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Are criminals taking over Seattle’s Golden Gardens?

A few violent criminal incidents at Seattle's Golden Gardens Park, has KIRO Radio's Dori Monson very concerned about the safety a place he used to visit frequently. (AP Photo/file)

A recent armed carjacking in Seattle’s Golden Gardens has KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson worried about the safety of the park.

Seattle police say the man was looking for his car keys around 11:20 p.m. Monday when he was approached by four men, one of whom asked to use his cell phone.

After he refused, the victim tells police one of the suspects struck him in the head, pulled out a gun, and then demanded his wallet, keys, and phone. The suspects took off with the victim’s belongings and his car.

Monson says this is the latest in a series of dangerous incidents that has him concerned about the park that used to be a regular destination for him and his family.

“My kids would go to bonfires at night at Golden Gardens with their friends in high school,” says Monson. “I wouldn’t let my kids go to Golden Gardens at night for anything right now with the criminal element that’s been allowed to take over there.”

In addition to this armed carjacking, Monson also cites the attack of Kenny Stratton, who was beaten in a park bathroom in July.

“I went to the bathroom by myself, I should have grabbed a partner, but I went to the bathroom by myself and on my way out I was attacked,” Stratton told KING 5. “They said ‘give me your wallet.’ By the time I could react or do anything, turn around, I got punched in the face.”

Stratton told KING 5 he won’t be returning to the park anytime soon and Dori doesn’t blame him. “I grew up right by Golden Gardens and I wouldn’t go there.”

Dori contacted the Seattle Police Department to see if there really is a growing problem.

“It seems like really bad elements have taken over Golden Gardens. Is there a real problem?” Monson asked Detective Drew Fowler.

“I think ‘taking over’ might be a bit hyperbolic,” says Fowler, “but there’s always going to be ebbs and flows. And right now, during the normal summer months, people are going to be in the park more and in the park until later, which if you are someone looking to commit crimes kind of makes it a target-rich environment.”

Fowler is hopeful they can find the suspects responsible for this latest incident and at least put it to rest.

Police describe the suspects as four black males in their 20s. The car taken from the park was a 2008 Honda Accord.

Dori says for the time being he won’t be visiting the park, and that he finds it heartbreaking what these types of incidents are doing to a great Seattle destination.

(Exterior photo from Creative Commons/Wonderland)

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