‘All hell broke loose’ during state park shootings

July 20, 2010

Lake Sammamish State Park shootings leave two men dead

The King County Sheriff’s Office’s Guardian One helicopter lands the morning of July 18 at Lake Sammamish State Park during the investigation of the previous night’s shootings. By Greg Farrar

In the fading summer light, some picnickers and parkgoers thought the pops echoing through Lake Sammamish State Park on July 17 sounded like fireworks.

But seconds later, the crowd unwinding at the packed Issaquah park recognized the noise as something else: gunfire.

Read more

Investigators do not yet know who killed state park shooting victims

July 20, 2010

NEW — 10:20 a.m. July 20, 2010

King County Sheriff’s Office investigators do not know who shot the men killed at Lake Sammamish State Park on Saturday night, the agency reiterated Tuesday.

The shootings left a 30-year-old Seattle man, Justin Cunningham, and a 33-year-old Kent man, Yang Keovongphet, dead. The men each died from multiple gunshot wounds, the King County Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday after completing autopsies.

Gunshots injured another three people — a 20 year-old North Bend man, a 22-year-old Seattle man and a 16-year-old Renton boy. None of the men suffered life-threatening injuries.

The fourth man injured during the incident was beaten after the shootings. Medics transported him to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, but his injuries were not serious.

Read more

Investigators see signs of gang ties in Lake Sammamish State Park shootings

July 18, 2010

UPDATED — 5:40 p.m. July 18, 2010

Though investigators continue to comb Lake Sammamish State Park for evidence from the deadly shootings at a picnic area Saturday night, early indicators point to bad blood between rival gangs as a possible cause.

The shooting inside the park at dusk left two men dead and another four men injured. The shootout erupted after a dispute between two men from rival groups picnicking at the park. The cause of the argument remained unknown Sunday, although alcohol could have been a factor in the incident.

“It could be as simple as a gang rivalry, but we don’t know that for a fact,” Sgt. John Urquhart, King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said Sunday afternoon.

The groups — including the shooting victims, friends, family members and children — arrived at the park Saturday and set up separate picnic sites about 200 feet apart, Urquhart said.

Both groups also included members with gang affiliations. Members of the groups came to the park heavily armed.

The rival groups included many members of Asian descent, though Urquhart said the fatalities included a white man. Police believe he could have been a shooter.

Read more

Two men dead, four injured after Lake Sammamish State Park shootings

July 17, 2010

Officers from four law enforcement agencies blocked the entrance to Lake Sammamish State Park after the Saturday shootings. By Warren Kagarise

Park will be closed Sunday as detectives gather evidence

UPDATED — 1:05 a.m. July 18, 2010

A shooting at a party in Lake Sammamish State Park left at least two men dead and another four men injured after gunshots shattered a summer Saturday evening.

The shootings occurred at about 9 p.m. — as dusk settled over the popular Issaquah park. Sgt. John Urquhart, King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said investigators did not yet know if the victims had been bystanders or other shooters. Though early reports tied the shootings to gang activity, Urquhart refused to confirm details about the incident.

Urquhart said at least three of the injured men had been transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He did not know the hospital where the fourth wounded man had been taken.

By 12:30 a.m. Sunday, two of the men were in satisfactory condition at Harborview, UW Medicine spokesman Brian Donohue said. Another man was listed in serious condition.
Read more

Sheriff’s office investigates death threat at Liberty High School

July 13, 2010

After a death threat appeared on a restroom wall at Liberty High School on June 23, the Issaquah School District and King County Sheriff’s Office continue their investigation into who may be responsible.

The writer threatened to bring a gun to school Oct. 27 “and shoot everybody,” police said in describing the pencil-written message.

Liberty Principal Mike Deletis e-mailed members of the school community July 8, following an Issaquah Press article about the incident.

“Because we always take such messages seriously, we immediately contacted the King County Sheriff’s Office,” he wrote. “Police officials launched an investigation, and we are working closely with them as they determine the credibility of the threat and try to identify the person who left the message.”

So far, investigators do not have any leads in the case or a possible suspect, Sgt. John Urquhart, sheriff’s office spokesman, said July 8.

However, they will continue to work with school officials to determine whether the threat is credible and if it is, coordinate with school officials to determine appropriate actions to keep students safe when school is back in session.

School officials called police June 23 after a custodian discovered the message scrawled on a wall near a toilet stall in the boys’ restroom.

Since the school year ended June 17, school officials said that only faculty and school employees had been in the building regularly, but it was possible a student could have come to campus and gone unnoticed.

As part of the investigation, school officials went over security video from the school that day and in days preceding the discovery, but did not notice any strange activity.

