Category Archives: Crime

Q13: Rainier Valley, Columbia City Seeing ‘Significant’ Increase in Car Prowls

Q13 has a new story posted on the neighborhood’s recent increase in car prowls. Click here to watch the piece:

MapSEATTLE – There is a new warning for a Seattle neighborhood where car prowls are on the rise.

“These prowls are happening 24/7,” Pat Murakami, president of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council, said Friday.

Murakami said the Seattle Police Department warned that car prowls are up significantly in the Rainier Valley and Columbia City areas.

“There was this huge jump and they wanted to let residents know and be aware and prevent them by not leaving things in their vehicles,” she said.

The Police Department’s own crime maps show a slew of smash and grabs just since the beginning of March.

Murakami credits the new top brass at SPD for getting information like this out to the public more quickly than the department used to.

She just hopes her neighbors heed the warnings.

“Now with our new chief and with SeaStat, it’s making a difference,” she said. “We’re actually getting calls from police and getting warnings in advance.”

Gun at Columbia City’s Ineragency Academy Puts Neighborhood into Lockdown

Seattle Public School’s Interagency Academy (located at the Columbia School at 35th between Ferdinand and Edmunds) was put into lockdown today after it was reported a student had a weapon in the halls.

Photo: Flickr

Photo: Flickr

According to the SPD Blotter:

Columbia City High School Locked Down After Report of Student With Gun

A report of a teen with a gun sent a South Seattle high school into lockdown Tuesday afternoon.

Police received a report from the Interagency High School—located in the 3500 block S. Ferdinand Street—just before 1 pm that a male student was carrying a gun through a campus hallway.

As students took shelter on campus and police arrived at the scene, the suspect—who is in his late teens 17 years old—fled the building and was arrested by officers.

Police have not received any reports of gunfire or injuries during the incident, and have recovered a firearm at the scene.

We’ll post additional details as they become available.

Columbia City neighbors located to the west of Rainier reported lots of police presence as SPD searched for the suspect and the weapon. Other local schools were put into an official “Shelter in Place” as police secured the neighborhood.

This is the Interagency Academy’s second year at the Columbia School (which used to house Orca K-8 before it moved up the hill to Whitworth). Prior to its current location, Interagency was housed in the Seattle Public Schools building just west of the light rail station on Alaska. Interagency is often considered a “last-chance high school” for struggling students. This Seattle Times article from 2012 outlines the work that they do.

Monday Night Gunfire by Genesee

As many are now aware due to news coverage by the city’s major news outlets, shots were fired on Monday night at 37th and Oregon, right by the Columbia Public Health building and the Shell Station on Genesee.

Photo by KIRO

Photo by KIRO

According to the SPD Blotter:

Multiple Cars Damaged in Columbia City Shootout

Written by on January 20, 2015 1:38 pm

A shootout between several suspects damaged three cars and a home shortly after 7 PM Monday.

Witnesses described a rolling gunfight between the three cars near South Oregon Street and 37th Avenue South. There was a collision, and then more shooting as the suspects got out of their cars. No one was injured.

Officers found a nearby house damaged by gun-fire, as well as bullet holes in the vehicles involved. CSI detectives collected evidence and impounded the three cars involved in the shooting. Gang Unit detectives are investigating.

Komo was first to pick up the story. Their coverage can be viewed here.

SEATTLE — A shootout in Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood left the area littered with shell casings and broken glass.

The shooting happened near 37th and South Oregon at about 7:30 p.m., according to police.

Neighbors say they thought they heard fireworks, but when they looked outside they saw a man firing a pistol.

A number of cars, homes and windows were shot, but luckily nobody was hurt.

The shooting spooked residents in the normally quiet neighborhood.

“There’s a lot of kids in this area and just to think, if the people across the street from me, if their kids were outside playing when this happened, the worry that this happened literally across the street,” said neighbor Khadja Abbit.

Police found a wallet at the shooting scene and are now questioning the 26-year-old man. The man’s mother said he was not hurt and was the one who called police to the scene.

Police are still investigating and have not released information about any potential suspects.

KIRO also covered the story.

Seattle Weekly: 2013 Columbia City Police Shooting is Seattle’s Ferguson


SPD Photo: Russell Smith

The Seattle Weekly’s Rick Anderson has done some reflection on the controversial 2013 Columbia City Seattle Police shooting of Russel Smith and the connections to Michael Brown and Fergeson. Read the whole piece here:

Michael Brown. That name you know. It was in all the papers.

