Story Summary

The murder of Seattle’s Ed ‘Tuba Man’ McMichael

On Oct 25, 2008, Ed “The Tuba Man” McMichael –  who played his tuba outside of Seattle sporting events for years — was beaten and robbed by a group of juveniles near 5th Avenue and Mercer Street in Lower Queen Anne. He was treated and released from the hospital, but later died at home. The King County medical examiner ruled his death a homicide.

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(Photo credit: Munchbar)

SEATTLE — The King County Prosecutor’s Office on Friday charged fugitive Ja’Mari Jones, 19, with second-degree murder in the shooting death of a man in the Munchbar in Belleuve on Dec. 24. The suspect is still at large.

Police on Wednesday identified the man who was shot and killed early Monday at the Munchbar in Bellevue as 30-year-old DeShawn Milliken of Seattle.

The Seattle Times reported that  Milliken was a former Garfield High School student-body vice president, a football star and an honor student. The Times said Milliken had a minor part in the 2001 Mardi Gras attacks Pioneer Square and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and rioting. He was given a one-year deferred sentence, according to the Times.

Late Monday, police issued an arrest warrant for the man suspected of the shooting,  Jones, who was convicted of killing Seattle’s “Tuba Man” in 2008.  He was described as a 5-foot-8, 140-pound black man who was driving a white Nissan Maxima with a Washington state license plate AHZ1672.

Jones was 16 in 2008 when he and two other teenagers beat to death Ed “Tuba Man” McMichael, who was beloved in Seattle for the music he played outside Seattle sporting events and on the streets.  Jones and the two other teens were sentenced to 15 to 36 weeks in juvenile detention.

Meanwhile, the state Liquor Control Board spokesman confirmed the board will investigate the circumstances that would have allowed a minor to get inside the Bellevue bar and that the board had requested all the police reports in the matter.

Just before 1 a.m. Monday, Bellevue police were called to the Munchbar at Bellevue Square at 505 Bellevue Way for reports of a shooting. Police confirmed that a 30-year old Seattle man was killed.  The other person injured was taken to Overlake Medical Center.

According to the Bellevue Police Department, there was a fight leading up to the shooting. On Monday night, Bellevue police identified Jones as a suspect in the shooting and said a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

“It is believed Jones is armed and dangerous,” a Bellevue police news release said Monday night. “The public should not attempt to contact him; they should call 911.”

Police say about 600 people were inside the bar at the time of the shooting. According to the website tvfishbowl.com, several Seattle Seahawks players were in the bar celebrating their win over the San Francisco 49ers at the time. Defensive End Greg Scruggs tweeted after the incident, saying, “I’m good! Everybody else is good too! Ignorance at its best right there… Smh…”

Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to contact the Bellevue Police Department at (425) 452-4129.

munch1BELLEVUE — A 19-year-old man convicted of killing Seattle’s “Tuba Man” in 2008 was identified by police as the suspect in the fatal shooting early Monday at the Munchbar in Bellevue Square that left one man dead and another person injured.

An arrest warrant was issued for Ja’Mari Alexander Alan Jones, described as a 5-foot-8, 140-pound black man who was driving a white Nissan Maxima with a Washington state license plate AHZ1672.

Jones was 16 in 2008 when he and two other teenagers beat to death Ed “Tuba Man” McMichael, who was beloved in Seattle for the music he played outside Seattle sporting events and on the streets.  Jones and the two other teens were sentenced to 15 to 36 weeks in juvenile detention.

Just before 1 a.m. Monday, Bellevue police were called to the Munchbar at Bellevue Square at 505 Bellevue Way for reports of a shooting. Police confirmed that a 30-year old Seattle man was killed.  The other person injured was taken to Overlake Medical Center.

According to the Bellevue Police Department, there was a fight leading up to the shooting. On Monday night, Bellevue police identified Jones as a suspect in the shooting and said a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

“It is believed Jones is armed and dangerous,” a Bellevue police news release said Monday night. “The public should not attempt to contact him; they should call 911.”

Police say about 600 people were inside the bar at the time of the shooting. According to the website tvfishbowl.com, several Seattle Seahawks players were in the bar celebrating their win over the San Francisco 49ers at the time. Defensive End Greg Scruggs tweeted after the incident, saying, “I’m good! Everybody else is good too! Ignorance at its best right there… Smh…”

Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to contact the Bellevue Police Department at (425) 452-4129.

chambersSEATTLE — A man who was convicted as a juvenile of the 2008 killing of Seattle street musician Ed “Tuba Man” McMichael is back behind bars, this time for allegedly deliberately ramming a woman’s car, the Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

The man, Billy Chambers, 18, was arrested by Seattle police last week after a woman said that he intentionally struck her car. Chambers was charged in King County Superior Court on Tuesday with second-degree assault and hit and run.

Prosecutors allege Chambers struck the woman’s car and ran her off the road because she had filed a police report against him after an earlier car prowl.

