injury from the hatchet attack; the suspect is believed to be in his 40s but hadn’t yet been identified as of midmorning.

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4-vehicle crash at 16th/102nd, no serious injuries

February 11th, 2016 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on 4-vehicle crash at 16th/102nd, no serious injuries

Thanks to Gill for the tip – we just checked out a crash that blocked northbound 16th SW for a while at the intersection with SW 102nd. King County Sheriff’s Deputies told us at the scene that four vehicles were involved but no one was seriously hurt. Right now, as of 3:40 pm, they’re about to tow the last vehicle, so the intersection should be fully open again shortly.

P.S. Breaking-news tips for White Center (and West Seattle) are welcome at any time – text or call 206-293-6302 – thank you!.

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Woman’s body found in White Center home, apparently weeks after death

January 13th, 2016 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on Woman’s body found in White Center home, apparently weeks after death

The King County Sheriff’s Office confirms that an investigation continues into the death of a woman whose body was found inside her White Center home last weekend, apparently weeks after her death. KCSO had been called by someone who noticed a door had been open for at least a day at the house in the 1800 block of SW 98th, and realized the resident hadn’t been seen in a while. KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West tells WCN, “Deputies responded and once inside they found the resident, who appeared to have been dead for weeks. Some windows had been open on the house and it appeared as though someone had gone through drawers etc. We don’t know if this occurred before or after the death of the woman.” The case remains investigation, and the county Medical Examiner is working to determine what caused the woman’s death.

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Why local schools were in lockdown/sheltering for a while today

January 5th, 2016 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, safety, Schools, White Center news Comments Off on Why local schools were in lockdown/sheltering for a while today

We checked with the King County Sheriff’s Office to find out what was going on after getting two messages about a reported “lockdown” at Cascade Middle School, and hearing scanner traffic about someone being tracked down on SW 117th. According to KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West, there was a report that someone at the Evergreen campus might have had a gun. So the search was on, and Evergreen and Cascade were affected for a while, she said. The person in question was eventually found – no gun. No injuries, no crime, situation over.

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Merry Christmas Eve! Holiday cheer from the King County Sheriff’s Office

December 24th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Cindi West shares this story from unincorporated King County, where a KCSO officer has found himself in the role of Santa Claus:

I received a call today from a family that was touched by an act of kindness from one of our officers. The story goes like this:

On 12/2/2015, MPO White responded to a burglary in SW Precinct. He investigated the burglary, but there were no investigative leads. Among the items taken were all the Christmas presents for the family’s 7 and 4 year old. The burglars also took most of the children’s toys from their rooms. The victims had limited means and this burglary was devastating to them. MPO White was concerned the family would have no Christmas as a result of this burglary. MPO White discussed this call with his family after he got home from work. They decided to go shopping, replacing the kids Christmas presents to assure they have a Christmas. MPO White and his family coordinated with the parents and are delivering the presents on Christmas Day.

This is truly the spirit of Christmas and service all wrapped up together. I know MPO White did not do this for recognition, but his kindness and compassion are deserving.

MPO is a rank, “Master Police Officer.”

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Why King County Sheriff’s Office SWAT officers went into a Shorewood house last night

December 7th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, Shorewood, White Center news 2 Comments »

We finally have some information this morning about last night’s SWAT response at a house on Marine View Drive SW in Shorewood. Some thought it was happening at Shorewood Elementary, as some of the King County Sheriff’s Office/Burien Police units were staging there. We monitored scanner traffic for a while in hopes of finding out more; finally, after midnight, the SWAT team went in and discovered one man dead inside the house. What we still didn’t know by that point was why they had gone to the house in the first place. Here’s what KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West told us this morning in response to our inquiry: “Last night after 9 pm a woman called 911 and said that her husband had threatened to shoot her and himself. The woman was able to flee the residence. When police arrived the man was inside and would did not respond when police told him to exit the house. TAC30 (SWAT) was called and when they eventually entered, they found the man dead (from) an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.”

In reports that involve suicide, we always mention this resource – the Crisis Clinic, which has a 24-hour hotline, 206-461-3222.

