Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bainbridge couple suspected of stealing and selling $20,000 of merchandise


Bainbridge police are searching for a couple who stole upwards of $20,000 from a partially furnished home they rented.

Police said soon after the tenants moved to the home in September, they held a garage sale, selling many of the items in the house.

Police valued the items stolen and sold, which include a 50-inch television and entertainment center, at $20,000. Police said the pair owed the property owners more than $31,000 in past due rent and utility fees, as well.

The two moved out of the home on Dec. 16 and are believed to have left the state, police said.

Before they moved out, the suspects accessed a storage closet containing personal items belonging to the home's owners.

Police said the pair has been suspected of similar thefts in other communities.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Bainbridge police at 842-5211.

This article was originally published in the Bainbridge Island Review on December 21, 2009.
Bainbridge Review can be reached at

Guilty plea to rape


A 29-year-old man is facing five years in prison for raping a teenaged girl at a party in Oak Harbor about three years ago.

As part of a plea bargain, Michael Davis pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court Nov. 16 to rape in the third degree. He was originally charged with second-degree rape.

A sentencing hearing has been set for Jan. 7. Under the terms of the plea bargain, the deputy prosecutor and defense attorney will recommend a five-year prison term, which is the maximum under the standard sentencing range.

Davis was serving time in a Nevada prison when he was charged with the crime in August.

The officer who investigated wrote in her report that the 15-year-old girl was at an Oak Harbor home with Davis and two other people March 18, 2006. The girl passed out from consuming alcohol. She regained consciousness to discover that Davis was having sex with her, but then apparently passed out again.

Davis spoke to the detective and denied that he had sex with the girl, but DNA evidence taken from the girl’s underwear closely matched Davis’ DNA profile.

Davis’ criminal history includes convictions for communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, forgeries and car theft, court documents state.

This article was originally published in the Whidbey News Times on December 22, 2009.
Jessie Stensland can be reached at

Undisguised robber flees Chase Bank in Kingsgate after holding up teller with knife


Police are searching for an armed suspect who in plain view robbed the Chase Bank in the Kingsgate neighborhood Monday and fled on foot.

Making no attempt to hide his face, the suspect passed a demand note to the bank teller and showed that he was armed with a knife at 12:40 p.m. Monday.

According to Mike Mellis, a King County Sheriff's Office detective, the suspect "demanded a certain amount of money that we usually don't see and designated a certain amount of time that he promised to pay it back in."

He received an undisclosed amount of cash from a single teller drawer and fled on foot. No get-away vehicle was seen, King County officials said.

The suspect is described as a white male in his mid-40s or older, approximately 6 feet tall and thin to medium build.

Please contact 911 or King County Sheriff's Office dispatch at 206-296-3311 with information regarding this suspect’s identity.

Earlier this year, the same Chase Bank, located at 14400 124th Ave. N.E., was robbed on four separate occasions.

"That guy was caught and is currently in jail awaiting disposition of his case," Mellis said, noting the suspect in custody is believed to be responsible for all four robberies. In Monday's robbery, he said the suspect "is just another guy doing what they all seem to do."

This article was originally published in the Kirkland Reporter on December 22, 2009.
Carrie Wood can be reached at

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mom involved in Little League dispute sentenced


The Kirkland mom, Jodi Scheffler, who was arrested for allegedly assaulting a 12-year-old boy following a Kirkland Little League baseball game last May had charges reduced to disorderly conduct Nov. 24. As a result, Scheffler's sentence was deferred to one year probation and she was ordered to attend anger management counseling. Scheffler was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $300 within 90 days to the mother of the boy, Michelle McLaughlin, who has since moved to Redmond. Scheffler also had to write a letter of apology to the boy and pay $513 in court fees and fines.

The judgement brings to a close one of the most ugly incidents in the Kirkland American Little League's history and an event that gripped the nation earlier this summer.

Scheffler, 41, was arrested and booked at the Kirkland Police Department for fourth-degree assault of a child after the alleged assault that took place following a baseball game at Everest Park on May 2.

Witnesses said that Scheffler's son mouthed off to one of the coaches and was told to sit out the rest of the game.

After the game, Scheffler allegedly approached a 12-year-old boy on the opposing team and his brother when she noticed they were taunting her son, according to police documents. The squabble then escalated as Scheffler called the 12-year-old "white trash" and told him to "shut his mouth," grabbing his chin and shoving him backwards, the boy told police.

The boy told police Scheffler "hurt him" and he was "scared she was going to slap him."

This article was originally published in the Kirkland Reporter on December 4, 2009.
Matt Phelps can be reached at

Monday, December 7, 2009

26-year-old man dies of gunshot wounds


A 26-year-old man died of wounds Friday suffered early in the morning in the 4200 block of Southeast Third Street, according to media reports.

Renton Police officers responded to a report of a fight involving gunshots at about 1:16 a.m., according to Renton Police Commander Floyd Eldridge. Suspects had fled the area in a vehicle and three male subjects in their mid 20s were taken into custody a short distance from the scene.

Witnesses indicated that a fight broke out in the front yard of a residence and as the three men were leaving, one of them fired a handgun from the vehicle striking the victim, according to Eldridge. Police, fire and medics were called to the scene.

The 26-year-old male with a gunshot wound to the abdomen was transported to Harborview Medical Center with life threatening injuries. The Renton Police Department Investigations Division is continuing to investigate this incident.

This article was originally published in the Renton Reporter on December 4, 2009.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Former Kirkland Mayor's son, daughter-in-law killed in car accident


The son and daughter-in-law of former Kirkland Mayor Bill Woods were killed Sunday when the car they were in was struck by a drunk driver on Highway 9 in Marysville. Tom (57) and Hilda Woods (62) were with neighbors Melissa (48) and Brad Agerup (54) in their Hyundai Azera when a 2005 Ford Explorer going an estimated 40 mph ran a stop sign near the intersection of 108th Street Northeast and Highway 9, striking the vehicle. All of the occupants in the Azera were killed on impact and were residents of Snohomish.

The Woods also leave behind three grown daughters and two grand-children. The two couples were returning home after visiting the Silver Reef Casino in Whatcom County.