He was the black teen shot to death August 9 by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. The officer, who was not charged with a crime and has now resigned, claimed that Brown, after being slightly wounded and then chased by Wilson, abruptly turned and came unarmed toward the officer to attack him. It made no sense.

Russell Smith. That’s a name you likely forgot. It was in the papers a bit, although Seattle Weeklypublished a detailed report on his death (“Nowhere to Run,” Dec. 4, 2013).

He was the unarmed black man shot to death in Seattle on March 22, 2013 by a group of white police officers from Bellevue, working with the Seattle Police Department. They were serving an arrest warrant in Columbia City. Smith, 51, an ex-con wanted for armed robbery, allegedly tried to flee in his car when the Bellevue SWAT team arrived in the morning darkness in a Bear Cat armored vehicle. It didn’t make much sense, either.

Though the dead end street was blocked, leaving Smith nowhere to go, he took off, allegedly almost hitting officers with the vehicle. Three cops fired 21 rounds, narrowly missing other officers in a crossfire. Smith, behind the wheel, raised his hands, then put them over his face as he was hit with eight bullets at close range, one in the side of his head.

The shooting included elements that also arose in the Ferguson killing. None of the officers were charged with a crime, and many questions were left unanswered—among them, whether Smith was trying to surrender when shot. A similar question lingers in the Brown case…

Continue reading the whole piece here.

Greenhouse Apartments Vandalized with Targeted Graffiti

IMG_6845It would be impossible to post about every instance of graffiti in the neighborhood, but tonight’s targeted vandalism at the Greenhouse Apartments is a bit different. Residents of the apartment complex on Hudson discovered aggressive, targeted, name-specific, racist comments covering the main entrance to the building. Since the graffiti includes names of presumed residents and specific apartment numbers, I went ahead and blurred out some of the details in the picture above.

The graffiti runs the gamut–mentioning names, “abuse,” “corp. whore” and “criminal,” and “citibank rebel group.”

The vandalism took place between approximately 7:00 and 7:30pm and it took the police roughly an hour to respond to the scene.

Columbia City Family Burglarized After Already Dealing with House Fire

UPDATE 11/20: According to a post by this same neighbor on the Columbia City Facebook page, the house was hit once-again last night. That’s one fire, two robberies. 


Original Story from 11/19:

Q13 has coverage of an upsetting story that many neighbors first heard about on the Columbia City Facebook page, where a local family had their home burglarized after recently having to move out to make repairs due to a house fire. Q13’s Tina Patel reached out to the family through the Facebook page and reports with the following. To watch the coverage, click here.


First their home was damaged by fire. Now it’s been ransacked by burglars.

“It’s trashed,” says Tana Whidbey, as she tries to figure out what thieves stole from her Columbia City home. It’s hard to tell because of the mess they left behind.

“Everything was all over the floors, all the drawers had been emptied out onto the floor.”

Whidbey and her family had temporarily moved out of their home in September, after a fire in their kitchen.

“It did enough damage because of the way it burned, they have to restore the whole kitchen now.”

They had been checking on the house almost every day. But they didn’t make it over this weekend.

“Yesterday, my husband came by the house on his way to pick up the kids from school. He looked in the front window and saw that our TV was gone and that there was a huge mess in the living room.”

Police think the thieves pried open a window in the downstairs bedroom. It appears they took their time in the house, going through every room and taking everything of value.

“The TV was right there, then we had the DVD player, and the Wii and all that stuff in here,” says Whidbey, as she points out some of what’s missing.

The thieves even emptied their freezer, and drank from their liquor cabinet.

“They took the empty bottles and stuck them into the couch cushions.”

Whidbey says she’s glad her family wasn’t home when the crooks broke in. But she says it’s still hard to explain to her kids what happened, and why some of their clothes and games are now missing.

“It makes me sad. What kind of situation is somebody in that they feel like is OK to do this, or that they need to do this?”

She’s heard about other burglaries in the area. She’s now questioning whether she wants to continue to call this neighborhood home.

“It feels like it’s spiraling into something worse than I’ve ever seen before, with the amount of violence, the break-ins, the gunshots that we’re hearing regularly right now. It’s definitely affected the neighborhood.”

