King County Courthouse closes entrance after multiple attacks happen outside

The Third Avenue entrance to the King County Courthouse closed Tuesday after multiple attacks happened outside, and the Fourth Avenue entrance, which only used to be open part time, will now be the main entryway for people.

"The safety conditions at the Third Avenue entrance to the Courthouse have deteriorated, jeopardizing the public safety of any attempting to enter or leave," an emergency amendment reads. "This Court receives constant reports of assaults committed against litigants, jurors, attorneys, members of the public and employees.

"These safety conditions have the effect of discouraging and denying access and therefore justice to all who would seek it from our Court. It discourages jury service."

The emergency amendment closes the Third Avenue entrance from 7 a.m. on Tuesday through Wednesday, Jan. 1.

With one entryway, people will need to allow for extra time to get inside.

The emergency amendment modifies a May 14 security order for King County Superior Court.

Those with disabilities who are unable to access the other entrances may still use the Third Avenue entrance. The two other entrances -- one on Fourth Avenue and one through the tunnel from the King County Administration Building (which can be entered from Fourth or Fifth avenues ) -- are also accessible by disabled people.

Below is a statement from Council Chair Dembowski on Superior Court's closure of Third Avenue entrance to King County Courthouse:
"I support the Superior Court's decision to take aggressive action to protect the public and our county employees who work in and near the King County Courthouse.  I have fought to secure funding in recent years to keep the Fourth Avenue entrance open, as well as worked to activate and improve safety in City Hall Park.  I have advocated directly to Mayor Durkan to increase the City's police presence around the courthouse.  Unfortunately, security remains a serious concern with inadequate attention and action to date. 
"I am introducing emergency legislation to appropriate necessary funding to support the work and recommendations of the court's proposed courthouse security work group, as well as to immediately enhance safety around the courthouse, and plan for longer-term safety and security improvements to the area."

In late November, KIRO 7 reported on a man suspected of randomly attacking an attorney and bus driver outside the King County Courthouse.

>> Suspect randomly attacks attorney, bus driver outside King County courthouse

In July 2018, three people were assaulted outside the courthouse on the same day.

>> Three assaulted at King County Courthouse on same day

Follow this link to read about other courthouse attacks.

>> KIRO 7's previous coverage of courthouse attacks in Seattle