Photo courtesy Tukwila Police Department

From our sister site The Tukwila Blog:

While protests kept many police officers busy in Seattle and Bellevue, groups of looters came to Tukwila and attacked and damaged multiple businesses on Sunday night, May 31, 2020.

Approximately 26 businesses were damaged by looters.

No officers were injured, and one individual reported an injury to their finger.

Nine arrests were made.

Police say that it all started around 7:45 p.m. when a group of upwards of 100 individuals ran onto Westfield Southcenter mall property from where they had gathered across the street at Bowlero. They attempted to gain access to the mall from the north side but were quickly dispersed back to the Bowlero parking lot by officers who gave clear, verbal commands. The group continued to grow to approximately 300+ on foot and in vehicles.

They began throwing rocks and projectiles at officers who were standing by on the east side of the mall.

The group split up at this point on foot and in vehicles and began looting Bowlero, REI and Firestone.

CS gas was deployed by Tukwila Police in multiple locations in the Southcenter District.

The Target store at 301 Strander Blvd was looted by a group, which later tried to breach Westfield Southcenter mall.

Several suspects were taken into custody at Best Buy.

Other businesses hit included Best Buy, Total Wine, Barnes & Noble and many others.

There were no verified fires reported, but multiple businesses throughout the entire Southcenter District were looted.

Tukwila Police proclaimed a curfew from 9 p.m. – 6 a.m.

In addition to Tukwila, there were reports of looting in Renton as well.

The Tukwila Police Department was assisted by Port of Seattle Police, the Washington State Patrol, King County Sheriff’s Office, and the Police Departments from Renton, Federal Way, Auburn, Kent and Normandy Park.

“We thank them and our dispatchers at ValleyCOM for helping us to protect the city and businesses,” police said.

“It’s important to remember that the criminal actions now in Tukwila are not related to BLM or any protest,” Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce CEO Andrea Reay said on Facebook. “Please don’t confuse the two. Please do reach out to organizations that are working to build more equity and inclusion in our community and please, please support these organizations and our local businesses when and how you can.”

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: Tukwila Police released the following statement on Monday morning, June 1, 2020:

We respect everyone’s right to assemble, to freedom of speech and their right to protest. Emotions and tensions are understandably high. Many people are hurting right now and want their voices to be heard. Their voices deserve and need to be heard, their message is very important and must be heard by all. Seeking to drown out those important voices, to detract from their message through looting and other distractions is, and should be, unacceptable to us all. To be very clear, what happened in Tukwila last night was not a protest. It was coordinated looting. It can not be allowed to overshadow the important message and conversations that peaceful protesters nationwide have begun over the past week.

Due to information received throughout the weekend regarding potential looting activity, the Southcenter Mall and several neighboring businesses that were open made the decision to close early, approximately 11AM. Extra officers were brought in to assist with patrolling and monitoring the Southcenter District throughout the day in light of the threat of looting activity.

At approximately 7:45PM, a group of upwards of 100 individuals ran onto mall property from where they had gathered across the street at Bowlero. They attempted to gain access to the mall from the north side but were quickly dispersed back to the Bowlero parking lot by officers who gave clear, verbal commands. The group continued to grow to approximately 300+ on foot and in vehicles. They began throwing rocks and projectiles at officers who were standing by on the east side of the mall. The group split up at this point on foot and in vehicles and began looting Bowlero, REI and Firestone.

During the course of the looting, multiple reports of gunshots and subjects discharging firearms were called in to 911 as well as heard by officers. Looters also moved north to the vicinity of 144th and Tukwila International Blvd on the northwest side of town and broke in to several businesses there. Multiple teams of officers were required to clear looted businesses to ensure there was no one inside. It took several hours for officers to disperse the looters in vehicles and on foot to restore order.

Approximately 26 businesses were damaged by looters. No officers were injured. One individual reported an injury to their finger. Nine arrests were made.

The Tukwila Police Department was assisted by Port of Seattle Police, the Washington State Patrol, King County Sheriff’s Office, and the Police Departments from Renton, Federal Way, Auburn, Kent and Normandy Park. We thank them and our dispatchers at ValleyCOM for helping us to protect the city and businesses.

We are proud to serve the Tukwila community and we are proud of the outpouring of love that the public has shown for Tukwila since last night. We are stronger together and our community speaks volumes to that having worked through the night to organize clean-up efforts for the damage caused by looters last night. As of this writing, members from all walks of life and backgrounds are out side by side assisting businesses that were looted and damaged last night. Our businesses and their hundreds of employees have been greatly impacted over the past few months and we are thankful to everyone who has been supporting them during these difficult times.Thank you to everyone who rapidly came together together to clean up the damage done last night.

The criminal actions of a few can not be allowed to overshadow the important message of millions.

Community members quickly organized a volunteer clean-up effort that was planned to start at the Target store at 8 a.m. Monday morning.


 

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