Police response took 50 minutes as Wing Luke Museum vandalized

SEATTLE — A Seattle community is outraged after it took police over 50 minutes to respond while a man vandalized the Wing Luke Museum in the International District.

Seattle police arrived at the Wing Luke Museum around 6 p.m. on Thursday, more than 50 minutes after a woman said someone was smashing windows with a sledgehammer while making racially biased remarks.

When the man was arrested, he allegedly continued to say things like “the Chinese ruined my life.”

When asked if he was smashing the windows because they belonged to a Chinese museum, the man reportedly told the officer that his briefcase was stolen for the third time and that he had to do something.

“How many times can we keep doing the f****ing heroic thing and how many times do you have to actually beat a neighborhood down until it goes away,” said museum director Barraquiel Tan.

He say that it was community members who stopped the man from causing further damage until police arrived.

“Literally we have photos and videos of community sweeping glass, delivering pizzas it just all comes together but you can only do that so much without appropriate and timely law enforcement response,” said Tan.

Police say the call came in at 5:33 p.m. but because of staffing issues officers were not dispatched until 6:03 p.m.

“The Department is relieved no one was injured, we recognize an incident like this causes psychological and emotional injuries which are especially hard on a community that has experienced an overall rise in bias incidents over the last few years,” said SPD in a statement.

The man was booked into the King County Jail for Hate Crime and Malicious Mischief.

During his appearance in court on Friday, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office asked him to be held on $75,000 bail. The court then set his bail at $30,000.

Since the arrest, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell has released an official statement along with several social media posts in response to the crime:

I am appalled to learn about the apparent hate crime that occurred at the Wing Luke Museum yesterday. The targeting of our AAPI community is unacceptable, and I condemn the attack, and the hate-fueled motivations of the suspect who was arrested, in the strongest possible terms. Said Harrell. “We know a targeted incident like this will have lasting psychological scars on AAPI communities that since the pandemic have experienced an increase in hate crimes. We will continue to work with neighborhood partners in the CID to rebuild trust and restore peace of mind.

The museum staff says the cost to replace the windows could be anywhere between $100,000 and $200,000.