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White Center Crime Watch: Deputies searching for robbers

November 16th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 2 Comments »

Happening right now, late Monday night – deputies are searching for robbers who are reported to have held up people in the 9600 block of 18th SW. We don’t know whether this was a street robbery or home invasion, but the robbers are reported to have fled toward the Holy Family Church/School vicinity, and were reported to have been armed with a gun and knife. Seattle Police are helping with the search. KCSO, meantime, is using a K-9 team.

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Investigation under way after man stabbed in White Center

October 25th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on Investigation under way after man stabbed in White Center

(Added: WCN photo)
ORIGINAL REPORT, SUNDAY: We’ve been checking out reports of a sizable law-enforcement presence near 15th and Roxbury, and this update just in from King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West has the details:

A 26 year old man was stabbed in White Center tonight after an altercation with three men.

Around 6:45 pm a King County Sheriff’s Deputy was flagged down near 15th Ave and Roxbury St. by the man, who said he had just been stabbed. The man said he had been on a Metro bus with the three suspects and when he got off the bus at 15th Ave and Roxbury the suspects also exited the bus. A physical altercation ensued between the suspects and victim. During the altercation one of the suspects stabbed the victim in the back. All three suspects then fled on foot in an unknown direction.

When aid arrived they discovered the blade of the knife was still in the victim’s back. The man was taken to Harborview with life-threatening injuries. At this time the only description of the suspects is they were Hispanic men, late teens to early 20’s and at least one of them was wearing a blue bandana.

The King County Major Crimes Unit is handling the investigation.

If you have any information to help solve this case – call 911.

UPDATED TUESDAY: We’ve just learned that the victim is an employee of two West Seattle restaurants, and a crowdfunding drive is under way to help – more info here.

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King County Sheriff’s Office reports arson suspect arrested

September 14th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Crime, fire, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on King County Sheriff’s Office reports arson suspect arrested

The new King County Sheriff’s Office Storefront Deputy for White Center, Bill Kennamer – introduced at this month’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting (WCN coverage here) – reports the arrest of an arson suspect. After what he describes as “several” arsons this past weekend, “today at about 11, Master Police Office Spence found and arrested the suspect in these arsons. The Arson Investigators responded and the suspect admitted to lighting the fires. She was booked into the King County Jail on 4 counts of Arson 2nd Degree.” Thanks to a reader tip, we know one of the fires was at the Samway Market on 15th SW late last night. We’re following up in search of more information.

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New storefront deputy for White Center: Meet Deputy Bill Kennamer at September 3rd North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

August 30th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline UAC, White Center news Comments Off on New storefront deputy for White Center: Meet Deputy Bill Kennamer at September 3rd North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting

Big agenda as the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council resumes its monthly-meeting schedule this week. NHUAC president Barbara Dobkin has just shared the agenda for the September meeting this coming Thursday – and it includes news of a new storefront deputy for White Center:

Mark your calendars and plan on joining the discussion at the next North Highline Unincorporated Council meeting on Thursday, Sept 3rd at 7 pm at the North Highline Fire Station: 1243 SW 112th Street.

Cass Turnbull, founder of Plant Amnesty, will be providing information on her efforts to preserve 32 acres of city of Seattle surplus land on Myers Way South (located between White Center and Highland Park – adjacent and south of the Joint Fire Training Facility, and Arrowhead Gardens senior housing). Seattle’s intention is to sell the land for commercial development. The area is steep, with wooded slopes, wetlands and a meadow that could very well be “Discovery Park South”.

We will also be addressing the issues that seem to continually arise at the White Center Bog/Pond. John Taylor and Ken Gresset from the King County Water and Land Resources Division would like to hear from the community on how this area can be best utilized for community enjoyment.

We have been fortunate to have wonderful, dedicated storefront deputies over the years. Our current storefront deputy, Julian Chivington, is no exception. The good news is Deputy Chivington has accepted a promotion, and the other good news is that Deputy Bill Kennamer will be taking Deputy Chivington’s place. Deputy Kennamer is very familiar with the White Center community, having served as a Metro Transit Deputy for a number of years. Both Deputy Chivington and Kennamer will be at the meeting to provide crime stats as well as information and answer questions regarding general community safety concerns.

