Formerly homeless photographer, 65, attacked and robbed while taking pictures of encampment

Richard Weisgerber's face after first attack

SEATTLE — A 65-year-old man who was formerly homeless was attacked and his camera stolen while taking pictures of a homeless camp. He was then beaten a second time when he saw the suspect days later, a King County prosecuting attorney case summary said.

Richard Lynne Weisgerber, who’s been an amateur photographer for 50 years, uses his hobby as a way to address the homeless situation in Seattle, a Seattle Police report said.

Weisgerber lives near Seattle’s City Hall Park, which is the site of a homeless camp. Until recently, he was homeless himself, and frequently takes pictures of the encampment and then posts them on his Twitter account.

On Apr. 13, Weisgerber was taking pictures of the homeless camp when two men approached him, told him to stop taking pictures, and then tried grabbing the camera from his hands. Weisgerber held on, and as the three men struggled, one man punched the victim in the face so hard he was nearly knocked unconscious, police said.

The men then fled into the camp with Weisgerber’s camera, which was worth an estimated $300.

The victim went home and called Seattle police, who said Weisgerber had a swollen left eye and a bloody left hand from being dragged on the ground. The victim gave a description of the men, and police looked for the suspects, but they were not found.

On Apr. 18, about 10:30 a.m., Weisgerber was walking through City Hall Park when he saw the man who punched and robbed him sitting on a bench, the police report said.

Weisgerber approached the man, but stayed several feet away, and asked him what happened to his camera.

The man told him to go away and then picked up a board and walked toward Weisgerber. Though Weisgerber tried to hurry away, he lost one of his slippers. When he bent over to put it back on, the man hit each of Weisgerber’s legs with the board, court documents said.

Richard Weisgerber's legs after attack

The victim then went home to his apartment and called 911. SPD officers went to the park and detained a man who fit the description given to them by the victim. Another officer then brought Weisgerber to the scene, where he identified the man as the suspect who had just attacked him and was involved in the earlier attack and robbery.

Though police said the suspect refused to provide his name, he was identified by fingerprints as being 49-year-old Michael A. Sedejo, the police report said. He was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of robbery and assault.

Sedejo was charged on Apr. 21 with second-degree robbery and fourth-degree assault.