Chambers is accused of rear-ending the woman’s car while it was stopped for a traffic light in the Central Area at 23rd Avenue South and South Jackson Street around 3:45 p.m. Thursday. The woman told police that as she tried to drive away, the same car followed in the next lane and swerved toward the passenger side of her car, causing her to leave the roadway and strike a tree, according to charging paperwork. The woman was not hurt.

She told officers that she recognized the driver of the mid-1990s Ford Crown Victoria that hit her, according to charging papers. She said that she had reported him to police about a week earlier after he allegedly broke into her car, according to charging paperwork, the Seattle Times said.

Police located the Crown Victoria parked outside Chambers’ home and were allowed inside. When Chambers was arrested, he told police that he had been sleeping all day and that someone else had been using his car.

Chambers was 15 when he and two other boys were prosecuted in McMichael’s slaying.  He spent about 18 months at Maple Lane School in Centralia in connection with McMichael’s death and an unrelated robbery.

tubaSEATTLE — A 16-year-old who admitted killing Seattle’s “Tuba Man” may have struck again — in a robbery that shares similarities to the attack that left the beloved musician dead on a Seattle street.

The teen served just three months behind bars for the manslaughter case.

Now he has again been charged with second-degree robbery, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, less than a year after being sentenced.

Court documents obtained by the P-I show the alleged robbery in January was similar to the 2008 attack on Edward McMichael, known to generations of Seattle sports fans for playing outside arenas.

Police say the teen’s crime also bears resemblance to another robbery that occurred the same night McMichael was attacked.

The teen was charged with second-degree robbery in that attack, but the charge was amended to the manslaughter case as part of the guilty plea agreement in McMichael’s death.

Police are still on the hunt for the 16-year-old.

Police have not released his photo and Q13 FOX News does not typically name juvenile suspects unless they are charged as adults.

“We don’t believe we have a basis for an adult prosecution,” said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. “However, if he’s convicted we plan on seeking an exceptional sentence above the standard range.”

On Jan. 22, the 16-year-old approached another teenager at the Garfield Teen Life Center and asked him for $5. The victim, 17, said he didn’t have the money and while waiting to have his picture taken for a center identification card was again approached.

The accused youth was with four teens. He again asked for $5, police said.

After the victim repeated that he didn’t have the money, group members checked his pockets and one said, “It feels like you have an iPod or something in your pocket,” according to an incident report.

The group then walked away.

Police say the teens surrounded the victim after he walked outside the Garfield Teen Life Center at 428 23rd Avenue.

“One of them went into (his) pocket and took his MP3 player,” Detective Mikel W. Rideaux wrote in court documents. “Someone else then punched (the victim) in his mouth, and another person took his wallet.”

The teen from the Tuba Man case and the others then ran back into the Teen Life Center, according to police. A staff member there advised the victim to report the incident to police.

In juvenile court, second-degree robbery carries a range of 15 to 36 weeks detention – a range the Legislature set. The other teens have not been arrested charged, but police say the investigation continues.

“We believe this is a serious matter, and we plan on seeking an exceptional sentence above the range,” Donohoe said.

In the Tuba Man case, the teen charged this month was given credit for roughly 24 weeks in custody and spent three months in juvenile detention after sentencing.

“I could have said some really harsh things about how we really felt about what they did,” McMichael’s older brother, Kelsey, said Monday. “But we’re non-violent people. I just kind of said the family was happy that the whole thing was over, and hopefully they would change.”

But obviously one didn’t, he said.

The accused teen was 15-years-old during the Oct. 25, 2008, attack on McMichael, and police say he also robbed another man that night.

In the incident with the other man, police say a group of young men approached and asked for $5 — the same setup as the January incident.

The teen was charged with second-degree robbery for the earlier incident with the man, but that charge was amended to the manslaughter case as part of the plea agreement in McMichael’s death.

Prosecutors had tried to move the earlier robbery case against the teens to King County Superior Court, where they would have been tried as adults and faced much stiffer penalties. A juvenile court judge denied the motion.

Before McMichael’s beating, the group of teens had joined other youths at Seattle Center for a gathering related to a homecoming dance. There, prosecutors assert, they were part of a roving group of teens that set about making mayhem before the attack on McMichael.

McMichael was near a bus stop in the 500 block of Mercer Street when the accused teen and several others started beating him. One punched him so hard, the musician fell and hit his head on the concrete, police said.

They grabbed his wallet, and one pulled a 1979 Sonics NBA World Championship ring — one given to McMichael from a friend — off his left hand.

The 53-year-old was taken to Harborview Medical Center and released to recover at his Vermont Inn apartment, a place packed with Seattle sports memorabilia.

McMichael died of brain trauma the on Nov. 3, 2008.

The teen charged in the most recent robbery case and the two other teens — all 15 during the attack — pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Police and prosecutors asked on several occasions for witnesses to come forward, but found no witnesses willing to testify at trial.

Announcing the teens’ plea in 2009, Satterberg said the sentences were, in his view, “unsatisfactory.”

“But it is the law,” he said at the time. “Without (the teens’) willingness to step forward, this case likely would have remained unsolved.”

