Update July 10: Kiro 7 News reported the story during this morning’s news bulletin. Check out their report here.
Update: Officer Tim Wear has informed us that he may have a possible suspect, and is currently investigating. We’ll update with any new information.
Original post: Several My Ballard readers sent us information about an incident at Salmon Bay Park on Monday involving what sounds like a disturbed individual harassing children and adults at the playground.
Here is an account of what happened, emailed to us and several parents by a woman named Holly who was at the park yesterday with her daughter:
I took my 4yr old daughter to Salmon Bay Park earlier this evening. While we were playing on the zip line swing I noticed a young man sitting on a bench (outside of the playground) who seemed to be staring at my daughter. At about 6:15ish she ran over to the play structure. The young man very suddenly ran down the hill, entered the playground, and ran straight for my daughter who was coming down the slide. He had reached out for her when I grabbed her (we were within inches of him at this point) and ran towards the sandbox area. I looked back and he was still standing by the slide and had started to cry.
I told a woman I had been speaking with earlier what had happened and told her I was calling 911. At this point the young man was standing in the middle of the playground just staring at us. The 911 operator asked if I would stay to talk to the police and I said I would try. After about 10 min I called 911 again because it was a rather tense situation and myself and another woman did not feel comfortable staying, leaving the scene, nor walking to our cars. The second 911 operator told me she had received several calls matching the description I had given her. She told me the police were having a very busy night and no one had been dispatched yet.
The young man around this time grabbed at another child, who was riding the zipline swing. That child and his care taker left in the opposite direction. Me and another parent made sure that the few people who were left knew that 911 had been called and that we intended to leave. We escorted each other to our cars (which were luckily parked next to each other). The young man followed us and seemed rather fixated on my daughter. He was not moving very quickly but he was screaming at us to come back and trying to talk to my daughter. By this time everyone had left the playground except one father with his son. I had spoken with him briefly and it seemed like he wanted to stay until the police arrived.
The police arrived on the scene about an hour later (they called me when they got there). The young man and everyone who had witnessed his strange behavior was gone. The police came to interview me and my daughter at our home. I told them that I could not tell if the young man was mentally ill or just very, very high but obviously this is a potentially dangerous situation that everyone should be aware of.
If you were one of the people who called 911 today, please call the police at 206-684-0850, tell them what you saw, and reference incident report #241429 filed by Officer A. Mayzus. Officer Mayzus said he will try to look out for this person to interview him.
The young man looked like he was in his early 20’s, caucasian,with short,sandy blond hair. I believe he had blue eyes. He looked like he had not shaven for a few days and had a scruffy sandy blond beard. He was approximately 5’11” with a thin, muscular build. He was wearing a long-sleeved, blue plaid, button down shirt and gray shorts. He had flip flops on his feet. He did not appear to have a backpack or any personal belonging with him. Please call 911 and if possible reference this incident if you see anyone near the Salmon Bay Playground behaving strangely . His behavior was not at all subtle.
Thank you for reading everyone. Hopefully we will not see this person around the playground again.
North Precinct Officer Tim Wear responded to Holly this morning, telling her there were two other related calls about the same individual. He told her this was “a new person on the scene” and should be considered dangerous. If you see someone matching the above description at the playground, you can contact Officer Wear at firstname.lastname@example.org.