Drurell Collier charged with 1st-degree murder in shooting death of Excalibur Scott

May 29th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Crime, top hat, White Center news Comments Off

Just in from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office – 28-year-old Drurell J. Collier is charged with first-degree murder in the Memorial Day shooting death of 23-year-old Excalibur Scott near 2nd and Myers in Top Hat. Here’s our original report; here’s our followup, in which authorities alleged that Scott was going to “record” a fight between Collier and another man. The charging documents just made public say Scott’s phone instead recorded Collier shooting him after shouting, “You want something to film?” Collier is also charged with second-degree assault against the man he was supposed to “fight” that day, and also with burglary for breaking into a nearby home. Prosecutors requested that his $750,000 bail be raised to $2 million. More to come as we review the documents.

ADDED: Here’s the story the documents tell – As noted before, the suspect and victim were walking with people they knew. Another man came up and accused Collier of stealing from a relative of his. The two began to argue, and the group moved on to 2nd on the south side of Myers. The fourth man in the group told investigators that Collier and the other man agreed to solve the disagreement with a fight; he asked Collier to turn over the gun he knew Collier was carrying, but Collier refused. Excalibur Scott pulled out his cell phone to get the fight on video. The fourth man said he was walking away when he heard a gunshot and saw Scott fall to the ground, then saw Collier run away, with the other man chasing him. When deputies arrived, they were told of someone matching Collier’s description running through their yards. They found him a few blocks away in what turned out to be his parents’ home.

A witness to the shooting identified him, and they arrested him, finding seven .22 caliber bullets in one of his pockets; Collier’s parents told deputies a .22-caliber Derringer handgun had disappeared from their home a week earlier, and that they suspected their son of taking it.
Later, investigators discovered that Collier had gone to his brother’s home in the same area just before going to his parents’ home, and had changed his clothes there, leaving behind another pair of pants, this one with two .22-caliber bullets in a pocket.

And they found that a nearby house had been broken into, with a custom-designed sweatshirt missing – one found on Collier when he was arrested.

More to come …

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Followup: Hearing for Top Hat murder suspect; victim ID’d; investigators say he was shot after agreeing to record a fight

May 27th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Crime, top hat, White Center news 3 Comments »

(WCN photo from Monday)
The man arrested in connection with Monday’s deadly shooting in Top Hat remains jailed after a hearing today, and the King County Medical Examiner’s Office has made the victim’s name public: Excalibur Scott, 23 years old.

King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office spokesperson Dan Donohoe says the 28-year-old suspect did not appear at today’s hearing in a jailhouse courtroom, but the judge ruled there is probable cause to hold him on suspicion of second-degree murder. According to documents presented in the case, based on police reports, the suspect was walking with Scott and another man when the suspect “became involved in an argument with a fourth male … over an alleged theft or burglary. (The suspect and the fourth man) agreed to fight over the allegation and (victim Scott) was to have reportedly recorded this fight.” Before it began, the suspect was said to be in possession of a .22 caliber chrome Derringer handgun. During the fight, the documents say, Scott was shot in the chest and died at the scene. The suspect ran off and was arrested nearby. The investigation continues; a bail hearing for the suspect is set for tomorrow. Records do not show any felony convictions for him in this state, but he spent a day in jail last month related to a warrant for failing to appear in connection with an obstruction-of-justice case from last fall.

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Bail for the suspect is now set at $750,000. We should find out about charges on Thursday.

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Video: King County Sheriff’s Office investigating Top Hat killing

May 26th, 2014 Tracy Posted in Crime, top hat, White Center news 14 Comments »

(WCN photos by Patrick Sand)
5:24 PM: A homicide investigation is under way in the 10700 block of Myers Way S. (map) in Top Hat, east of White Center. Discussion monitored via scanner earlier indicated that a shooting suspect was taken into custody in the 10800 block of 8th S. That’s all we know so far, but the King County Sheriff’s Office’s spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates is en route and our crew should have more information soon.

5:57 PM UPDATE: Sgt. Gates told media at the scene that the suspect and victim, both in their 20s, both live in the area where the shooting happened and had been in a dispute over some kind of “property.” They are still questioning the suspect; the shooting happened outdoors and the victim’s body has not yet been removed from the scene.

7:14 PM: Added video of the full briefing by Sgt. Gates (above).