In court, Kelsey McMichael asked that the teens receive only the agreed-upon sentencing recommendation: 15 to 36 weeks for the teen now accused in the January case and twice that for the other teens, who were 16 at sentencing.

Told about the recent robbery case and same sentencing guideline, Kelsey McMichael was disappointed.

But perhaps he isn’t surprised. He said prosecutors told the family they expected at least one of the three teens to reoffend.

“It looks to me like Washington is too lenient,” he said.

A native of the Seattle area, Edward McMichael played in the Bellevue Philharmonic and the Cascade Symphony before taking his tuba — and a hard hat or wild Dr. Seuss cap — to the Kingdome in the 1980s.

During games at KeyArena and the University of Washington, McMichael would often be let in to watch and about a half-hour before the contests ended, he’d walk back to the sidewalk and blow a standard, such as “Iron Man” or “Tequila.”

tubaSEATTLE — Three teenage boys who fatally beat a popular Seattle street musician known as “Tuba Man” have been sentenced to juvenile detention.

Two 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old pleaded guilty April 3 to first-degree manslaughter in the death of 53-year-old Ed McMichael, who was beaten Oct. 25, 2008,
during a robbery near Seattle Center and later died of his injuries.

The older teens, who also pleaded guilty in an unreleated robbery, were sentenced Wednesday in King County Juvenile Court to up to 72 weeks in detention. The 15-year-old was sentenced to up to 36 weeks. They will be given credit for about 24 weeks already spent in custody.

McMichael was known for playing his tuba outside Seattle sporting events and Seattle Opera performances.

tubaSEATTLE — Three teenagers pleaded guilty Friday afternoon in the beating death of Edward McMichael. He’s the street musician many Seattle sports fans knew as “Tuba Man”.

The King County Prosecutor’s Office says two 16-year old boys and a 15-year old pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. The 53-year-old McMichael was beaten near 5th Avenue and Mercer Street on Oct. 25, 2008. Nine days later he died from his injuries.

The prosecutor’s office says the 15-year-old that punched “Tuba Man” and ultimately caused his head injuries will spend nine months in juvenile detention, the two 16-year-olds will be locked up 18 months for McMichael’s death and an unrelated robbery.

Prosecutor Dan Satterberg says his office went five months with few leads and witnesses and decided to offer the plea deal in order to bring justice and closure to the case. Satterberg says this was the best his office could do under the circumstances.

“That sentence mandated in juvenile law is in adequate, it is not enough time it is not enough punishment for this crime, but it is the law and it was the option we had to solve this case,” said McMichael.

At McMichael’s old hangout Zeek’s Pizza, friends like Jeff Orton believe the teens got off easy.

“I don’t think it’s enough he was such a great guy, such a staple in Seattle. Everybody knew him and he was beaten to death, I mean he was beaten to death;  he was murdered,” said Orton.

The three will be sentenced in King County Juvenile Court on April 22. The Prosecutor’s Office says McMichael’s brother is expected to be there for it.

tubaSEATTLE — On Nov. 7, 2008, Seattle police arrested a third suspect connected with the homicide investigation involving the death of 53-year-old Ed “the Tuba Man” McMichael.

Police say McMichael was beaten and robbed by a group of juveniles on Oct. 25, 2008, near 5th Avenue and Mercer Street in lower Queen Anne.  He was treated at Harborview Medical Center and later went home. Early Monday, McMichael passed away after suffering head injuries. The King County Medical Examiner has ruled his death a homicide.

The suspect is a 15-year-old boy who was arrested yesterday in Seattle.  He was booked into the Youth Services Center for investigation of homicide. Detectives are still seeking additional suspects.

Meanwhile, Seattle sports and music fans continue to mourn for an iconic figure who loved to play his tuba outside Seahawks, Mariners, and Sonics games.

At McMichael’s favorite eating spot, Zeek’s Pizza on Denny, workers like Sarah Sutton have been grieving for their favorite customer.

“I’ve totally been balling all day yesterday,” said Sutton.

Sutton started a memorial for McMichael, where employees and customers can sign a picture in remembrance of “Tuba Man.”

Manager Daniel Branca says he knew something wasn’t right with McMichael when he came in for Pizza this past weekend.

“Talk to me, how are you? He looked fine physically but his demeanor was much lower that he usually was. He kept grabbing his face like this,” said Branca.

Other Zeek’s employees like Trisha Thompson say she’ll remember the joy that McMichael brought to the restaurant.

“Everybody is really upset. He was here every single day, every day he had a joke, or a big smile,” said Thompson.

For years McMichael played his tuba outside Qwest and Safeco Fields, Key Arena and McCaw Hall. His fans would drop him a bit of money on their way in, or out of a music or sporting event.

McMichael lived at the Vermont Inn. Friend Rony Chesvick called “The Tuba Man” one of a kind.

“He was unique, he was his own person. He was doing the thing that he loved and enjoyed what he did, enjoyed life, enjoyed people,” said Chesvick.

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