by: Natasha Chen Updated:SEATTLE —
Susan Zielinski, a waitress, said she got the news on the Internet. The news was 17-year-old Byron White, a standout Ballard High School football player, was arrested at Sea-Tac Airport where Seattle police said he was about to board an airplane.
"Very, very happy," said Zielinski. "That, wow, it's not even a week and you know it's taken care of."
Zielinski had seen White and two friends moments before the murder, in Baranof Restaurant, where she works. White, she told us, robbed her of the night's take.
Zielinski said she recognized White as the person who robbed her.
"Of course, he doesn't have on the bulky jacket and everything," said Zielinski. And I was like oh, wow, you know, and (to be) so young."
Zielinski said a customer found that night’s guest tickets in the alley behind Baranof Restaurant.
“The detectives came out, and they did this search, said they found some very good evidence,” she said.
The murder of 54-year-old David Peterson for his cellphone sent ripples of anxiety through the Greenwood neighborhood. Rick Brooks, longtime manager at Naked City Brewery and Taphouse, said business owners greeted the news of the arrest with a bit of relief.
"But everybody's still kind of on edge because it just happened," said Brooks. "So now as business owners we have to get together and kind of watch our backs."
Peterson's widow sent KIRO 7 a Facebook message.
"We are so happy" about the arrest, wrote Kimberly Peterson. "What a tragedy for two families: mine and the suspect's family." She added, "I know justice will be served."
Her husband's funeral was held Saturday.
A few friends of Byron White’s posted on Twitter about his arrest. They called White “down to earth” as they described their shock.
One said he was “pretty troubled, but murder is a whole other level.”
A friend of his, who would not speak on camera, said White was from Memphis and had transferred high schools several times.
White’s teammates on the Ballard High School football team said they know him as a talented player who was always upbeat.
“It’s literally like losing a brother. And it hurts,” said James Beckett, a wide receiver and cornerback on the team.
KIRO 7 tried to reach out to their coach, but he was not available Sunday evening.