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DNA match brings arrest in Top Hat home invasion/rape case

January 3rd, 2013 Tracy Posted in top hat, White Center news Comments Off

There’s been an arrest in the November Top Hat home invasion/rape case, thanks to a DNA match. From the King County Sheriff’s Office:

DNA evidence led detectives to a 17-year-old man who was arrested this morning in connection with a Home Invasion Robbery and Rape that occurred (in the Top Hat area) in November.

Detectives recovered DNA at the scene of the rape/robbery and entered the information into a DNA database (CODA). The DNA from the scene matched that of a known subject.

King County Sheriff’s Detectives and TAC 30 (Swat) served a warrant early this morning at the man’s residence in the 6800 block of S123rd St in the Skyway area. The man was arrested for rape and robbery and booked into the Youth Service Center.

The rape/robbery occurred on November 12th around 8:40 pm in the 10800 block of 6 Ave S. The victims, a man and his girlfriend, were home with their 18 month old child when two armed men entered the apartment and pistol whipped the man and sexually assaulted his girlfriend.

Detectives said the second suspect is still unidentified.

The suspect’s name will be withheld pending charges. The case has been forwarded to the prosecutor for review.

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Followup: Sketch of rapist in Top Hat home-invasion attack

November 16th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Crime, top hat, White Center news Comments Off

Just in from King County Sheriff’s Office, that sketch created from the description of the man who raped a woman in her Top Hat home during a home-invasion attack Monday night that also injured her partner. He is described as black, around 20 years old, medium complexion, 5’5 to 5’6, 170 to 180 pounds, wearing a dark gray hoodie at the time. There is no sketch of the other man sought in the incident – he was wearing a mask – but King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West did include a description – black, medium-to-darker complexion, also around 20, six feet tall, “real slim,” wearing a black hoodie at the time and gray shoes, possibly Air Jordans. If you know anything about either one, please call 911.

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Top Hat attack update from KCSO, including attackers’ descriptions

November 13th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Crime, top hat, White Center news Comments Off

Just received from King County Sheriff’s Office media liaison Sgt. Cindi West, an update on last night’s attack in Top Hat, including descriptions of the men deputies are looking for:

A man was pistol whipped and his girlfriend sexually assaulted during a home invasion robbery that occurred overnight in the Top Hat area of King County.

Last night around 8:40 deputies responded to a report of a home invasion robbery in the 10800 block of 6 Ave S. When deputies arrived they contacted a 23 year old man who said when he got home he saw two men near his apartment. He said the men pulled handguns and forced him into his apartment.

Once inside the apartment the suspects ordered the victim and his 23 year old girlfriend, who was home with her young son, to get on the ground. One of the suspects pistol whipped the male on the back of the head. One of the suspects sexually assaulted the female at gunpoint while the other suspect ransacked the house.

The victim’s 18 month old son was asleep on the couch and did not wake up during the incident.

The suspects are described as;

#1. Black male, approximately 5’9, 195 lbs with a “buzz” haircut. He was last seen wearing a mask over the bottom half of his face and gray shoes. (no age yet)

#2. Black male, approximately 5’5”, 180, last seen wearing a gray zip up shirt, with a black shirt underneath, blue jeans, and a black belt. (no age yet)

Detectives said there appears to be no relationship between the victims and suspects. Investigators are trying to determine why this house was targeted and what items were taken from the residence.

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Robbery, rape, assault reported at Top Hat home

November 13th, 2012 Tracy Posted in Crime, King County Sheriff's Office, top hat, White Center news Comments Off

Two men are being sought for a robbery, rape, and assault reported at a home in Top Hat, according to our partners at The Seattle Times. The two are reported to have attacked a man outside the home, then forced their way in, raped a woman, and ransacked the house before getting away. No word on the victims’ conditions; we’ll be following up with the King County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating. This is reported to have happened in the 10800 block of 6th S., which is part of unincorporated North Highline (though it was widely and erroneously reported by regional media last night as being in Burien).