The driver of the Explorer has been identified as Matthew C. McDonald, 27, of Snohomish. The man admitted to police on the scene that he had consumed eight beers and submitted to a breath sample that yielded a blood-alcohol level of 0.123 percent. He is being investigated for four felony charges including vehicular homicide. McDonald initially fled the scene of the accident but returned a short time later. The legal limit is 0.08 percent. McDonald was initially taken to Providence Everett Regional Medical Center for minor injuries but then booked into Snohomish County Jail for investigation of four felony charges. A judge set his bail at $1 million on Monday.

A passenger in the Ford Explorer was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

McDonald was not the only person at the scene arrested for DUI. A 48-year-old investigator with the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office showed up to the scene of the crash smelling of alcohol.

This article was originally published in the Kirkland Reporter on December 2, 2009.
Matt Phelps can be reached at

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Police hunting man who doused Bainbridge mother and son with gasoline and threatened to set them on fire


A California man remains at large this morning after fleeing from a Bainbridge Island home where he attempted to light on fire the bed of a woman and her son early Sunday morning.

Bainbridge Police Lt. Sue Shultz said Monday that law enforcement officers continue to search for Edward Mark Olsen, 49, who is being sought on charges of attempted murder and residential burglary after entering the home of a 39-year-old woman at John Adams Lane and Wyatt Way at around 4:30 a.m. Sunday. Schultz said Olsen is believed to have relatives living in Kitsap County.

According to police, the victims awoke to Olsen, the woman's ex-boyfriend, pouring gasoline on their bed and threatening to ignite the fuel with a lighter he held. The woman and her 12-year-old son fled the apartment to a nearby apartment complex and called police. The suspect fled before officers arrived, police said, but left the gasoline container and lighter at the scene.

Shultz said the woman and her son were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and have been moved to an undisclosed location.

A police press release said Olsen had broken into the victim's vehicle and used the garage door opener to enter the residence.

Shultz said Olsen had a lengthy criminal record in California, including spending two years in prison for being convicted of "threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize." After his release, he faced charges of parole violation and also served time for assaulting the victim, according to Shultz. Olsen was released from prison in October 2009.

Police said Olsen, who is a wanted parolee at large from California, located the victim on Bainbridge Island and assaulted her two weeks ago at her home. The victim did not report this assault because of her fear of Olsen, who continued to contact and threaten the victim, police said.

Olsen is described as 5 feet 11 inches tall, 210 pounds, with short gray hair and a mustache.

Shultz said Olsen should be considered a threat to the community and anyone knowing of his whereabouts should call 9-1-1 immediately.

This article was originally published in the Bainbridge Island Review on November 30, 2009.
Bainbridge Review can be reached at

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Coach who raped player avoids prison


Island County Chief Criminal Deputy Colleen Kenimond was very disappointed that a former North Whidbey soccer club coach who raped a teen player won’t be going to prison.

Jeovanni Camacho, Jr., a 34-year-old Oak Harbor resident, pleaded guilty in Island County Superior Court Sept. 28 to three counts of child rape in the third degree.

At a hearing Wednesday morning, Judge Alan Hancock allowed Camacho to be sentenced under the state’s Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative, also known as a SSOSA, which allows first-time offenders to avoid prison by going through sex offender therapy.

A SSOSA is a complicated process. Hancock sentenced Camacho to five years in prison, but suspended all but a year of the sentence. That means he’ll spend a year in the county jail.

Afterward, Camacho will have to complete a three-year sexual deviancy treatment program. If he doesn’t comply with treatment or a long list of other conditions, Camacho could be sent to prison for the remainder of the suspended sentence.

At the sentencing hearing, Kenimond recommended that Camacho received the maximum sentence of five years in prison, which she felt was lenient. On the other hand, the Department of Corrections and the victim felt that a SSOSA is appropriate.

Kenimond wasn’t pleased that the judge agreed with the more lenient recommendations.

“It wasn’t just the child, he violated the community. He was a soccer coach,” Kenimond said in an interview after the hearing. “Where are our girls safe?”

Kenimond pointed out that Camacho admitted to the Department of Corrections that he had sex with the girl “more than 50 but less than 100 times” during a year-long period, beginning when she was just 14 years old. Camacho was the girl’s soccer coach and became a friend of the family.

Community Corrections Officer Helen Desmond completed a pre-sentence investigation after Camacho pleaded guilty to the three counts. The reports states that Camacho started having sex with the girl in March of 2006, unbeknownst to her parents. He sneaked into her room at night, picked her up from summer school to have sex with her and even raped her when she was supposed to be at her high school homecoming.

The girl’s parents and therapist tried to stop her contact with Camacho, but he bought her a cell phone and continued to sneak into her room.

The affidavit of probable cause states that the girl was initially reluctant to talk to police about the abuse, but she realized the inappropriateness of Camacho’s behavior after going through in-patient treatment out of state.

Camacho said he fell in love with the girl and even asked her to marry him, Desmond wrote in her report.

Camacho also admitted to viewing child pornography on two occasions, the report states.

The victim, who is now 18 years old, traveled all the way from California to speak at the sentencing hearing.

According to Kenimond, the girl repeated that she has a hard time not blaming herself for what happened. She asked the judge to order Camacho to undergo treatment in lieu of a long prison term.

This article was originally published in the Whidbey News Times on November 27, 2009.
Jessie Stensland can be reached at

First Hill slaying victim was hip-hop artis


The victim in a deadly Friday night shooting on Seattle's First Hill was identified by family members as Max Gasoi, a 21-year-old founder of an indie hip-hop music label.

Police said Gasoi was found shot on the street less than a block from St. James Cathedral, in the 800 block of Ninth Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Friends and family said Gasoi was a local hip-hop artist who had started his own label, So Hood Records, and had received his business license only a few days ago.

Friends said Gasoi and others had recorded an album that is slated for release next month.

He also was the father of a 5 1/2-month-old baby girl, Kiyomi.

Police and medics responded to the shooting scene at about 9 p.m. Friday, where they found Gasoi lying in the street.

Witnesses on the scene said they heard several shots - possibly three - being fired.

"I heard like a firecracker or a gunshot, about three times," said Normita Smith. "And I looked and I said, "Oh baby, someone got shot."

Police cordoned off a black Nissan Maxima parked near the body, but its involvement in the shooting was not immediately clear.

With guns drawn, investigators began a search of the area for the gunman, who remains on the loose. A description was not available.

