UPDATE: Shots Fired, Huge Police Turnout Near Sylvester Middle School

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UPDATE 9/19/11 9:30 p.m.: KCPQ-13 posted the following video Monday evening, confirming that the windows of the Seattle Ambulatory Surgery Center were indeed hit by an unknown shooter:

UPDATE 9/19/11 4:15 p.m.: We just received confirmation from Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff’s Office that the shots that were fired Monday around Noon actually came from an apartment complex, with “at least one” hitting the Ambulatory Surgery Center at 275 SW 160th Street near Sylvester Middle School.

Urquhart also added that in addition to the surgery center, shots hit “a car or two I think.”


UPDATE 9/19/11 3:20 p.m.: Other media outlets are reporting that Monday afternoon’s shooting in Burien actually took place at the Ambulatory Surgery Center, located at 275 SW 160th Street, just east of Sylvester Middle School.

We were told directly by Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff’s Office that the shooting took place at an apartment complex located east of there on SW 160th.


Shots were apparently fired from an apartment complex located about one block east of Sylvester Middle School on SW 160th in Burien Monday around 11:30 a.m. (Sept. 19), according to Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Nobody was hit, there were no injuries, and as this story was posted, the shooter was still at large.

“This had nothing to do with the school,” Urquhart said over the phone. “We think it was just reckless shooting from an apartment nearby.”

The apartment is apparently located just across the street from Andy’s Handy Mart/Arco station in the 150 block of SW 160th.

Sylvester Middle School was locked down as a precaution, as was Three Tree Point Montessori School and other buildings nearby.

UPDATE 9/19/11 3 p.m.: At 2:56 p.m., the following email was sent out by Slyvester Middle School:

Dear Sylvester Families,

Today around 12:00 p.m. the Sylvester Middle School office received a call from police that shots were fired at a residence near campus. Authorities asked us to put the school in lockdown during the search for the suspect. As the safety of our student’s is our number one priority, we put the school in lockdown, and all students were accounted for. At 1:45, we were informed by police that we could go into modified lockdown, which allows students to move about inside the school, and all students were able to get their lunch.

Police have informed us that it is safe to release the students at 2:40 today, but all after school activities have been cancelled. Students will be released on 4th Avenue to 158th with police presence to direct them away from the police activity.

It is a common precautionary measure to put a school in lockdown whenever there is police activity in the area. As a standard practice, school remains in lockdown until we receive clearance from the police department to return to our regular schedule.

For the safety of both students and parents, we do not alert parents while a lockdown is in progress or allow students to contact their parents by cell phone. This is emergency management best practice. Police do not want parents to come to school to retrieve their children, because that could put the parent in danger and/or could compromise the police investigation.

I know it is alarming when there is police activity near your child’s school. Please know that your child’s safety is the central purpose of all our emergency procedures.

If you have any questions about this incident, please call the office at 206-631-6000.

Principal Vicki Fisher

UPDATE 9/19/11 2:32 p.m.: We just spoke with Lisa at the main office at Sylvester, and she assured us that students will be released on time today.

If you were anywhere near the area Monday afternoon, you may have heard the Sheriff’s Guardian One chopper circling overhead (as of 2:15 p.m. it was still circling), or you saw up to 10 or so police cruisers along with numerous officers wearing bulletproof vests scouring the area.

Publisher/Editor Scott Schaefer was on the scene between 1 – 1:30 p.m., and he took the following pics:

At least 10 police cruisers from Burien, KCSO and SeaTac P.D. turned out for the incident.

King County Sheriff's 'Guardian One' chopper circled above as police searched for the shooter. As this story was posted, it was still circling in a wider swath over Burien.

Officers in bulletproof vests were seen scouring the area Monday afternoon.

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35 Responses to “UPDATE: Shots Fired, Huge Police Turnout Near Sylvester Middle School”
  1. Christina says:

    It’s a shame that living in the area that surrounds Sylvester, the sound of gunshots at night have become common-place and something we now shrug off….”What was that?” “Oh, just some more gunshots.” “Oh ok.” It’s not right at any time of the day, but I feel sorry for the parents who have kids at the school and for the kids themselves that may be a little shaken up today. Glad everyone is ok, but stupid people with guns is a bad equation.

  2. Erik Robbins says:

    “We think it was just reckless shooting from an apartment nearby.”
    Glad to hear it was just reckless shooting. We all can rest easy now.

  3. Josh says:

    Seattle (and Burien) is a ‘sanctuary city for illegals’, surprised?

  4. Jessica says:

    Sadly it was probably gang related…

  5. Ashley says:

    I was playing football outside in P.E. today at Highline High School and I kept wondering why a helicopter kept flying in circles, now I know why.

