Issaquah police arrest man after officer assault

October 12, 2010

Issaquah police arrested a man the morning of Oct. 11 after a brief struggle near the 700 block of state Route 900.

The officers — a sergeant and a motorcycle officer — stopped the suspect, a 27-year-old man, and approached him along the driver’s side of his vehicle. The suspect refused to exit the vehicle, and a brief struggle ensued.

Police said he then turned the vehicle on and started to drive away, dragging the sergeant for about 100 feet.

Moments later, the vehicle became stuck in a field, and the sergeant and motorcycle officer arrested the suspect.

Police arrested the man on a Utah warrant, plus the second-degree assault from the officer incident, and booked the man into the King County Jail.

Medics transported the sergeant to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, where he was treated and later released. The motorcycle officer and suspect were not injured.

DUI crash snarls traffic, injures commuters

September 28, 2010

State troopers said a suspected drunken driver caused a crash — and a mileslong traffic backup during the Sept. 24 morning commute — on Interstate 90 near Issaquah.

The crash injured the seven occupants of a King County Metro Transit Rideshare van traveling from Redmond to Snoqualmie.

Washington State Patrol investigators said the suspect, 26-year-old Issaquah resident Douglas Henderson, rear-ended the van, a Chevrolet Uplander, in the high-occupancy vehicle lane at 5:35 a.m.

The impact pushed the Uplander from the right side of the interstate near West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. The vehicle then rolled into a ditch.

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Troopers arrest wrong-way driver near Issaquah

September 14, 2010

Troopers arrested a Federal Way man near Issaquah early Sept. 12 for driving under the influence after other drivers said he drove the wrong way on Interstate 90.

The initial 911 call to the Washington State Patrol occurred at 1:53 a.m. Sept. 12; 11 callers updated dispatchers about the location of the vehicle as the driver headed west in the eastbound lanes.

Troopers stopped the 40-year-old driver near Exit 20, the High Point exit just east of Issaquah. Troopers apprehended the driver without incident and determined him to be under the influence of alcohol.

The driver — identified by troopers as Totta T. Leota — was booked into the King County Jail on DUI charges.

Troopers arrest wrong-way driver on Interstate 90 near Issaquah

September 13, 2010

NEW — 9 a.m. Sept. 13, 2010

Troopers arrested a Federal Way man near Issaquah early Sunday morning for driving under the influence after he other drivers said he drove the wrong way on Interstate 90.

The initial 911 call to the Washington State Patrol occurred at 1:53 a.m. Sunday; 11 callers updated dispatchers about the location of the vehicle as the driver headed west in the eastbound lanes.

Troopers stopped the 40-year-old driver near Exit 20, the High Point exit just east of Issaquah. Troopers apprehended the driver without incident and determined him to be under the influence of alcohol.

The driver — identified by troopers as Totta T. Leota — was booked into the King County Jail on DUI charges.

County aims to keep former offenders out of jail

August 24, 2010

King County Council members have called for County Executive Dow Constantine to develop a plan to help people transition from jail to society, and to prevent them from re-offending.

Issaquah-area County Councilman Reagan Dunn serves as chairman of the council Law, Safety, Health and Human Services Committee. He touted the proposal after council members’ unanimous decision July 19.

“It’s important that we as policy makers consider how best to move people from jail back to living constructive lives,” Dunn said in a statement. “Sometimes, a very small adjustment will keep someone from re-offending. That’s something we should think about and plan for.”

King County has missed out on opportunities to compete for more than $100 million in federal money through the Second Chance Act. The program requires local governments to create re-entry plans to keep former offenders out of jail.

“King County is already very successful with the re-entry programs that we have,” Dunn said. “It would be a mistake for us not to take advantage of every opportunity to build on that success.”

Hearing delayed for Lake Sammamish State Park shootings suspect

August 20, 2010

NEW — 10 a.m. Aug. 20, 2010

The case-setting hearing for the Renton man charged in connection to the deadly Lake Sammamish State Park shootout has been delayed until Sept. 1.

David Keowongphet, 29, has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree unlawful weapons possession charge. He remains in custody at the King County Jail on $500,000 bail.

The suspect had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, but a judge postponed the hearing.

Keowongphet told a King County Sheriff’s Office detective he had been at the Issaquah park July 17, but left before the shootings occurred.