The circumstances surrounding the shooting were not immediately clear, but police are calling the incident a homicide. Detectives are interviewing witnesses and canvassing the scene for additional clues.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Law enforcement protests county cuts


Island County commissioners spread the pain around in identifying preliminary budget cuts this week to solve a $1.2 million deficit, but now they are taking heat from law-and-justice officials.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown has taken the fight to the people with an open letter to the citizens.

“I am convinced that our county commissioners have been unable to realize what our citizens and my employees already know; law and justice are the most essential functions of government which is mandated by law and should not be competing for funding with non-mandated entities or organizations,” Brown wrote.

Nevertheless, it appears that the sheriff will be able to avoid laying off deputies.

Nearly all of the county departments that receive current expense funds, except the jail and the smallest departments with nothing much left to reduce, were hit with cuts under the proposal. The majority of departments were cut by 4 percent, while most law-and-justice departments were hit with 4.5 percent reductions.

The arguments over the budget problems have centered on the issue of mandated versus non-mandated services. Services such as law enforcement and tax collection are considered mandated under state law, while programs like parks, senior services and WSU Extension are more discretionary. Some officials feel that the county has no business funding the non-mandated programs at the expense of core services during tough economic times.

On the other side, the commissioners have made large cuts in most of the non-mandated programs, but they refused to do away with their support altogether in order to protect the most vulnerable and the long-term quality of life in the county.

The sheriff’s office, the prosecutor and the patrol deputies’ guild reacted Wednesday to the budget reductions with statements criticizing the decision.

“The board has clearly expressed its preference for using taxes to fund non-governmental functions over those that can only be performed by government,” Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks wrote.

Then on Thursday, the county commissioners responded with a press release defending the budget.
“Looking back at what will soon be a total of $5.2 million worth of cuts over two years, the county has protected public safety and law enforcement, which, to this point, was cut the least,” the commissioners wrote.

In an interview, Dean said the sheriff, prosecutor, courts and juvenile courts were hit with 4.5 percent reductions this time around because they were cut the least in two other rounds of budgeting chopping in the last year. County funding to WSU Extension, for example, was cut in half. Including the current reductions, the commissioners will have cut a total of $5.2 million from the $22 million current expense budget over the last year because of the recessionary impacts.

Before cutting, the commissioners halved the $1.2 million deficit by using $200,000 in reserve funds, changing to an accounting method that reimburses the general fund at a high level, and transferring an additional $100,000 in road funds to the sheriff’s office.

The remaining $630,000 deficit will have to come from cuts. The reductions could mean up to 15 full-time positions would be lost countywide if officials balance the books solely in slashing wages and benefits.

“I’m pretty certain we are going to get around cutting that many people,” Dean said.

While most departments are facing a 4 or 4.5 percent cut, three funds were reduced by much more. The contracted animal control officers and the animal shelters run by Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation were cut by 10 percent. Senior services was cut by 12 percent. The fund for the impaired driving panels was reduced by 60 percent.

In response to the sheriff’s letter, Dean said he’s confident the budget reduction won’t affect the safety of residents.

“I’m 99 percent sure the sheriff will come up with a way that will avoid cutting deputies,” he said. “The sheriff is a genius at finding ways to make it work.

Indeed, Brown agreed Thursday that he should be able find a way to cut expenses without laying off deputies. The 4.5 percent reduction in the sheriff’s department was only applied to the cost of salary and benefits, which amounts to $188,500. The jail avoided any reductions at all.

But while deputies may not face layoffs, Undersheriff Kelly Mauck said one idea under consideration is to cut the Dave Hollet’s position as director of emergency management, which is within the sheriff’s office. A deputy could take on his responsibilities.

Also, Mauck said they may reduce the staff in the records and civil division, as well as controlling costs for overtime and gas.

“It’s better to let paperwork pile up then to slow down a deputy’s response to 911 calls,” he said.

Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks said his department is penciled in to lose $58,000. He said he may ultimately have to lay off a deputy prosecutor, though he has a six-month “grace period” before a cut must be made because a federal stimulus grant funds a position.

Banks and Brown were among the six elected officials who presented the commissioners with a letter demanding that they take certain actions to balance the budget, including cutting funds to all non-mandated services first. Dean said the letter didn’t fall on deaf ears, but he felt couldn’t slash Meals For Wheels and such programs that offer a lifeline to the most vulnerable.

“As a draft, I think this is the most responsible thing we can do ...” he said. “This is the best we can do. I think this holds us together.

But the law and justice officials argued that he’s missing the point. Simply put, Mauck said the non-mandated programs won’t go away if the county funding is stripped. The programs have other sources of funding and options for generating more revenues. While the commissioners cut the county’s contribution to senior services by 12 percent, it’s only an overall 2.4 percent reduction to the agency’s bottom line.

“We know that this is not easy for the non-governmental groups and the holders of the private contracts. The bottom line is we need to get back to the basics and provide the core services that are required by law,” Darren Crownover, president of the patrol deputy’s guild, wrote in a letter to the commissioners.

Though the preliminary cuts have been made, the discussion is sure to continue. A meeting to discuss the budget with county employees is set for 4:45 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 30.

This article was originally published in the Whidbey News Times on November 20, 2009.
Jessie Stensland can be reached at

Three stabbed in downtown altercation


Three men were stabbed Friday night in downtown Seattle by a man who reportedly told them, "You messed with the wrong (expletive)."

Police responded to the scene, at Third Avenue and Spring Street, at about 8:50 p.m., where they found a man with a stab wound to the abdomen. The other two victims had fled.

The stabbing victim was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment. He would provide no information to officers.

Eventually the two other stabbing victims showed up at Harborview and said they had been stabbed in the same area as the first victim. One of those two victims claimed all three victims had been together when they were assaulted.

Gang unit detectives questioned the men and learned that two of the victims were suspected gang members.

But on further investigation, detectives said this was not likely a gang-related incident. Instead it appeared that the three victims may have confronted a man who felt the need to defend himself.

One witness claimed the man with the knife shouted, "You messed with the wrong (expletive)," during the attack.

A search of the area turned up no trace of the knife-wielding suspect.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Three shot near SoDo nightclub

Three people were shot early this morning near a night club on First Avenue South.

By Susan Gilmore

Seattle Times staff reporter

Three people were shot early this morning near a night club on First Avenue South.

