BELLEVUE, Wash. - Bellevue police said at a community meeting Wednesday that officers will be out in force in the city’s Crossroads neighborhood following a “significant” increase in violence there since the beginning of the year.
A murder last week at Goldsmith Park, which is across SR 520 from the Crossroads, prompted the meeting at Stevenson Elementary School, according to police. It was city’s first homicide in three and a half years, police said.
Investigators have not released a motive in the shooting. Police said Wednesday the teen was “riddled” with bullets and shot at close range. No arrests have been made.
"We've seen people terrorizing each other,” said Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett. “I don't want to see another loss of life. Period."
Police said more than 25 gunshots have been fired in the Crossroads neighborhood since January. Officers say they’ve also investigated brazen assaults.
Bellevue police said the same day of the murder last week, someone tried to drag a kid off a Metro bus. A Good Samaritan stepped in to help but the suspects followed the bus in their car.
When officers stopped the suspects’ car, police said the suspects called in their own backup, and two carloads of people showed up, circling police in an attempt to intimidate Bellevue officers.
"We have not experienced that in the 28 years that I've been at Bellevue,” said Assistant Chief of Police – Operations Carl Kleinknecht.
In February, KIRO 7 reported on a standoff with a teen at a house in the Crossroads neighborhood. The teen was wanted not only for a recent assault but also for second-degree rape and second-degree robbery, on top of a parole violation, according to investigators.
Police said they’ve linked people at that house where the standoff occurred with the recent Crossroads violence, that involves a group of about 15 people, including minors and young adults.
"I can’t come straight out and say that it is solely 100-percent solid, affiliated with a gang, but there's strong links to it,” said Mylett.
KIRO 7 spoke with one neighbor surprised to hear about the rise in violence in the area.
"Be aware of your surroundings and if there's something out of place, call it in,” said Betsi Hummer, with the East Bellevue Community Council.
Some neighbors at Wednesday’s meeting were concerned that the increased police presence in the Crossroads neighborhood would lead to racial profiling. Police said the department had a good idea of who’s in the group linked to the recent violence.
"It's not going to be tolerated in this city,” said Mylett. "We'll give the attention to the individuals that want the attention because that's exactly what they're getting, is our attention."
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