Girl injured by dart during Fugitive game

July 28, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

A girl was struck by a dart while playing a nighttime game of Fugitive, a popular activity among teens and young adults that has Issaquah Police concerned about trespassing and other issues.A blowgun dart struck the girl in the back as she played the game near the 1600 block of Northwest Gilman Boulevard at about 10:45 p.m. July 14. The dart pierced her skin, but authorities said the girl was fine.

Officers said they have no leads about a suspect. But authorities used the case to educate parents and community members about the potential pitfalls of Fugitive.

Officers have received several calls stemming from juveniles playing the game. Police said the game often leads to illegal activities and real danger.

Cmdr. Stan Conrad, support services commander for the Issaquah Police Department, said authorities wanted participants to realize problems associated with the game.

“Shadowy figures running around in the dark can raise a lot of suspicions and concern,” he said.

Fugitive is typically played at night. A group of participants pretend to be “fugitives” who must travel between two points without being captured, tagged or located by another group of “hunters.” As the groups play, “fugitives” will often cut across streets and yards, or climb over fences to evade their opponents. Authorities said “hunters” move on foot or in vehicles in an effort to catch their quarry.

“Our police officers are on high alert for any signs of this game taking place in Issaquah,” Patrol Cmdr. Scott Behrbaum said in a news release. “We’re also asking local parents to talk to their teens about the hazards of this game, which can be unsafe for both bystanders and participants.”

Officers have also received several calls related to game participants. Concerned callers have alerted police to suspicious people dressed in dark clothing near closed businesses and running through yards. Other calls were related to reckless vehicle complaints.

Conrad said officers paid special attention to Fugitive participants using cars to play the game because drivers can become distracted as they hunt for “fugitives.”

Officers warned about 40 juveniles playing Fugitive in the 800 block of Second Avenue Northwest about trespassing and malicious mischief at 10:43 p.m. July 14. Juveniles told officers the game would be finished by 11 p.m.

“It’s difficult to condone it when trespassing is involved,” Conrad said.

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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