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Update: King County sergeant out of the hospital after Top Hat crash

July 6th, 2012 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, top hat, White Center news 4 Comments »

(Photos by WCN editor Tracy Record)
FIRST REPORT, 4:50 AM: 1st Avenue South is closed at 112th in Top Hat (map) as King County Sheriff’s Office investigators work to sort out a two-car crash involving a KCSO deputy. TV crews got there before we did, so you’re likely to see live coverage during the morning newscasts; KING 5 reports that both the deputy and the other car’s driver – who they say tried to flee the scene – were taken to Harborview Medical Center. While we were at the scene, investigators from the Major Accident Response and Reconstruction unit were using this SUV for high-speed, sudden-braking investigatory runs:

We hope to get an update on the deputy’s condition a bit later this morning.

5:33 AM UPDATE: Jake Whittenberg from KING reports via Twitter that 1st S. has reopened. The damaged cars were towed around 5.

4:23 PM UPDATE: KCSO spokesperson Sgt. Cindi West says the injured deputy is a sergeant, and that he was southbound on 1st Avenue South when the northbound suspect “made an abrupt left turn in front of our sergeant,” who suffered a concussion and cut to the head, and was released from the hospital after treatment including stitches. She confirms the suspect was booked for investigation of vehicular assault, and adds, “Alcohol was involved.”

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Do you know what happened to Ben Muñoz of Top Hat?

April 11th, 2012 Tracy Posted in King County Sheriff's Office, top hat, White Center news 3 Comments »

One year after a Top Hat man disappeared, investigators are hoping someone has information on what happened to him. Here’s their news release:

The King County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help locating a man missing since last year. Benjamin “Ben” Munoz was last seen by his father on April 29, 2011.

King County Sheriff’s Detectives believe Munoz is likely dead and foul play is a definite possibility. There does not appear to be any other reason why he may be missing.

Ben Munoz lived with his father in the 11000 block of 1st Ave SW, in the Top Hat neighborhood of unincorporated King County. On April 29, 2011, his father heard Ben come home about 2:00 AM and go to bed. He saw Ben briefly the next morning before leaving for the day. No one has seen or heard from Ben since. He was unemployed.

Ben is 5’5” tall, 200 lbs with black hair. He has numerous tattoos on his arms and across his shoulders. He did not have a car.

If anyone knows what may have happened to Ben they are asked to call the King County Sheriff’s Office at (206) 296-3311 or 9-1-1 (24 hours)

Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS with information. Rewards are offered up to $1,000.

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Customers and fans mourn impending loss of Bernie and Boys Market Place

February 18th, 2011 Tracy Posted in Businesses, top hat, White Center news 3 Comments »

Story and photos by Deanie Schwarz
Reporting for White Center Now

Though it’s not in White Center, it has fans far and wide, so we have heard from customers lamenting the upcoming closure of Bernie & Boys Market Place, home of the “Live Butcher,” in Top Hat, and suggesting a closer look.

Bernie and Boys recently announced to their customers that the 100-year-old, family-owned-and-operated grocery/butcher shop/deli/bistro at 11225 1st Ave. South will close its doors.

Their landlord has put the property up for sale, though the economy had already caught up with the Salle brothers, Joe and Tom, who are left with no choice but to clear out of the current location and explore new opportunities.

In 1995, working 18-hour days for two years, the Salle brothers, Joe and Tom (along with their deceased father and brother, Bernie and Mike) reincarnated the previous Food Merchant store in this Top Hat area of North Highline. “Some of the neighbors use to refer to it as a “crack house which sold groceries” when we took it over. It was pretty rough,” Joe said recently, sitting in the store’s bistro where a full house gathered for companionship, as much as for the $1 per cup coffee or breakfast.

When the family arrived in Top Hat 16 years ago, the store needed vast improvements. Bernie and the boys dug in and not only cleaned up the store, they helped cleaned up the neighborhood. Their previous customers followed them from the family store they still owned then in Tukwila, the Riverton Community Store. They continued to grow the new business to employ 35 people, while maintaining a regional reputation for customer service and quality meat as the “Live Butcher,” a trademarked term coined by their father, Bernie, during the 1962 Worlds Fair.

“People were always talking down about Top Hat or Rat City. And I say, you know what? This is a great neighborhood. People that live here are blue-collar, normal people. They are not fancy. They’re blue jeans and tennis shoes; and that was our kind of people. That’s who we were,” said Joe.

Like so many others in the early 1950’s, Ginger Kelly and her sister would visit the family business with their parents, when it was located across from the old Duwamish Drive-In. The big weekly trek to the Riverton market was to get the best quality meat available. Even with all the nearby grocers, her dad, a former army cook, insisted he knew what was quality beef and that was Bernie’s, says Ginger. As an adult, she left the area, but later returned and now, at 65, she still shops at Bernie’s in the current location. “It’s still just as good – good produce at a good value.” Kelly has been marketing at the store all of her life as a second-generation Salle customer.

