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Federal Way says suspects in murders in April, May have been arrested; mayor wants to hire 9 more cops

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell said Friday that he is recommending the city hire nine new police officers amid “an increase in violent drug related crime in the last six months.”

In a separate statement Friday, Police Chief Andy Hwang said he wanted city residents to know that the the suspect or suspects in murders that took place in April and May have been arrested for unrelated  crimes. He did not identify which murders he was talking about.

“We have not released much information – we will continue that practice for a while,” Hwang said. “Nevertheless, I want the people of our community to know that the perpetrator(s) whom we believe are responsible for the previous murders were subsequently arrested for unrelated crimes. When the investigations are developed to the point of viable prosecution, we will release more details.”

In April, Federal Way police found a 19-year-old man, Jeffrey McLaren, shot dead in the parking lot of an apartment complex at on 1st Ave S near SW 330th St.

In May, there were three murders in a 48-hour period -- 26-year-old Alex Kelley was shot and killed while he smoked on a front porch on Campus Drive; 27-year-old Frank Cohens Jr. was found shot to death in his car on 333rd Street; 30-year-old Adam Gutierrez, a Navy veteran, UW student and family man, was shot to death on 356th Street while walking his dog.

At the time, Hwang urged Federal Way residents to stay indoors at night until officers could make arrests.

On Friday, Ferrell said in a news release, "As your mayor, my number one priority is ensuring the safety of our residents. Like much of our region, our city has seen an increase in violent drug related crime in the last six months. I want to make one point perfectly clear. This is unacceptable."

He said he has authorized Hwang to "enhance directed patrols in the most affected areas of our city" and increase "resources on the West side of town."

"As part of our ongoing 2017-18 budget process," Ferrell said, "I will be recommending the addition of nine (9) commissioned police officers and the support staff and equipment necessary to bring our commissioned police officer total to 140 from the current authorized number of 131.  I will be working with the City Council to explore the funding options available to investment in the safety and security of our community."