See the agenda at: northhighlineuac.org

Questions – contact bdobkin@northhighlineuac.org

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King County Sheriff’s Office deputy retires, after giving gifts to others

August 26th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on King County Sheriff’s Office deputy retires, after giving gifts to others

If you’re retiring, you typically would be the recipient of any gifts involved in the celebration. Not so in the case of King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dan Shaw. KCSO sent the media this announcement of what Deputy Shaw just did in honor of his retirement from a career focused on patroling the White Center area:

Dan Shaw, who worked as a KCSO deputy in White Center for the last 27 years, completed his final service to the community by feeding homeless people.

The Sheriff’s Office hired Shaw in 1988 after he left the US Air Force. Shaw happily worked the vast majority of his career serving the citizens of White Center. On August 23rd, his last day as a deputy, Shaw bought eight buckets of chicken and all of the sides to feed homeless people in the community where he loved to work.

In a letter to some of his coworkers upon his retirement, Shaw said, “Thanks for the many wonderful memories ….. especially to all of my cop friends …… and to the wonderful dispatchers and call receivers that have their hands and (foot), literally on the heartbeat of patrol …… thank you from the bottom of my heart. I wish I could just ramble on about the people that have helped me throughout my career. It is a team and a family that I will miss. If you have any kind thoughts about me in any way, shape, or form, it is because of your partnership with me.“

Deputy Dan Shaw’s call sign was 1-King-12 with the King County Sheriff’s Office, truly a class act until the end. The Sheriff’s Office wishes Citizen Dan Shaw the absolute best in his retirement.

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UPDATE: Deadly crash on Ambaum, just south of White Center

August 14th, 2015 Tracy Posted in burien, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

(KCSO photo)

3:29 AM: The King County Sheriff’s Office says Ambaum is closed from 116th to 120th because of a crash at 119th that killed a man. According to KCSO, the man was a passenger in a car that investigators believe “failed to negotiate a turn” before crashing into a jersey barrier, possibly at high speed. The driver fled the scene but was caught with the help of the Guardian 1 helicopter. No word yet how long the road will be closed.

4:25 AM: Here’s the video released by KCSO Air Support, showing how the search ended:

No update on Ambaum’s status; please comment if you find it reopened, as we won’t be able to check for a few hours.

10 AM: Ambaum reopened about an hour ago, KCSO says.

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UPDATE: Man dies after shooting; deputies searching for killer

July 14th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 6 Comments »

(King County Sheriff’s Office photo)

3:56 AM: A 51-year-old man was shot and killed early this morning near 14th SW/SW 106th, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office. “It appears he tried to help another person being robbed and was shot,” KCSO’s media-relations Deputy Stan Seo tweeted. The only description so far: Black male, ski mask, dark hoodie and shorts. Deputies have been searching with K-9 assistance but haven’t found anyone so far. If you have any information, please call 911.

9:08 AM: KCSO now says the victim was 51 years old, so we’ve corrected his age above.

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VIDEO: County’s cannabis crackdown – sheriff, prosecuting attorney tell medical-marijuana dispensaries they’re ‘illegal’

July 8th, 2015 Tracy Posted in Businesses, King County, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 8 Comments »


If you hit “play” on the :15 Instagram clip above, you’ll get an idea of how contentious this morning’s cannabis-crackdown announcement in downtown White Center was. While there was a full turnout of regional media, there also was a notable turnout of people from medical-marijuana establishments, furious about what’s happening.

Speaking outside the King County Sheriff’s Office downtown WC storefront were Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, Sheriff John Urquhart, and Russ Hauge from (what’s about to be renamed) the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. Satterberg wrapped it up with a message to the marijuana establishments: “You might not consider yourself illegal – we do.” A copy was provided of the letter circulated to them (starting at least two days ago, according to what sources told us). While the officials gave conflicting answers as to what kind of “timeline” they expected for stores to shut down, the letter stated flatly in the sixth paragraph, “You will need to cease operations now, even if you plan on applying in the future for a state license …” and when asked, there was one suggestion that if stores aren’t closed within a month, they would “get a visit.” (added) Here’s part of Satterberg’s opening statement:

A printed list also provided to the news media included six White Center/Top Hat establishments:

Herbal Market, 10422 16th SW
White Center Alternative Care, 9839 17th SW
Pacific Coast Natural Medicine, 9817 16th SW
WCC, 9809 16th SW
Northwest Cannabis Market, 9640 16th SW
Herban Legends, 9619 16th SW
WPMC, 11009 1st Ave. S.