According to Seattle Police, officers responded about 1:45 a.m. to numerous calls of shots fired behind the 1900 block of First Avenue South in the Sodo area. Dozens of cars and people were fleeing as the callers were talking to the 911 operators.

When officers arrived, witnesses pointed out two vehicles they said were possibly involved. Two people were arrested for warrants and weapons violations, but it appeared neither were involved in the shootings, said police.

Three victims showed up at Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. One man was shot in the leg and groin, one man was grazed on the neck and a woman was shot in the jaw. All of them appear to also be uninvolved bystanders and didn't see who shot them.

A number of casing, three different calibers, were recovered from the intersection of Walker and Occidental Streets. Police said windows to local businesses and parked cars were broken.

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or

Methamphetamine shuts down another Oak Harbor business


The Island County Health Department temporarily closed down the Acorn Motor Inn in Oak Harbor Tuesday after testing showed methamphetamine contamination in a room and hallways.

The motel is the fourth business in the Oak Harbor area that have been shut down and posted with “unfit for use” orders over the last year because of meth contamination.

Carl Seim, drug enforcement officer at the Oak Harbor Police Department, said investigators had reason to believe there might be meth contamination in the motel after conducting controlled buys of the illegal drug. A confidential informant notified police that people were smoking meth inside rooms.

“Our main concern was public safety,” Seim said. “We were concerned about unsuspecting adults, and especially adults with children, who are renting rooms in the place.

Seim explained that the Oak Harbor police rented a room in the motel two weeks ago. They asked employees at the county health department to take swabs on surfaces in room 222 to check for residue from the drug.

Health Department Director Keith Higman said employees also were able to take swabs in hallway areas, which are open to the public. The department has a grant to fund testing for meth contamination of buildings and automobiles.

Laboratory results confirmed contamination in excess of the state methamphetamine cleanup level of 0.1 micrograms per 100 square centimeters in all areas tested.

Lt. John Dyer with the Oak Harbor Police said officers helped health department employees post the “unfit for use” order and evacuated the building without any problems.

Guanlin Wang, the owner of the motel, will have to go through the expensive process of getting the building decontaminated by a certified cleanup specialist. He could not be reached for comment.

The first step, Higman said, is for the contractor to create a written work plan to reduce the contamination. After the work is completed, the health department may require additional testing to verify that the contamination is below the state standard. The property owner must pay for all the work.

Higman said the laws regarding meth contamination were originally drafted to deal with the hazards associated with clandestine labs. But health officials have learned in recent years that serious contamination can also result from meth smoke or incidental contact from meth users.

According to the “unfit for use” order, exposure to meth may cause symptoms similar to those experienced by meth users.

“Methamphetamine use or exposure can cause periods of high energy, rapid speech and breathing, increased body temperature, and increased blood pressure,” the order states.

In the last year, the county health department shut down three other businesses because of meth residue. The Island County Sheriff’s Office raided a North Whidbey car dealership in March and seized a large amount of meth. Environmental health specialists discovered the contamination after testing the O&J Sales office and several cars. The business is now closed.

Two neighboring businesses were also affected by the alleged meth use associated with the car lot. The health department temporarily shut a dance studio and a thrift store for cleaning because testing revealed contamination. The residue came into the businesses through a ventilation system from an attached unit used by employees of the car lot.

In regard to the Acorn Motor Inn, Seim said police officers have heard rumors about meth dealing at the motel for a long time, but they never had any proof until recently. He hypothesized that the inexpensive motel at the corner of Highway 20 and Barrington Drive may have been popular with drug dealers because a side door allowed people to come and go anonymously.

The controlled buys of meth at the Acorn Motor Inn led to the arrest of 23-year-old Michael “Cupcake” Koepke on suspicion of possession of meth with intent to deliver. The investigation was a joint effort between the police and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Seim alleged that Koepke was one of the biggest meth dealers on the island.

This article was originally published in the Whidbey News Times on November 13, 2009.
Jessie Stensland can be reached at

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Suspected drunk driver in head-on collision


Posted on November 12, 2009 at 10:25 AM

AUBURN, Wash. – State troopers believe an Idaho man may have been drunk when he collided head-on with a car on State Route 18, sending that driver to the hospital early Thursday morning.

The Washington State Patrol says at about 3:15 a.m., a 2001 Toyota Tacoma was being driven erratically on northbound Interstate 5 near Federal Way. A witness followed the truck as it exited onto SR 18 and then onto Weyerhaeuser Way.

Troopers say the pickup then got back onto SR 18, but was headed eastbound in the westbound lanes, headed down Peasley Canyon toward Auburn. The truck collided head-on with a 1993 Subaru Legacy, driven by a 42-year-old Auburn man.

Both drivers were taken to Harborview Medical Center. The Subaru driver had serious injuries. The driver of the Toyota, a 25-year-old Soda Springs, Idaho man, had minor injuries.

The pickup driver is being investigated for vehicular assault. Alcohol is believed to be a factor in the collision.

All lanes of westbound SR 18 were closed at the scene for about two hours while troopers investigated. Both vehicles were crushed in the accident.

Bellevue woman accused of raping daughter's boyfriend


BELLEVUE -- Police here have arrested a woman for allegedly raping her daughter's 14-year-old boyfriend.

The 32-year-old woman, who was arrested Thursday at her home for investigation of second-degree child rape, has not been charged.

Police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate said the crime allegedly occurred at the woman's home and was brought to the attention of police last month by state Child Protective Services workers.

Details of the alleged crime and CPS case were not available.

Investigators expect to send the case to the King County Prosecutor's Office later this week, Iafrate said.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Kent police identify shooting victim as Lt. Gov. Brad Owen's son


The Kent Police Department confirmed the victim in a shooting incident in Kent is 37-year-old Mark Owen, son of Lt. Gov. Brad Owen.

Mark Owen is listed in satisfactory condition at Harborview Medical Center.

The 63-year-old suspect, a manager at Kent Body and Paint located at 831 5th Av. S., where the shooting occurred, is also at Harborview after turning the firearm on himself.

According to a Kent Police Department statement, the man is alive, but has life-threatening injuries.

The released also stated Lt. Gov. Owen has been fully cooperative with the investigation and is at Harborview with his son.

Kent Police Chief Steve Strachan stated in the release, “Although there is never any reason or logic for violence in the work place, we are diligently investigating the circumstances that led up to this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Lt. Gov. Owen and his family at this very difficult time."