Over the past 16 years, the 22,000 sq. ft. store became a communal center for generations of folk and catered to all ethnicities. “My dad always said we don’t care what color they are, as long as their money is green. We want to sell to everybody. We did not discriminate against anyone,” said Tom. In fact, the Salles supported the community with sponsorships of school events for Evergreen and Kennedy High Schools, swap meets, classic auto shows, catered to 5,000 people at festivals and hired recovering drug addicts and sober alcoholics from the neighborhood.

People traveled from all over the metropolitan Seattle area to buy the meats.

Here’s an example of the “specialty” meat the family has sold: Tom proudly mentioned that his prime rib sales at Christmas were double of his butcher friend at a high-volume grocery store meat department. The butcher shop and customer service were their primary draws. Over the years, folks have always gathered in the coffee shop and shared their stories of weddings, births, illnesses and deaths, even more so while the recent economic tide slowly receded.

According to Joe, “We weren’t making any money, we were just breaking even. We were able to keep 35 people employed, get our insurance paid [and pay $7000 per month light bills]. But as the business declined, and the difference got wider, we were losing $10-$15K a month. And we’ve been losing that money for a couple of years, borrowing from everybody we can just to keep the doors open and to get through this. But, at some point, you have got to stop the bleeding.”

He goes on to explain that “twenty-five to forty-five percent of our customers have left the neighborhood in the last two years, by the thousands, because there are no jobs. The sheetrockers, painters, the landscapers, menial construction jobs have all disappeared,” Tom said.

A poignant camaraderie exists with their remaining customer base as all negotiate this era of troubled economic times. “That’s the hardest piece,” the brothers say. “Every day here lately is like a funeral. We don’t want to lose our customers. They become friends, too. But they understand we have to do what we have to do to stay afloat,” Tom said.

The Salle brothers promise the third and even fourth generation of loyal customers that they will once again reincarnate the Salle family “Bernie and Boys” and “Live Butcher” brand in one form or another, but are just beginning to explore what opportunities are available for them. And fortunately for the brothers, there are a number of them. Cutting their teeth in a grocery family with over one-hundred years of survival know-how having been passed on, might prove to be the key for rebounding away from the edge in this harsh economy.

As they prepare to shut the doors , they are running a 20% discount on all products. “We aren’t restocking anything except, milk and some produce and a little bit of meat. I think it will take a few weeks to sell everything out, but we’ll see how it goes. When it gets down to a certain point, we might kick up the discount. I don’t know. I’ve never had to do this,” Joe said. At some point, an auction will be held to clear out fixtures, signage and certain equipment that will no longer be needed, as well as decades of advertising props and memorabilia jumbled about the cavernous store. Notices will be published when the date for that is determined.

The question remains of what comes next. The brothers discussed a few possible scenarios, all contingent upon finding available and appropriate properties and workable financing packages. They are welcoming information and leads from commercial property owners with viable space to rent. They are not even certain the two will remain together or will, out of necessity, split and go their own way – though Tom is quick to point out that they are and still will be family, no matter what road they take.

They do know that the weekly, casual Saturday night Classic Car meetup is going to continue in the parking lot. The landlord has said they can do that, even though they will no longer be tenants, until the property sells. “They’ve [the landlord} always been good to us here, “ Joe said.

Beyond that, the future depends on whether they, together, operate a smaller, Italian specialty grocery with some olive oil, some wine, fresh pasta, maybe a deli and a smoking and/or dry cure room, if they have a butcher shop with it. To do the meat and a smaller grocery together – a scaled down version of their current placement – they estimate they would probably need 8,000-10,000 square feet, which is roughly half the size of the current space, as well as needing ample parking.

If that is not feasible, the brothers’ expertise and successful track records in smaller niches might lead them to open up, independently, a bistro-type deli and Italian catering business (that would be Joe) and a separate “green” live butcher shop, perhaps with a smoking room and a dry cure room, eventually (that would be Tom). Tom says that a stand-alone butcher shop, as he envisions it with white shirts, bow ties and black pants, needs to be at least 1,500-2000 sq. ft. He wants to highlight the trade with open window fronts facing traffic, so his customers can see him as he works. Also on the list of requirements for this scenario would be parking.