SPD Looking for Suspect in Tuesday’s Violent Home Invasion Robbery

From the SPD blotter:


Written by on November 12, 2014 3:16 pm

Two men pistol whipped and robbed a 66-year-old man after breaking into his Columbia City home Tuesday night.

The victim, who is a taxi driver, told police he stopped by his home in the 4400 block of South Brandon Street around 11 PM to check his email when two men barged through the door, which he had been left ajar.

One suspect pointed a gun at the victim while the other man searched the apartment. They demanded the victim’s wallet and hit him on the head several times with the butt of the gun. The suspects fled the area in a car.

The victim was treated by medics at the scene. Robbery detectives are investigating and ask that you call 206-684-5535 if you have information about the incident.

Carjacking and Armed Robbery at Columbia City Bank

According to the SPD blotter, a family was carjacked at gunpoint at Safeway and forced to drive to a Columbia City bank to withdraw cash today:

Robbers Force Man to Drive to Bank, Withdraw Cash

Two armed robbers pulled a gun on a man Thursday and threatened to kill his family if he didn’t drive them to a Columbia City bank and withdraw cash.Banks

The victim told police he was walking to his car outside a grocery store in the 3800 block of Rainier Avenue South when a man approached him and flashed a handgun. The suspect climbed into the passenger seat of the victim’s car and told the victim to drive toward Seward Park.

The suspect told the victim to stop and pick up a woman along Seward Park Avenue South before the pair of suspects ordered him to call his bank and find out how much money he had in his account.

The suspects then ordered the victim to drive to the bank, where they instructed him to go inside and withdraw cash. They also warned him they would kill his family if he didn’t return with money.

After leaving the bank, the victim handed the suspects an envelope of money before they fled.

Police are still working to get more information about the suspects, but the victim said the man who pulled the gun on him was a black male in his late 20s, and described his female accomplice was a white female with straight, black shoulder length hear, wearing a dark-colored scarf.

If you have any information about this incident, please contact SPD Robbery detectives at (206) 684-5535

Last Night’s Armed Robbery and Police Chopper


Last night’s tweet from the King County Search and Rescue chopper

I’ve received a number of emails on whether or not there’s any official information on the police chopper that was circling Columbia City last night at around 11:30.

As of right now, there’s nothing posted (at least that I can find) by the SPD.

However, the Columbia City Facebook page was abuzz last night with details. Although not confirmed, a number of neighbors reported that there was an armed robbery on 39th and Edmunds and that the suspects fled.

Again, none of this has been officially confirmed, but it did seem as though a number of posters heard this reported on the live SPD scanner.

If anyone has more information, or if there’s an official post/report from the SPD, be sure to post in the comments.

Seven Year Old Pedestrian in Hit and Run

This week, the neighborhood had to once-again unfortunately come together to express outrage, sadness, support, and hopes for change when a seven year old girl was hit in a horrific hit and run on Tuesday at MLK and Genesee. Original reports indicated that the girl was struck by two separate vehicles which drove off, but later was updated to only one. As KOMO reported:

Police are searching for a driver who hit and seriously injured a 7-year-old girl in South Seattle Tuesday evening.

The girl was crossing the street near Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South Genesee Street just after 6:30 p.m. when she was hit by a red or maroon Chevy Tahoe SUV, according to police. The vehicle sped away without stopping to help the girl.

Police originally thought the girl was struck by a second car as she lay injured in the road, but investigators have since determined the girl was only struck by one car.

“They hit her like a dog. Just ran over her, not stopping, no nothing,” said one man who witnessed the incident.

The child was originally reported to be in critical condition, and has now been updated to serious condition and remains in the ICU.

Click for KOMO's Coverage

Click for KOMO’s Coverage

Yesterday, the police were able to identify the red Chevy Tahoe that was involved.

This tragedy comes just weeks after an SUV drove through two businesses in the heart of Columbia City and a very concerted neighborhood effort to raise awareness to make MLK and Rainier safer.

All major local news outlets also reported on the scene (click for King 5’s coverage).

Fox13s original coverage can be viewed here.

The Seattle Bike Blog also has this extended piece.

Organizers on The Columbia City Facebook page have put together ways to make donations and show support.

Detectives are asking you call Traffic Collision investigators at (206) 684-8923 with any information you might have about this hit-and-run.