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Questions arise about booze, guns at parks

August 17, 2010

Alcohol might be factor in Lake Sammamish State Park shootings

The morning after a lethal shootout at Lake Sammamish State Park last month, King County Sheriff Sue Rahr surveyed the scene: paper plates, paper towels, red Dixie cups and beer cans spread across wooden tables, spent cartridges littering the ground.

Empty beer boxes in a recycling container at Lake Sammamish State Park show evidence of alcohol consumption a week after two men were killed at the park. By Greg Farrar

The picnic provisions had been left untouched since gunshots ripped through the summer night. The shootings left a Kent man and a Seattle man dead, and injured three other people.

The sheriff met with state parks officials four days after the July 17 shootings, and raised concerns about the amount of alcohol allowed in the family-friendly setting.

Though a motive has remained elusive in the month since the gun battle, investigators believe alcohol might have been a factor in the shootout. In the meantime, the incident has raised questions about booze and firearms in parks — a cocktail that has the potential for dangerous side effects.

“That’s not a good mix, whether you’re in a park or at home or out hunting or out camping somewhere,” Lake Sammamish Park Manager Rich Benson said.

The shootings also stoked a debate about firearms laws and the presence of guns in parks.

Washington allows firearms in state parks, as long as the owner obeys gun regulations and park rules. Discharging a firearm is prohibited in state parks.

The only person charged in connection to the gun battle, Renton resident David Keowongphet, faces a first-degree unlawful weapons possession charge. Keowongphet — in custody at the King County Jail on $500,000 bail — is due in court Aug. 18 for a case-setting hearing.

“The bottom line is, controls don’t work,” Joe Waldron, chief lobbyist for the Washington State Rifle & Pistol Association and Washington Arms Collectors, said last week. “The bad guys, like the ones at Lake Sammamish State Park, would still have guns.”

Washington CeaseFire Executive Director Michael Wolfe disputes the assessment offered by the gun-rights lobbyist. The organization advocates for stronger gun-control measures.

“As much as the other side says guns don’t kill people and that people kill people, well, guns kill people,” he said. “In this situation at Lake Sammamish, if nobody had had a gun, it would have been a fistfight.”

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Unions agree to give up cost-of-living increases for county employees

August 16, 2010

NEW — 3:30 p.m. Aug. 16, 2010

Unions representing about 500 county employees agreed to forgo cost-of-living increases for next year, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced Monday.

Constantine and Washington State Council of County and City Employees President Chris Dugovich said the county and the union had reached a tentative agreement Monday morning. The union represents almost 500 District Court clerks, hazardous-waste workers, custodians and juvenile detention supervisors, among other employees.

“Our interest is in saving services for the public and preserving jobs for our members,” Dugovich said in a statement. “When a job goes away it is not likely to come back anytime soon. That hurts not only our members but the residents who depend upon the public services our members provide.”

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Park shootings suspect remains in jail

August 10, 2010

The man charged in connection with the fatal shootings at Lake Sammamish State Park last month remains jailed after pleading not guilty to a weapons-possession charge last week.

David Keowongphet — the cousin of a man shot dead during the July 17 gun battle — faces a first-degree unlawful firearm possession charge. King County prosecutors said he also has gang ties.

Keowongphet pleaded not guilty to the charge during a court appearance Aug. 4. He is due back in court Aug. 18 for a case-setting hearing. In the meantime, he remains in the King County Jail on $500,000 bail.

Keowongphet told a King County Sheriff’s Office detective he had been at the Issaquah park July 17, but left before the shootings occurred.

But his slain cousin’s widow said she saw Keowongphet firing a gun into the air during a brawl between rival groups picnicking at the lakefront park.

Kent resident Yang Keovongphet, 33, and Seattle resident Justin Cunningham, 30, died during the shootout. Gunfire injured three other people.

Undercover officers arrested Keowongphet at his Renton residence the next night. Investigators uncovered guns and ammunition at the home. Keowongphet cannot legally possess weapons due to prior felony convictions.

Renton man charged in state park shootings

August 3, 2010

Widow of slain man said suspect has gang connections

The cousin of a man shot dead at Lake Sammamish State Park faces a weapons-possession charge in connection with the case.

David Keowongphet — cousin of the slain Yang Keovongphet — faces a first-degree unlawful firearm possession charge after police found guns and ammunition at his Renton home. King County prosecutors said he also has gang ties.

The slain man’s widow told the King County Sheriff’s Office she saw the cousin fire a gun into the air during the July 17 shootout.

“David denied any knowledge of the murder and stated that he was at the park, but left prior to the shooting,” Detective Sue Peters wrote in court documents.

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