The brothers have each looked at a few spaces in North Highline, as well as White Center, West Seattle and Magnolia. Their formative years provided each brother with unique educations: learning from their dad, Bernie, how to cut high-grade meat and sell groceries while getting return customers during the day, then going home at night and having their mother, Lucy, teach them how to cook what they sold. They are keeping the faith that that family apprenticeship and legacy will bode well in any future endeavors.

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Update on Top Hat crash: Kia driver didn’t make it

February 4th, 2010 Tracy Posted in top hat, Traffic 1 Comment »

Update this morning from King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. John Urquhart on yesterday’s crash at 1st South/SW 112th:

The driver of the Kia died at Harborview. He was a 49 year-old Burien man. His identity will be released by the Medical Examiner’s Office. The accident is still under investigation and there have been no arrests.

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Crash closes intersection in Top Hat

February 3rd, 2010 Tracy Posted in top hat, Traffic, Transportation 5 Comments »

At last report, buses and other traffic are still being rerouted at 1st/112th because of a multicar crash this morning – here’s a KIRO report on what happened. AFTERNOON UPDATE: We checked with King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. John Urquhart who could confirm only that one person had potentially life-threatening injuries. (Those were apparently TV choppers over the scene at noontime, by the way; here’s KING’s latest report.)

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North Highline Unincorporated Area Council report #1: Crime update

August 7th, 2009 Tracy Posted in boulevard park, Crime, North Highline UAC, top hat, White Center news Comments Off

First of three reports from last night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting:

King County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Hancock briefed the group on crime in its coverage area over the preceding six weeks, late June through early August. While what he discussed comprised a somewhat-long list, as he summarized at the end, “A few years ago, this would have been a weekend recap – what in this case happened over (a month and a half).” He also took pains to point out that only one of the violent incidents was truly random. Note: Since the group oversees areas beyond White Center, his overview included those other areas too.

Toplines: 3 rapes, one involving a child (he indicated a suspect had been arrested). One armed robbery – “Five girls asked the victim, at Albertson’s, if they could have a ride. They held him up at knifepoint and took all his electronics and cash.” Six felony assaults, including a stabbing at a “homeless camp” and a “large fight disturbance at the Roxbury/15th bus stop.” Two shootings in which nobody was hit – described as gangs exchanging gunfire – one near the Bernie and Boys Market at 112th/1st (map), and Deputy Hancock says that one resulted in an arrest. The one “random normal person who was a victim,” as Deputy Hancock put it, incident was a mugging at South 96th/8th Ave So (map). The other violent incidents, he repeated, involved “people … in dangerous lifestyles – it’s not like you or I are going to the grocery store and people are shooting at us.”

A few more numbers: 36 4th-degree assaults, “mostly domestic violence,” though one involved an upset bar patron throwing a pot full of coffee. 3 commercial burglaries. 15 residential burglaries, 15 shoplifting cases, 12 shoplifting incidents, 12 vehicle thefts, 19 car prowls. He also recounted a story told at the last White Center/South Delridge Community Safety Coalition meeting – about a frequently arrested homeless man who OD’d at 98th/15th and was brought back to life, recovering well enough that “we arrested him for the 10th time three days later.” 2 more updates from NHUAC, later today.

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Reader report: Fire in the 11000 block of Occidental

July 28th, 2009 Tracy Posted in fire, top hat, White Center news 2 Comments »

Thanks to Wayne Del for sending word of a fire tonight in the 11000 block of Occidental (map), as well as photos of the smoke. He says it was in a “backyard – looks like it could have been a shed where gasoline was stored. Very combustible. Fire trucks on the scene, everyone appears to be safe. Helicopters, fire trucks, local citizens helping with garden hoses. Thank goodness for the community.” 8:45 PM UPDATE: We’re at the fire scene now – Occidental, a narrow residential street, is still blocked off with yellow tape, and fire crews are still here. This is in the Top Hat neighborhood. The incident commander tells us that the fire burned sheds and a carport, but the house itself wasn’t damaged. Nobody was hurt. Investigators are still on the scene, two hours after the fire was first reported, but they don’t know yet how it started. We’ll add our photos in a bit. ADDED: This is as close as we could get:

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