An earlier release from the department stated the shooting occurred at 2:30 p.m. today.

When officers arrived at the scene they found Mark Owen with a gunshot injury to the arm and abdomen.
Officers found the 63-year-old man about one block away. According to the release the man had shot himself in the head.

Both suspects were treated at the scene by the Kent Fire Department emergency medical personnel and transported to Harborview Medical Center.

This article was originally published in the Covington Reporter on November 9, 2009.
Dennis Box can be reached at

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Crooks posing as cops rape fast-food worker


TACOMA. -- Crooks who have masqueraded as police officers and kidnapped and robbed fast-food restaurant managers in the past month struck again Sunday, but this time, police say they've elevated their crimes to rape.

A Lakewood Wendy's Restaurant employee was on her way home from work around 2:20 a.m. Sunday when she was pulled over by a vehicle with red-and-blue flashing lights, said Lauren Wallin with the Pierce County Sheriff's Office's CrimeStoppers program.

Two armed robbers handcuffed her boyfriend and placed him in the trunk of his car, then demanded her keys to the restaurant.

The woman didn't have keys to the restaurant, and after realizing this, the robbers took the victim into a fenced, wooded area in the 1900 block of East 56th Street in Tacoma and raped her, Wallin said.

The rape victim, whom KOMO News has chosen not to identify, said the thieves then "told me if I say anything, they are going to hurt me and my family."

"And that's scary. They know where I work, they know where I live," she said. "Just scared to know that there are people like this out there. I didn't do anything. I don't even know who they are."

The victim said she doesn't understand why the thieves followed her instead of robbing her at work.

"Why would they do that? Why would they go that far? If they really needed money, they could have gotten me right then and there," she said.

But that's not the way these thieves work, according to investigators. Sunday's incident was the fourth time the robbers have struck in a similar manner in the past month.

In all incidents, restaurant managers in Pierce County were pulled over by a vehicle with red-and-blue flashing lights shortly after closing and leaving their restaurant. Two unidentified suspects wearing bandannas over their faces then approached the victims' vehicle, flashed guns and handcuffed the victim.

In the previous three incidents, one of the robbers drove the victim back to the restaurant and forced the victim, at gunpoint, to unlock the doors, open the safe and hand over the cash.

Another robber then picked up the first suspect in a getaway car, detectives believe.

The previous three kidnapping/robberies occurred:

* 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, Burger King on Mountain Highway in Graham.
* 3:15 a.m. Friday, Oct. 23, Wendy's on Hosmer Street in Tacoma (attempted robbery)
* 12:40 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5, McDonald's on Steilacoom Boulevard in Lakewood

"The robberies are bad enough. It's scary for everyone involved fortunately they haven't turned deadly," said Tacoma Police Det. Mark Fulghum.

The men have used vehicles described as a dark, newer SUV and an older black Honda with tinted windows, with red-and-blue lights on the dashboard.

During the robberies, the pair have been wearing dark hooded sweatshirts, dark hats, bandannas and gloves, and have been armed with handguns.

The kidnappings and robberies are being investigated by the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, Lakewood Police and Tacoma Police.

A reward of $1,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest and charges filed for the robbers in this case. To contact police, call 253- 591-5959. All callers will remain anonymous.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Male prostitute testifies judge paid him to have sex


(Editor's Note: This story contains explicit material.)

TACOMA -- A young, self-admitted prostitute testified Monday that he was paid to have sex with a Tacoma attorney who has since been elected a Pierce County superior court judge.

Michael Hecht is charged with soliciting a prostitute and making a death threat.

The judge and his attorney have stated there are good reasons why Hecht was driving around Antique Row -- he was an antique lover. But Joseph Pfeiffer testifiedthe reason Hecht drove around was to have sex.

Pfeiffer is one of two star witnesses for the government, and the fate of Hecht rests on whether the jury believes Pfeiffer when he says he was paid to have sex with Hecht 8-10 times.

Pfeiffer says he would hang out on Antique Row and Hecht would come and pick him up in his car. He claims the two would go to a law office in north Tacoma where they would have sex after business hours.

"As you sit here today, do you remember what sex acts occurred that first time you were with the defendant at his law office?" the prosecutor asked Pfeiffer.

"Masturbation and oral," Pfeiffer replied, adding they would do both acts to each other.

Pfeiffer says he was with Hecht as the two went looking for Joseph Hesketh, another male prostitute who claims Hecht made a death threat against him. But in court Monday, Pfeiffer didn't mention the death threat, saying only that Hecht was angry.

Pfeiffer says at one time, he changed his story to say the sex wasn't for money, but now says that was a lie. The state hopes to wrap up its side of the trial Tuesday, when it's Judge Hecht's turn to present a defense.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Man arrested in hammer attack


Authorities have arrested the man accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend's house and attacking her with a hammer.

King County Sheriff spokesman John Urquhart said Milord Gelin was arrested while boarding a Greyhound bus in Eugene, Ore.

Gelin, 33, is accused of breaking into the home of 41-year-old Laurie Williams around 3:30 a.m. Monday and beating her with a hammer while she was sleeping.

Two neighbors called 911 after hearing her screams for help, Urquhart said.

The suspect allegedly stole the woman's SUV and was gone before deputies arrived at the Kirkland home.

Williams was taken to Evergreen Medical Center to be treated for severe injuries.

"She's very bruised. She's on heavy sedation," said Joe Bryant, the victim's brother-in-law.

Family members said Williams ended a 3-year relationship with Gelin a few months ago.

"My sister-in-law had just purchased a new home, a home he was not a part of," said Bryant. "And it was that nice new home that she hasn't even had a housewarming for that he broke into and tried to murder her this morning."

Gelin and Williams lived together in a house near the Big Finn Hill neighborhood last year. Former neighbors said the two were a solid couple who showed no signs of problems.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Man arrested in hammer attack


Authorities have arrested the man accused of breaking into his ex-girlfriend's house and attacking her with a hammer.

King County Sheriff spokesman John Urquhart said Milord Gelin was arrested while boarding a Greyhound bus in Eugene, Ore.

Gelin, 33, is accused of breaking into the home of 41-year-old Laurie Williams around 3:30 a.m. Monday and beating her with a hammer while she was sleeping.

Two neighbors called 911 after hearing her screams for help, Urquhart said.

