Seattle police investigate series of assaults, robberies in University District

Jan 26, 2022, 6:43 AM
university district...
A near empty University Way ("The Ave") pictured during Washington's Stay Home, Stay Healthy order in 2020. (Photo courtesy of SDOT/Flickr)
(Photo courtesy of SDOT/Flickr)

Three violent crimes and two attempted carjackings were reported in Seattle’s University District neighborhood in one night.

University of Washington returns to in-person learning Jan. 31

Police say it started around 5 p.m. Monday when a 23-year-old man was reportedly beaten and knocked out by a group of four men in the 4500 block of 15th Avenue Northeast. The suspects reportedly kicked and punched the victim, leaving him unconscious as they fled.

Less than an hour later, around 5:45 p.m., two woman were walking in the 4500 block of 18th Avenue in the University District when three men and a woman in a Mercedes sedan drove up near them. The group got out of the car, and the female suspect grabbed one of the women and punched her. One of the men used a Taser on the victim. As another group of people approached the alley, the suspects got back in the car and fled.

Then came two reports of unsuccessful carjacking attempts around 8:15 p.m.

And just before midnight, employees at a restaurant in the 4200 block of University Way Northeast were robbed at gunpoint. Police say the two suspects forced the employees into a back room and ordered them to empty their pockets before fleeing the area when the victims’ phones and wallets.

The Seattle Police Department is now investigating a possible connection between the series of assaults and attempted robberies. Anyone with information is asked to call the Robbery Unit at 206-684-5535.

“It appears that we have a similar MO with similar weapons. So I’m sure our detectives will be looking into last night’s incidents, as well as tonight,” Sergeant Randall Huserik with the SPD told KIRO Newsradio on Tuesday.

He says it’s too soon to tell if the victims were targeted or if these were “crimes of opportunity.”

Rantz: Concern as 20% of fully vaccinated Seattle police hit with COVID this month

Huserik says there is no current ongoing threat to the community, but reminds people to be aware of their surroundings.

“If you’re parking your car somewhere and the hair is going up on the back of your neck because you see people coming at you or whatnot, it’s time to listen to those survival instinct skills and do your best to get yourself out of that situation,” he said.

The KIRO Newsradio staff contributed to this report.

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Seattle police investigate series of assaults, robberies in University District