    • Glenna says:

      Kari: Amazing. I’m glad you posted this, perhaps it will reach the right desk on 150th St. Why were there no police present at the entrance to Sylvester? Not even a security guard, obviously, or your daughter wouldn’t have had to walk all the way into a potential crime-scene (for all they knew at the time,) to find the door locked. How scary for you both once you learned! Something HAS to be done about the communication between schools and police in these types of situations. As to Ashley who was playing football at HHS–this school is in a 1-mile radius of Sylvester, why was it not on lock-down—and why was a student allowed outside during this “hunt?” Something is wrong here. More than making it seem “OK” it was a “reckless shooting.”

      • Kari says:

        Thank you. Either, yes, a guard at the enterance of the school OR the road TO the school completely blocked off so it was obvious. If I had just left my daughter to go inside—-what would have happened??

  6. Kari says:

    My daughter (only) attends 6th period PE. We were coming from Choice, to class, when we drove by the police. I asked loudly, “Is this affecting Sylvester? Im taking my daughter to class”. I know they were busy, but the one rudely said “JUST KEEP MOVING” (Umm..I was stopped at the light?!) We went to the school where, of course, she came back to the car and told me the doors were locked. (Good thing I didn’t leave! This is why I was asking the police..)

    Im glad the kids are okay..hopefully they’ll find the idiot with the gun..

    • Glenna says:

      (*Oops-sorry, my comment to Kari should’ve been here! Addendum, though, “hope they’ll find the idiot with the gun”–they probably already had. They just didn’t alert anyone bc it was “just a reckless shooting.” Just lock up your school and go home. Grrr!)

      • Kari says:

        The update of it being a 16 year old girl saddened me to no end…..HOW can this happen? Bad parenting? Gangs? My daughter is almost 13 and I am SOOOOOOOO GLAD she has a good heart and mind. 😀

        AND that is also why I’m not having her to to Sylvester (or any ‘regular’ school) for more than just PE. She attends CHOICE Academy. Small, unique. ON TOP of things, and also no peer ‘crap’.

    • Bobby says:

      If I have to drive by 10 police cars and hear a helicopter over head, I would not allow my daughter out of the car. It is about time that parents begin to take some responsibility for the role they should play in these young lives. Shame on you mom.

  7. Jessica says:

    Why wasn’t HHS locked down ?

  8. amanda says:

    I agree with glenna and why is this an everyday thing in our community what can we do to change it is the question my son is 5yr old and I don’t want him growing up scared..because I’m scared what to do me by a gun I think we all should beable to feel safe but obviously we are not!!!!

  9. Marty says:

    I think the shooting is obviously terrible. Especially being so close to the school. Glad noone was hurt. Please dont pass such quick judgement on the officers comment. It was two sentences from a conversation. The context is not there. I’m sure the police did everything they could to protect the community.

  10. Eaton B. Verz says:

    I am thinking of moving to White Center or Belltown just to get away from all the crime in Burien

  11. Ed Dacy says:

    Reckless shooting? Why would anyone shoot in an apartment? T wonder how many crimes would stop if the ‘reckless’ shooter was put away

  12. MeToo says:

    I would like to acknowledge the wonderful staff of THREE TREE MONTESSORRI SCHOOL for their cool head and professional demeanor during the shooting!
    The 130+ one to 12 year old children who attend this privet school were aware of heightened police activity and the Lock-down that affected their outside activities but they were not scared. With privet school tuition comes loving, devoted and caring teachers and staff that make Three Tree the best school in town. My children were more upset that they missed some outside time and they did not get to see the police cars than that there was to potential for a shooter to be in the area of the school. CONGRATS THREE TREE Staff!! JOB WELL DONE!!!!!!!

    • elizabeth2 says:

      I assume you intended to write “private” school…

      Anyway, I think the tone of your comment suggests that those who can afford “privet tuition” get love and caring teachers and staff and the rest of everyone else’s children do not…..

      You suggest that the children at your “privet” school were not scared because they are so special to go to a school where you pay tuition!

      I hope you did not intend to imply that because it sounds pretty elitist to me!

  13. AM says:

    I really don’t think that the mother at TTMS intended to sound like an elitist! She was giving kudos to the staff at the school! Don’t be so sensitive!

  14. Mike says:

    I personally know the family of one of the two detained “men” if you can call him that….white trash…born and raised in Normandy Park…too lazy to finish high school. All of you out there who jumped to conclusions that these guys were illegals, shame on you!!

    • elizabeth2 says:

      MIke – if you read the above entries carefully, you may see that it was ONE person who made that statement which was rapidly challenged by numerous people. That racist statement was not allwoed to stand unchallenged.

      However, your use of the term “white trash” is also not exactly a term I would support being used to describe anyone.

      • MeThree says:

        I assume you meant to write allowed but just in case,
        what the heck is allwoed, is that like all woed?
        Anyways, what r we all woing? A boat?
        Spelling doesn`t count here anymore than typos..

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