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Burglary Suspect Climbs Tree to Evade Police, Impacts Train Service for Hours

Police and firefighters responded to a strange call early this morning after locating a man who had climbed up a tall tree near the railroad tracks in the 3300 Block of  West Commodore Way  near the Ballard Locks.

Officers were investigating a report of property damage at a house in the 4600 Block of 33rd Avenue West at about 5:00 this morning.  The report was that a 38-year-old man, the ex-boyfriend of the woman who resides there, had shown up at the house and had broken out some of the windows.  He then resportedly fled after doing the damage.  Officers later learned that this was the second time the suspect had shown up at the house that morning, that early, around 1:30 or 2 in the morning, he forced his way inside the house and assaulted the male roommate who was living there.  During that assault, the man suffered a broken foot and was driven to the hospital to have it treated.  The suspect left after that confrontation, only to return at 5 am and break the windows.  The ex-girlfriend had fled the house out of fear.  She was later located, unharmed.

While an officer was investigating the first call, another officer was flagged down by a motorist near 34th Avenue West and Gilman Place West reporting hearing someone calling for assistance, possibly near the railroad tracks.  Officers began searching the area, and located a man who had climbed up a tree right next to the tracks, approximately in the 3300 Block of West Commordore Way.  The suspect refused to come down and was threatening to harm himself.  Officers quickly determined that the man in the tree was the suspect wanted in connection with the earlier incident.

Because of his promixity to the tracks, train travel was suspended for several hours while first responders attempted to get the man down from the tree safely.  Police negotiators talked with the man for hours, trying to get him to come down safely.  The man climbed up and down the tree several times during this ordeal, but never came down.   He also secured himself to the tree.  Finally, after several hours, just after 8:30, the suspect climbed down on his own and was taken into custody.  He will be booked into the King County Jail for domestic violence burglary and property damage, felony assault,  as well as an outstanding warrant.   He had recently been released from prison.

Railroad officials reopened the train tracks and train travel resumed.