WEST SEATTLE — Students at West Seattle High School have heard about it too many times before: children targeted by adult predators in a number of West Seattle neighborhoods over the past few months.
Now it’s happened near their school and they are concerned.
“That really scares me and I hope that that wouldn’t happen to someone like me too. That’s really shocking,” student Kara Swanson said.
“Personally it concerns me because I don’t want to be abducted. I mean if they have a weapon, how much could I do,” student Ezra Sarmiento said.
“It’s really scary cause this just happened by the Admiral theater. And that’s just like terrifying. I don’t want to go to a school where that keeps happening,” student Kali Smith said.
The latest incident happened Tuesday at lunch time just across the street from West Seattle High, near the corner of SW Stevens Street and Walnut Avenue Southwest.
The girl told police a man jumped out of the bushes and grabbed her by the arm.
Fortunately she was able to fight the man off and get away.
She ran into the school and administrators called police but by the time they arrived the man was nowhere to be found.
The man is described as a white male in his 30s to 40s, 5’11″ with a medium build and shoulder length brown hair. He was wearing a blue zip-up jacket and black jeans when he attempted to grab the girl, police said.
“I’d like to say they shouldn’t be worried at all but the reality is we have to look at common sense,” Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound Executive Director Myrle Carner said.
There have been five recent incidents in west Seattle involving kids of predators who have attempted to grab or flash youngsters near the Holy Rosary School and the Westside School among others.
So far no children have been abducted or hurt. The best advice to parents is to talk to your kids about what to do if they find themselves in harm’s way.
“Scream, kick, yell, run, do whatever you can to bring attention to the situation and as soon as you can call 911,” Carner said.
Students have heard the warnings before and have taken it all to heart.
“You definitely just got to be aware of what’s going on around you and that’s what I do. I just keep an eye out on everything just make sure no one looks that sketchy,” Sarmiento said.
“I always walk with a big group of friends, because I never want to walk alone around here and I usually always keep all my electronics in my backpacks because I hear there’s a lot of muggings or something happening,” Smith said.
The school sent a letter home to parents alerting them to the incident. The big question tonight; is this incident connected to the others?
We haven’t been able to ask police that question but there are some differences.
Police continue to investigate and ask anyone with information to call 911.