KIRO 7 Investigation: Pike-Pine downtown corridor a 'magnet' for career criminals

VIDEO: Suspect in shots fired on Pike Street

The corridor of Pike and Pine streets between 3rd and 4th avenues have been notorious for crime for years in downtown Seattle, and a KIRO 7 investigation indicates the area is also a magnet for some career criminals because of a thriving drug trade.

According to the Washington Department of Corrections, agents with the Community Response Unit (CRU) join Seattle police to regularly patrol the Pike-Pine corridor by car and on bicycles, looking for paroled convicts who violate conditions of their release.

One example is 47-year-old Scott Bailey Anderson, who was arrested by Seattle police on the night of June 21, after they said Anderson fired four shots at two men at 4th avenue and Pike street, during an argument. Police say the bullets missed the men, and blasted through a window of an upscale restaurant--which still has boards covering the shattered glass.

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Anderson told police he was homeless, and gave them an address of a Pioneer Square men's shelter.

KIRO 7 dug into Anderson’s criminal record, and found that since 1989, he had been arrested and jailed 22 times. He has also been convicted of 26 crimes, including 11 felonies for assaults and robberies. He was once sentenced to 20 years in prison for hitting a convenience store clerk in the head with a wine bottle, and then shooting out the windows of the store. Records show Anderson vigorously appealed to reduce the sentence.

State records indicate Anderson was also involved in multiple violent altercations while he was incarcerated.

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Court records show in two cases, Anderson was caught illegally carrying a loaded gun. King County prosecutors say this latest gun arrest could be Anderson's third and final strike.

He's being held on $1 million bail, after prosecutors told a judge, "The defendant's extensive, violent criminal history gives the state great concern for the safety of the community if the defendant were ever to be released from custody." The Department of Corrections told KIRO 7 Anderson completed his court-ordered community supervision on April 10.

KIRO 7 showed Anderson's mugshot to people who hang out at 4th and Pike--where the shooting happened, and his face was familiar to Troy Bird, and several others.

"I know him. He was seen out here," said Bird. "I never saw anything violent from him, I didn't even hear about this shooting, until just now."

Others who asked not to be identified told KIRO 7 after Anderson was released from prison, he mixed into the Pike-Pine corridor street scene, which is a busy mix of professional people using public transit, visiting families carrying shopping bags, and mentally ill people in crisis.

SPD says in a one-year span, this surrounding 9-1/2 block area was also home to a staggering 7 percent of the city's total crime.

Rick James, 36, told KIRO 7 the Pike-Pine corridor is a hot spot for people just released from prison and jail looking either to sell, or buy heroin. James had just been released after an attempted murder conviction, and he showed KIRO 7 he came to the area immediately, while still wearing his jail-issued sweatsuit.

"I can get (heroin) anywhere in this whole little square here between Pine and Pike," he said.

In 2015, the Seattle's Department of Transportation and SPD experimented with sidewalk barricades, giving people only enough room to walk through the area of Pike and Pine. SPD poured extra patrols into the area, so everyone could see them. In the "9-1/2 Block Strategy," police emphasized a crackdown on gun-toting drug dealers, they worked with social service agencies on homeless and mentally ill, and they fenced-off areas where drug deals were frequently happening.

Three years later, the city has scrapped the plan, and opted for a data-based reaction plan called the "ACT Team," emphasizing drug and street crimes in the downtown area.

Anderson had been arrested three times in the last 16 months, and when he was last arrested, prosecutors say he had an outstanding warrant. But Pike-Pine locals say he was right at home in the area.

"I knew him out here," said Bird. "It just blows my mind that--he would react that way. He came off as a peacemaker."