Seven Arrested As SPD Focuses On Gun Crime In South Seattle

Police seized a handgun and arrested a convicted felon hiding inside a beer cooler Thursday at a South Seattle gas station, shortly after officers found a gun on the seat of a car used in a recent burglary.

This latest arrest comes as SPD focuses on addressing gun crimes in the South Precinct. As part of an ongoing effort, the South Precinct has rolled out bike units, pored over data from the Tactical Crime Analysis Squad and Real-Time Crime Center, and bolstered added patrols with officers and detectives from Anti-Crime Teams and the Special Operations and Investigative Bureaus.

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Since mid-March, officers and detectives involved in the emphasis efforts have arrested seven people involved in shootings and other gun crimes:

On March 16th,  Gang unit detectives were on patrol in the Dunlap neighborhood when they learned two men had exchanged gunfire in a nearby parking lot. Detectives quickly arrested both suspects and booked them into the King County Jail.

The following day, March 17th, officers arrested a man near Rainier Beach shortly after he was seen firing a gun into the air while driving up and down a street near Kubota Gardens Park.

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On March 21st, Gang Unit detectives and members of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Gun Crime Taskforce arrested two wanted gang members and seized a pair of pistols and a pair of hunting rifles after a brief foot chase near Georgetown. Both men are believed to be connected to a group involved in several recent incidents of violence in South Seattle.

SPD’s most recent arrest came Thursday, March 31st, after officers arrested a convicted felon in a gas station cooler and recovered a large handgun.  Two officers working an evening emphasis patrol pulled into a gas station in the 7300 block of Rainier Avenue around 8 PM after spotting a group of men standing around red Volvo and a black Charger in the parking lot. As officers pulled in to the lot, members of the group climbed into the Volvo and drove away. Officers then walked up to unoccupied, parked Charger and saw a handgun on the front seat.

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No one inside the store claimed ownership of the Charger, or the unattended handgun, so officers reviewed the store’s surveillance footage, which showed two men parking the vehicle and walking inside the gas station.

Gang unit detectives joined officers at the scene and were able to identify one of the men in the footage as a 33-year-old convicted felon, unable to legally possess firearms. Officers also discovered the Charger had been towed from the scene of a recent burglary and, since then, had suspiciously been outfitted with different license plates.

Officers found the 33-year-old suspect sitting on top of a case of energy drinks deep inside the gas station’s drink cooler, and found the Charger’s keys hidden in a paint can inside a bathroom. Police also found the Charger’s other occupant–a 16-year-old boy, who is also a convicted felon–a few blocks away from the gas station. Police booked the 33-year-old into the King County Jail for unlawful possession of a firearm and released the 16-year-old pending further investigation.

As the South Precinct emphasis continues, detectives and officers continue to actively investigate and gather evidence in recent incidents involving firearms, the department will continue to enhance patrols and deploy the mobile precinct to hot spots identified through SeaStat analysis.  The department is also coordinating across precincts and bureaus to locate possible suspects, and is working with regional law enforcement, prosecutors, Department of Corrections and ATF Gun Crime Taskforce to investigate and deter gun crimes and gun violence in Seattle.

Anyone with information about gun crimes in Seattle is asked to contact police at 911 or through the Violent Crimes tip line at (206) 233-5000.