UPDATE, May 30: The suspect, Christopher Edward Teel, pleaded not guilty to rape in King County Superior Court.
Teel previously pleaded not guilty on May 18 to an assault charge in Seattle Municipal Court. That is for head-butting a detective at police headquarters, according to court documents.
ORIGINAL TEXT: A homeless man was arrested after police said he raped a woman at random at the Carter Volkswagen dealership in Ballard.
The suspect, Christopher Edward Teel, 24, is being held in King County Jail.
The victim, in her early 40s, brought her car into the dealership at 5202 Leary Avenue Northwest for maintenance the morning of Monday, May 14. She walked up a ramp to the bathroom and police said Teel followed her.
As the woman was in the middle stall of the women’s bathroom, Teel entered and started banging on the locked stall door. He “forced the door open and grabbed the victim by the throat area and dragged her from the stall and took her pants and underwear completely off,” according to a probable cause document.
The victim was raped as she screamed for Teel to stop, police said.
A man who works at Carter Volkswagen was using the bathroom next door when he heard the struggle. He and another employee tried to get into the women’s bathroom, but Teel locked the door behind him, according to court documents.
They entered to find the woman cowering against the wall. She said Teel raped her, and he stood there with his pants down, police said.
The two Carter employees restrained Teel until police arrived.
At police headquarters, Teel admitted to raping the woman, police said. Teel also head-butted a detective “without any warning” as the detective was in an interview room, according to court documents.
Suspect lived in city-sanctioned homeless camp with active warrant
Teel, who previously lived in Texas, was arrested in 2016 after allegedly squatting in a Magnolia home. Court records indicate he had a warrant issued in March 2017 after he didn’t appear at a hearing. The case is ongoing.
In November 2017, Teel was pictured in a Seattle Times article about residents of Nickelsville – a city-sanctioned homeless camp then in Ballard.
“Any sanctioned encampment works with the city in some capacity,” police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said.
But city-sanctioned camps are not required to do criminal background checks, so staff there did not know Teel had an active warrant.
Scott Morrow of Nickelsville told KIRO 7 that Teel was last seen at the camp on May 9 and “seemed to be decompensating.”
“When Chris entered Nickelsville Ballard he was required to produce valid government picture identification,” Morrow said Wednesday in an email. “This was cross referenced against our list of people on the King County transient sex offender list, which he was not on."
"Nickelsville has never done Warrant Checks of any sort, and did not do one for Chris. Until yesterday we were not aware of any criminal history.”
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