The suspect allegedly stole the woman's SUV and was gone before deputies arrived at the Kirkland home.

Williams was taken to Evergreen Medical Center to be treated for severe injuries.

"She's very bruised. She's on heavy sedation," said Joe Bryant, the victim's brother-in-law.

Family members said Williams ended a 3-year relationship with Gelin a few months ago.

"My sister-in-law had just purchased a new home, a home he was not a part of," said Bryant. "And it was that nice new home that she hasn't even had a housewarming for that he broke into and tried to murder her this morning."

Gelin and Williams lived together in a house near the Big Finn Hill neighborhood last year. Former neighbors said the two were a solid couple who showed no signs of problems.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Men want out of selling magazines, get beat with baseball bats, golf clubs


TACOMA -- A meeting of magazine salesman at a hotel room on Monday night ended with two in the hospital and six others in jail.

Investigators say trouble began after the group gathered at a room at the Best Night Inn in Tacoma.

When two of the men announced they wanted out of the magazine-selling operation, they were beaten with baseball bats and golf clubs.

The attackers ran off, but just blocks away, police stopped a white SUV that didn't have its headlights on.

Police grew suspicious when one of the men inside the car lied about his name. When officers found that same person was armed with brass knuckles and a gun, all six men in the car were taken into custody.

What's more, the state Attorney General's Office says the men were not selling magazines.

Order forms for a company called Fresh Start Opportunities were found in the hotel room. Just a few weeks ago, the attorney general issued a second warning about a door-to-door scam involving a company by that name.

Fresh Start claims to give young adults a fresh start on life with the money consumers pay for magazine subscriptions. But people across the country reported getting no magazines for their donations ranging from $50 and $800.

The two victims' conditions were not known. The six men who were arrested have been booked into the Pierce County Jail.

Monday, October 12, 2009

'River Rat' robber trapped, jailed


A man suspected of being the notorious "River Rat Bandit," who has committed at least 18 armed robberies from Oregon to the Puget Sound, was arrested in Pierce County after he was identified through a fingerprint, police said.

An accomplice also was arrested in Portland, Ore., after he was implicated by the suspected bandit.

The River Rat Bandit is believed to be responsible for at least 18 armed robberies of banks and check-cashing businesses from late July until early October from Portland to Kent, netting an estimated $100,000.

In most of the bank robberies, the robber has displayed a black handgun and demanded cash. In several cases he leaped onto or over the teller counter to reach the money.

Police gave him the "River Rat" name because the robberies have taken place on both sides of the Columbia River. They say he is a 32-year-old Bonney Lake man with ties to the Portland area. His name was not immediately released.

Two of the robberies and one attempted robbery took place in Puyallup.

On Friday, detectives identified a fingerprint from one of the Puyallup robberies and staked out a residence near Bonney Lake that was associated with the suspect.

Surveillance units spotted the suspect at about 7:45 p.m. Friday as he arrived at the residence in a vehicle belonging to his girlfriend.

A Pierce County SWAT team apprehended the suspect on two arrest warrants for three counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery as he was about to leave the residence in a vehicle at about 9:15 p.m.

He was later booked into Pierce County Jail.

During questioning by detectives, the suspected bandit implicated a possible accomplice who lives in the Portland area.

On Saturday afternoon, officers followed the suspected accomplice as he drove from Vancouver to Portland. He was arrested without incident near Northeast 138th and Halsey on an arrest warrant for five counts of robbery.

The suspected accomplice is a 35-year-old Portland man and is currently being held in the Multnomah County Jail.

Joining the Puyallup Police Department in the investigation were the FBI, the Auburn police, the Bonney Lake police, the Clark County Sheriff's Department, the Kent police, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, the Portland Police Bureau, the Puyallup tribal police, the Vancouver police, Metro SWAT team and Pierce County SWAT team.

Monday, October 5, 2009


GRANITE FALLS, -- Dozens of law enforcement officers have converged on a wooded area here where a burglar who shot at deputies is believed to be hiding.
Officials said deputies were called to a home about 8 p.m. Sunday night when a man returning home from vacation found items missing from his house.

While deputies were investigating, the homeowner saw someone in the woods nearby with a flashlight. When deputies went to check it out one gun shot was fired from the woods.

Believing they were under fire, the deputies took cover and called for backup.

Police from multiple departments in Snohomish County, including a SWAT team from Everett, have converged on the area around the home in the 20800 block of Menzel Lake Road.

Officials said the terrain in the area is difficult to search and they are warning people in the area to make sure their doors, windows and cars are locked.

The burglary comes as officials investigate whether the crash of a stolen plane last week in Granite Falls may be the work of Colton Harris-Moore, a notorious burglar who has repeatedly eluded capture.

Officials at the scene of the burglary and shooting said they don't know whether the incident is the work of Harris-Moore.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Everett limits conduct, but not attire of bikini baristas


The Everett City Council has voted to pass a tougher lewd behavior ordinance limiting conduct in public places.

However, the revision passed on Wednesday night does not address attire as some had hoped.

Area neighbors and business owners attended the meeting, hoping to convince the council to do away with bikini barista coffee stands in the wake of recent prostitution charges filed against five baristas at a local stand.

One shop owner even presented the council with home video reportedly taken around lunch time last week at the Grab-N-Go Espresso Stand where five baristas were charged with prostitution last week.

The footage showed young women dancing around, wearing pasties and underwear.

Residents said it's rude and crude behavior that needs to stop.

"Her bare butt is parading right in front of my business," said resident Rhonda Bremond.

The Everett City Council agreed to change its lewd conduct ordinance, saying such conduct should not be allowed in public places.

Many people cheered the move, but said more needs to be done.

"I have a right not to see women bare-breasted, licking whipped cream off each other's breasts and private parts, and men standing up and watching it," said Kris McLeod.

The next step will target what the women wearing, or in some cases, not wearing. Pasties and G-strings could become illegal in a place of business, outside a actual strip club.

Some area residents, especially parents, said they have to go out of their way to avoid driving by a questionable coffee stand.

"I do not walk around my house naked for my boy and their friends to see. And I do not, will not tolerate that in my neighborhood," said Jennifer Lindell.

A growing concern for neighbors is the possible presence of prostitution near their homes, and strange men hanging around the coffee stands.