After the letter was circulated earlier this week, Herban Legends had this sign on its door:

The county officials referred to the newly opened Bud Nation, a state-licensed recreational-marijuana store in downtown White Center, as an example of what they support, and what they feel is threatened by the unlicensed establishments. They also made it clear that the state was there “in support” of what was their initiative. They pointed out they are doing this under civil measures, not criminal, but also reiterated that they are serious.

The medical-marijuana advocates, meantime, continued to protest that they are offering medicine and that they believe this is just a ploy by the state because of competition – what they make MMJ available for is lower than the state-set prices.

More to come…

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Cannabis crackdown: Sheriff, Prosecuting Attorney coming to White Center tomorrow for media briefing on ‘closing down unlicensed marijuana businesses’

July 7th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

Tomorrow morning at the White Center storefront of the King County Sheriff’s Office, County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg and King County Sheriff John Urquhart plan to brief the media on what their advisory describes as an “effort aimed at closing down unlicensed marijuana businesses operating in unincorporated King County,” which includes WC. Sources tell us they’ve already been circulating letters to some White Center marijuana outlets. The proliferation of medical-marijuana enterprises in North Highline, particularly White Center, has led to some concern, especially for the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, where it’s been a frequent topic at meetings, including one we covered in April. The crackdown follows passage of a new state law requiring medical marijuana to be handled as a sideline in state-licensed recreational-marijuana shops. (White Center’s first recreational-marijuana shop opened recently.) We’ll cover tomorrow’s briefing and will publish an update here.

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Why three White Center-area schools were in lockdown

June 12th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news Comments Off on Why three White Center-area schools were in lockdown

1:17 PM: We’ve been getting texts asking why Cascade Middle School, Evergreen Campus, and Mount View Elementary were in what the texters describe as “lockdown.” According to King County Sheriff spokesperson Sgt. Stanley Seo, deputies are searching for a student who was reported to have been seen with a “weapon.” They believe they know who they are looking for, and the search continues; the Guardian One helicopter has been in the area too. Important to stress, no injuries have been reported. And as we finish writing this, Highline Public Schools tweeted that the lockdowns have been lifted.

1:32 PM: New information from Sgt. Seo: The person who was seen may NOT have been a student. No one’s in custody so far. The earlier lockdowns were just precautionary.

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VIDEO: King County Sheriff’s Office, North Highline Fire District, AMR ambulance, other safety specialists visit White Center Heights Elementary

April 29th, 2015 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, North Highline Fire District, Schools, White Center news 1 Comment »

(UPDATED EARLY THURSDAY with more video, photos)

The youngest students at White Center Heights Elementary School got a lesson today that will last their whole lives: Finding out firsthand about public-safety personnel and what they do, during the school’s second annual Emergency Services Day. In our video, above, the star of the show was the King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter Guardian One, which landed right on the school’s playfield after circling a few times. Once it had come to a full stop, the students got to go over for a close-up look:

But the helicopter was not the only visitor. Public-safety vehicles including a North Highline Fire District engine and crew rolled onto the WC Heights playground for show and tell:

Ever wonder how a fire engine works and what equipment’s on board? Listen to the explanation and Q/A for this group of students:

An AMR ambulance was there too, with an EMT who has a special connection to the school – David Sonsteng is WC Heights Elementary’s PTSA president:

And a KCSO Gang Unit detective showed the students a patrol car as well as explaining his gear, from weapons to radio:

The students included WC Heights kindergarteners who had been working on their “community helpers” module, and preschool and Head Start students who were finishing up a “transportation” module. Introducing young children to emergency personnel in a non-emergency situation is helpful in case of a future emergency – firefighters, police and others might look scary with their uniforms and equipment unless a child recalls having learned about who they are and what they do. So all these little ones went home today with stories to tell:

(Here’s our coverage of the first WCH Emergency Services Day last year.)
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EARLIER: Below, the short version of our story, originally published Wednesday afternoon:


During a burst of sunshine between showers, White Center Heights Elementary students greeted special visitors for the school’s 2nd annual Emergency Services DayKing County Sheriff’s Office (including the Guardian One helicopter and a Gang Unit detective), North Highline Fire District, AMR (ambulance), and more. Above, a quick bit of video from right after Guardian One’s landing on the school playfield – we have much more to add later this evening.

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