On Thursday afternoon, Jan. 17, 2019, a press conference was held at Burien Police Precinct #4, where a task force was announced to investigate a pattern of unsolved shootings – 11 so far – on and around the SR 509 freeway dating back to last June that closed down both the freeway and Sea-Tac Airport.
Here’s full video of the press conference (running time 23:18):
All but one shooting involved vehicles on the freeway, with another being at three houses in Des Moines.
As previously reported by The B-Town Blog, the June 13 shooting closed down the 509 near S. 160th/Five Corners as well as Sea-Tac Airport for several hours, and resulted in a huge, well-armed response. No suspect was found, and no further details have been released. At the time, Troopers said that the shooter was likely “in the tree line” which implied that perhaps they were hiding up in a tree on the east side of the freeway (a sniper perhaps?).
Then most recently, on Dec. 20, a 14-year old boy was shot while riding near the 1st Ave South bridge in his family van, which caused him to be permanently blinded.
Police did not reveal any suspect or profile information, but reiterated that these shootings are related, and that the public needs to be vigilant and aware.
No details were given on what type of gun(s) were used, or the exact locations of where nine of the 11 shootings took place.
When asked by a reporter if it was safe to drive on SR 509 right now, King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht talked about how she drives it daily in her private vehicle, including to this event.
“I came down 509 from Seattle today. I travel it frequently, and these are all things we need to evaluate, and just to be aware,” she said.
Police say they’ve already increased patrols on the freeway as well.
Officials remind residents to call 9-1-1 if/when there’s a crime in progress, or to call (425) 401-7880 or email [email protected] with any tips about these incidents.
Cooperating agencies of this new task force include:
- Washington State Patrol
- Washington State Fusion Center
- Burien Police Department
- Des Moines Police Department
- Port of Seattle Police
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
- King County Sheriff’s Office
Below is a map showing the approximate 14.5 mile range of where police say shootings happened on SR 509, with the most recent (Dec. 20) to the north and the first (June 13) to the south:
Law enforcement is seeking your help gathering information on a string of shootings in south King County. pic.twitter.com/dZS9rn9lsi
— Trooper Rick Johnson (@wspd2pio) January 17, 2019