"This is drifting into my home territory now. I don't want it. I want this to have stricter guidelines. Please protect our children, our neighborhoods," said Michelle Hills.

The city said the revised lewd conduct ordinance will take effect in about three weeks, after the city's legal department and the police figure out exactly how to enforce it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tacoma woman claims rape by armed man in uniform


A Tacoma woman says she was raped by someone who appeared to be a police officer or a security guard after getting pulled over while driving in South Tacoma on Saturday.

The 31-year-old woman said she was pulled over for a traffic stop near the Tacoma Mall some time between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. by a man who was wearing a uniform and carrying a gun.

The man was driving a silver, gray or white vehicle with a light in the window, the victim said.

The woman told detectives the man held her in the car for up to 9 hours and raped her.

On Sunday morning police interviewed the victim at Tacoma General Hospital where exams showed the probability of sexual activity having taken place. Doctors have not yet determined whether the woman had been raped, detectives said.
Police have no suspects in the case, and the investigation is ongoing.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Banker robbery suspect shot by cops dies


A bank robbery suspect Federal Way police officers shot Thursday night has died.

Police spokesman Dave Colglazier said the man died overnight at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Investigators said the shooting occurred while officers were searching for a bank robbery suspect in the 2100 block of South 296th Street.

At around 7:20 p.m. they caught up with the suspect, 24-year-old Joel Crom, who threatened to kill the officers, prompting them to open fire, officials said.

Police said Crom is suspected of robbing a Sterling Savings Bank branch in August.

On August 24, a man walked into the bank at 1700 South 320th Street and handed the teller a note reading, "No alarms or else you die." The man didn't display a weapon and no injuries were reported.

The incident was captured by surveillance cameras, and police later identified the robber as Crom.

The two officers who were involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure during investigation into officer-involved shootings. The two are said to be a 3-year veteran and a 13-year veteran of the force.

Police Commander Christopher Norman said the man was perceived to be "obviously very dangerous" based on "the violence from the prior robbery and the threats he was making towards the officers at the time."

The Auburn Police Department is handling the investigation.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pot growing operation busted near Tiger Mt.

06:48 PM PDT on Wednesday, September 2, 2009


BELLEVUE, Wash. - Law enforcement officers today busted a major marijuana grow operation on Taylor Mountain, which is near Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah Alps.

Initial reports indicated a hiker tracking a bear spotted a plant two weeks ago. The Eastside Narcotics Task Force now says a helicopter spotted two major grows and SWAT team members located a smaller grow on the ground.

About 25,000 plants were harvested. Most of the plants taken were considered mature.

Today officers battled rough terrain, logs, downed trees and thick brush to harvest the plants. One operation was located about 300 yards off the road, and the other about a mile in.

"Often times the area is booby-trapped so we send in a SWAT team first to secure the area and make sure no one's hiding back there that may be armed," said Carla Iafrate, a spokesperson for the Eastside Narcotics Task Force.

Police say the plants were irrigated. A stream runs through the area where they were found.

Police say there is evidence to suggest two to four Mexican nationals are behind the operation.

"We located signs posted on trees and their encampment with the names of Mexican states, presumably their home states," said Iafrate.

They'd set up camp deep in the woods to watch over the crop. But investigators say it doesn't appear anyone's been in the area in about two weeks.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Notorious Kirkland man running for city post


Martin Morgan owes the city $20,000. He's on probation for assault. And he's running for a seat on the Kirkland City Council.

The controversial candidate has a long history with the city he wants to help lead.

Morgan's property is finally up to the city's standards. There are still run-down cars in the back and beer bottles in plain view. But the lot no longer houses any illegal eyesores neighbors can complain about.

"The guy is just a pain in the butt. He hordes and he maintains his property like trash," said neighbor Jess Paddie.

City inspectors say Morgan is the source of a string of ongoing complaints.

At one point, he had more than 11 junk cars and appliances peppering his yard. Two sheds were built on his property without permits.

As a result, Morgan ran up more than $20,000 in fines and eventually went to court to settle with the city.

"Our code enforcement allows us to assess per-day, per-violation fines, and he did accumulate quite a bit," said City spokesperson Marie Stake.

The city says Morgan has until 2016 to pay his fines.

Normally, city code violations are no big deal. But Morgan fought the city every step of the way. And now he's running for city council.

According to his Facebook page, Morgan is running on a platform of no new taxes. But his page mentions nothing about his lawsuits with the city or his conviction for assault, for which he is on probation until after the election.

Paddie says Morgan's assault conviction stemmed from a night when Morgan sprayed Paddie and his wife with a hose, then ran when police arrived.

"They actually chased him into the house and shot him with a Taser," said Paddie.

Morgan did not return KOMO News' calls or e-mails. But he told the Kirkland Reporter he pleaded guilty to assault in order to put the issue behind him. He said he believed the city inspectors had a vendetta against him.

Neighbors say Morgan's yard has improved since June, the same time he entered the council race. But the neighbors say Morgan doesn't have their vote.

"I don't even know who the other lady is, but she's got my vote," Paddie said.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

SWAT team called to save hijacked house


Sharon and Doug Larson were on their way back from the Oregon coast last week when neighbors told them a stranger had hijacked their house.

Neighbors called 911 when James Vanvolkenburg moved into the Larson's home Friday night, claiming the house belonged to him. Police officers who arrived said Vanvolkenburg's name was on the tax records, so they let him stay.

"He's there with this woman and their dog and my belongings, sleeping in my bed," Sharon said.

With help from her sister, Sharon went to the courthouse Monday morning and discovered that Vanvolkenburg may have tried to take advantage a foreclosure proceeding against her house.

Vanvolkenburg allegedly submitted his name six months ago as the taxpayer of record.

The county treasurer's office told her that all Vanvolkenburg did was fill out a form asking for tax statements on the house.

County officials told the Problem Solvers that the little piece of paper does not prove ownership, even if someone lived in a house for years.

"He's had history with the property," Sharon's sister said. "He used to live there years ago. He was evicted by his brother."

Sharon took the papers to the sheriff's office and made one more plea. Deputies promised to arrest Vanvolkenburg for trespassing.

"And maybe we will turn it into burglary if he went into the house and committed another crime there," sheriff spokesman John Urquhart said.

A SWAT team searched the home Monday evening but Vanvolkenburg was not inside. He left behind his dog and two trailers still parked on the property.