“As we approach the new school year, we will continue to partner with the sheriff’s officers, and we will take their guidance to ensure that our students, staff and campus are safe,” Deletis wrote. “I will keep you informed during the process. Again, we are acting with an abundance of precaution.”

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

Liberty High School threat investigation continues

July 9, 2010

NEW — 11 a.m. July 9, 2010

After a death threat appeared on a restroom wall at Liberty High School on June 23, the Issaquah School District and King County Sheriff’s Office continue their investigation into who may be responsible.

The writer threatened to bring a gun to school Oct. 27 “and shoot everybody,” police said in describing the pencil-written message.

Liberty Principal Mike Deletis e-mailed members of the school community Thursday, following a newspaper article about the incident.

“Because we always take such messages seriously, we immediately contacted the King County Sheriff’s Office,” he wrote. “Police officials launched an investigation, and we are working closely with them as they determine the credibility of the threat and try to identify the person who left the message.”

Read more

Technology in emergency vehicles carries risks, rewards

July 6, 2010

State phone ban exempts emergency services agencies

Greg Tryon, Eastside Fire & Rescue battalion chief, describes the laptops, smart phones and other communications equipment used in the agency’s mobile command posts, fire trucks and aid cars. By Greg Farrar

Distractions abound for Eastside Fire & Rescue trucks roaring through downtown Issaquah or down Northwest Gilman Boulevard at rush hour: cars racing to catch a yellow light, cyclists steering through narrow bike lanes and drivers chatting into mobile phones or tapping out text messages.

Read more

Sheriff’s office investigates death threat at Liberty

July 6, 2010

A threat scrawled on a restroom wall at Liberty High School raised concerns about school safety for Issaquah School District and law enforcement officials.

Police said the writer threatened to bring a gun to school Oct. 27 “and shoot everybody,” the message reads.

“If I were you I wouldn’t go to school,” the pencil-written message continues. “You are warned.”

Sgt. John Urquhart, King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said investigators must determine whether the source is credible and then — if the threat turns out to be legitimate — coordinate with the school district to determine appropriate action.

Police said a custodian discovered the disturbing message on a wall near a toilet stall in a boys’ restroom June 23. Principal Mike Deletis reported the graffiti to the sheriff’s office and school district officials.

Only school staff members had occupied the building since the school year ended June 17, although a student could have come to campus unnoticed. District officials checked security video, but did not notice anything unusual in the logs.

“The threat is not against Mike Deletis and is not specific to anybody,” Sara Niegowski, school district spokeswoman, said late last week. “This happened after school was out, the custodians have cleaned the bathrooms since, so it happened afterward and it is a mystery as to how it got there.”

She said district officials must determine the credibility of the threat, the person behind the message and the significance of the date.

Niegowski said she could not recall a situation like the Liberty threat happening before. She described the situation as unusual, because most threats against schools are more immediate.

For example, a 16-year-old Issaquah High School student made a bomb threat in December 2007, because he did not want to attend classes that day.

Officials evacuated the school, and sent students home after the 10:30 a.m. threat. Police eventually arrested the student responsible for the prank.

Authorities investigate Liberty High School threat

July 2, 2010

NEW — 12:15 p.m. July 2, 2010

A threat scrawled on a restroom wall at Liberty High School has raised concerns about school safety for Issaquah School District and law enforcement officials.

Police said the writer threatened to bring a gun to school Oct. 27 “and shoot everybody,” the message reads.

“If I were you I wouldn’t go to school,” the pencil-written message continues. “You are warned.”

Sgt. John Urquhart, King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said the investigators must determine if the source is credible and then — if the threat turns out to be legitimate — coordinate with the school district to determine appropriate action.

Read more

Mobile phone law goes into effect

June 8, 2010

From interstates to county roads to Issaquah streets, law enforcement officers will start enforcing a state ban on a distracted-driving law meant to prod motorists to hang up — or at least go hands-free — and drive.

Drivers face a $124 fine if officers catch them texting, or with a mobile phone pressed against their ears, starting June 10. The state will require hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth earpieces, for callers talking and driving. Moreover, drivers younger than 18 cannot use wireless devices at all, except in emergencies.

Sgt. John Urquhart, King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said deputies did not plan increased enforcement, known as emphasis patrols, because the agency lacks the manpower. Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers said officers would start to enforce the ban June 10.

“We’re not starting an all-out blitz on June 10, but we will enforce the law as we do with all of the others,” Ayers said.

Washington State Patrol troopers will not offer a grace period after the law goes into effect.

The state sought to prohibit texting and requiring hands-free devices in 2008, but the earlier law treated the issues as secondary violations. Officers had to witness drivers speeding or in the midst of another infraction in order to conduct a traffic stop.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »