FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Police are looking for a 27-year-old Kent man who they said triggered an overnight standoff with a SWAT team and the lockdown early Friday of Thomas Jefferson High School near Auburn.
According to the Kent Police Department, officers are continuing their efforts to locate Blake B. Bellecourt with extra patrols and surveillance.
"Because of the danger this man presents to the public, we are asking that anyone with knowledge as to the whereabouts of Blake Bellecourt call 911 immediately," stated Kent Assistant Police Chief Pat Lowery.
Police appeared at all entrances to the school as students arrived, looking for Bellecourt, who was seen on campus. The lockdown was lifted at 7: 55 a.m., the school district said on its website.
It all began at about 6 p.m. on Thursday, when a surveillance team spotted Bellecourt, who is wanted in connection with an ongoing felony investigation, outside a home in the 4800 block of South 288th Street near Federal Way. Additional officers were called and the house was surrounded.
The standoff lasted about eight hours, with police using flash-bang grenades and at one point breaking down a fence to try to get Bellecourt out of the house.
When police entered the home at about 4 a.m. on Friday, officers thought Bellecourt escaped the home sometime before or during the standoff.
When officers allowed the home’s residents to go back into the home and then left the scene, Bellecourt ran out of the house, police said.
Bellecourt was believed to be on or near the school’s campus at 4248 South 288th Street.
School security and police directed arriving students into the gym and school buses were diverted to a nearby middle school, Diane Turner with Federal Way Schools told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News during live coverage.
Kent police said they were scaling back their search after officers spent two hours checking local neighborhoods and businesses without success.
According to police, Bellecourt is wanted regarding a number of incidents. He is the subject of three arrest warrants, which include escape from community custody and assault. He also eluded officers a week ago after fleeing shoplifting at a convenience store. Bellecourt has prior convictions for assault and illegal possession of a firearm.
Police are also hopeful that a friend or family member of the suspect may help in bringing his surrender.