Sharon is packing up some of her possessions in case Vanvolkenburg comes back to the house, and the sheriff's office said deputies will be there tomorrow to keep watch while she moves out larger items.

The county said they receive about 21,000 taxpayer change of address requests each year and they've never had anything like this happen before.

Friday, July 10, 2009

30 days for boy who killed woman he mistook for bear


MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – A 15-year-old boy found guilty of second-degree manslaughter for shooting and killing a woman he mistook as a bear will spend 30 days in juvenile detention.

According to investigators, Tyler Kales, who was 14 at the time, was bear hunting with his older brother Aug. 2, 2008 on Sauk Mountain in rural Skagit County, near Rockport.

He says in the fog that shrouded the mountain that day, he mistook 54-year-old Pamela Almli for a bear and fired a shot. The bullet struck her in the head, killing her.

Kales was found guilty last month of second-degree manslaughter. The judge acquitted him of first-degree manslaughter, finding he did not act recklessly However, the judge said firing on an outline in the fog from 150 yards away wasn’t a hunting accident.

“You ignored and broke all the rules handling a gun,” said Gail Blacker, Almli’s sister, at Kales’ sentencing Thursday.

Almli was hiking with a friend on the Sauk Mountain trail when Kales’ bullet hit her.

“Imagine the horror of a friend killed before your eyes,” said Blacker.

Now, Almli's relatives struggle to answer her preschool-age grandkids’ difficult questions about the killing.

“(He) wants to get in his Buzz Lightyear outfit and fly to heaven and bring grandma back,” said Carrie Almli, Pamela’s daughter-in-law.

Kales also spoke before his sentencing.

“I can’t imagine what they go through every day or how they feel,” said Kales, with his voice trembling. “All I want to say is how sorry I am and hope they can forgive me.

In addition to the juvenile detention, Kales will serve 12 months under supervision with counseling and perform 120 hours of community service. Forty of those hours must be spent teaching others about hunter safety.

The shooting compelled some to push for stricter gun laws in Washington state and others wanted new signs at trailheads to warn hikers of the danger. The Department of Fish and Wildlife says neither has happened.

Bear hunting season in most of Western Washington begins again Aug. 1.

Police shoot, kill man in northeast Spokane

Jim Camden / The Spokesman-Review

Spokane Police shot and killed a man after he stabbed an officer this morning in northeast Spokane, witnesses say.

The shooting, shortly before 9 a.m., occurred after police received reports of a man trying to break into one residence, then assaulting a woman after breaking into another residence, where he also stabbed a dog, according to investigators from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department.

The female officer who was stabbed is being treated at a local hospital, and the injured resident was taken to Holy Family Hospital. Investigators have not yet revealed their conditions. SpokAnimal is searching for the dog, a black pit bull, who ran away after being stabbed.

The events occurred over several blocks west-southwest of the Northeast Community Center, said Sgt. Dave Reagan, sheriff’s department spokesman.

The first call to police was from a woman in the 1200 block of East Gordon. She reported that a man with a skateboard was trying to kick in her door but had left without gaining entry.

Several minutes later, police received a report from the 1300 block of East Glass, where a woman said she had been hit by an intruder with a skateboard.

Michael Baesman was asleep in the basement of the house when he heard Tara Tanner, 34, yelling, “Michael, Michael, please come help me. There’s someone in the house.

Baesman said when he got upstairs, a man he had never seen before pulled out a large knife, possibly a butcher or kitchen knife.

The man never said anything, even after Baesman asked what he was doing.

Baesman said he, Tanner and two others who were in the home ran into the fenced backyard.

When they tried to climb the fence, it broke and Tanner fell, cutting her leg, Baesman said.

While she was on the ground, the assailant beat her several times with his skateboard, Baesman said.

A black female pit bull then ran toward the assailant, who stabbed her in the back, according to owner Vince Smith, who is Tanner’s son and was one of the occupants of the house. He said Molly, who has white on her neck and chest, ran away. “I’m just hoping she’s all right,” Smith said.

The assailant then ran about five blocks down Courtland Avenue, just west of Napa, where police tried to stop a man walking down the street carrying a skateboard and a knife, Reagan said.

After the man stabbed the policewoman, officers shot him several times, Baesman said.

Investigators don’t yet know the man’s identity or age.

Details of the series of incidents are still unfolding. “It’s been kind of a crazy event,” Reagan said.

Al Piper, who lives with his wife about two blocks from where police confronted the suspect, said they heard a noise that sounded like firecrackers about 8:30 a.m. “The dogs went wild,” Piper said.

Candy Reichman, who lives across street from where the man was shot, said she was sitting in her living room and talking on the phone when she heard loud noises that she assumed were gunshots.

“I opened my front door and saw the body and hoped it was a Taser” that caused him to be on the ground, Reichman said.

Because it was an officer-involved shooting, Spokane police invoked the protocol that turns over the investigation to the sheriff’s department.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Men allegedly use rope, Buick to drag a bull


Two men are under arrest for using a rope and a Buick to drag a bull along a King County road Sunday afternoon.

Several 911 calls came flooding in around 4:30 from witnesses reporting a 1989 Buick Century was "dragging a cow with a rope" in the 4200 block of S. Star Lake Road near Auburn, said Sgt. John Urquhart with the King County Sheriff's Department.

When deputies arrived, they found the car with a rope around the bull's neck and tied around the car's window frame. The bull was lying flat on its stomach, with all four legs bloodied and spread outward.

Witnesses reported the bull was obviously in distress, strongly resisting as it was pulled down the street causing hoof and leg injuries, until it collapsed where deputies found it, Urquhart said.

The driver, 75-year-old Jonas Arnbrister, and 57-year-old passenger Terrance Neff told deputies they were moving the bull to another pasture and they always used the car-dragging method because "he is stubborn."

The passenger said the bull wasn't hurt and told the deputy, "You have to be like that with cows."

Urquhart says the bull finally stood up, obviously in pain, and was moved to a grassy shoulder.

Investigators determined based on the drag marks, the bull was dragged for about a half mile. They found one streak of blood stretched nearly 20 feet.

The bull was given pain medication and turned over to the Washington State Animal Response Team for safekeeping.

Both men were booked into the King County Jail for investigation of first-degree animal cruelty. Neff is being held on $15,000 bail while Arnbrister is being held on $10,000. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.