Rantz: Democrats to blame for surge of armed children accused of crimes

Aug 28, 2022, 1:15 PM | Updated: Sep 9, 2022, 9:00 am

Puget Sound is experiencing a surge in children committing armed crimes, per police reports.

Two unidentified teens are accused of carjacking an elderly man this month. Police just arrested a 12-year-old who they say was in a stolen car with a .45 caliber handgun. Deputies say two 17-year-old kids pulled a gun on a young girl last week. And officers arrested three 14-year-olds who they say robbed a pot shop three weeks ago.

And just because a teen is in custody, it doesn’t mean they’ll behave. A group of juvenile detention center inmates rioted and threatened staff at a detention center in King County. In Eastern Washington, a teenage criminal escaped a low-security facility only to be accused of two rapes and a robbery this month.

Democrat laws, policies, and approaches deserve a lot of the blame.

Rantz: 911 calls reveal panicked staff during juvenile ‘riot’ as state downplays incident

12-year-old arrested with a gun in stolen car, according to police

Last Thursday, Tacoma Police reported a strongarm robbery against a 69-year-old man who was setting up his walker with his car door open. Police say two teens walked up to the victim, shouted at him, took his keys, then pushed him from his car.

Then, police say, the teens stole the car.

The next day, two undercover Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies spotted the stolen vehicle exiting an apartment complex in Parkland. When a marked patrol car arrived, they made a felony stop. There were multiple subjects in the car.

Body-cam footage obtained exclusively by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH shows part of the scene.

One officer yells “No!” at the subjects multiple times, before warning them, “Do not touch it!” It’s unclear what the officer is referring to, but a second officer says soon after, “Copy. Gun.”

“Driver has a gun. He is being detained,” the officer says.

He then requests more units to assist: “We need one or two more. There are a lot of occupants.”

“They took the driver into custody and found a .45 caliber handgun in his waistband. Deputies discovered the driver was 12 years old and all the other six passengers were also juveniles (14, 15, 13, 15, 14, 13),” a Pierce County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson tells the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

The spokesperson says they do not think the driver is a suspect in the initial car theft.

17-year-olds allegedly pull guns on a young girl

Pierce County deputies say they arrested a pair of 17-year-old boys after they pulled handguns on a 10-year-old girl. She apparently asked them to stop brandishing their weapons when they pointed them at her, per a witness.

When deputies responded to the August 25 incident in Parkland, they could not initially find the suspects. But a witness calling 911 advised the deputies that the suspects were spotted at a nearby apartment complex.

“Our deputies approached the suspects, advised them they were going to be detained and checked them for weapons. The two suspects both had handguns tucked into their waistbands. The suspects were cooperative and deputies handcuffed them,” the department said in a blog post.

One of the firearms was reported stolen in Federal Way from 2021. And while the arrests were made without incident, the department has not been able to locate the young girl to check on her well-being.

“The boys were both arrested and booked into Remann Hall Juvenile Detention Center for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and one was charged with Possession of a Stolen Firearm. They were also charged with Felony Harassment as they were following another young child who saw them with the guns and they were telling them to stop,” the blog post continued.

Three 14-year-olds allegedly rob a pot shop — and maybe more

When Oak Harbor Police responded to an alarm at the Green Room marijuana dispensary, an officer saw that the front door was smashed open and said she could hear noises from inside the building.

She soon confronted four suspects, all in full face masks and gloves. She yelled commands at them and two complied, dropping “two bags full of merchandise.” But, the Oak Harbor PD says, two fled.

When additional units arrived on the scene, one of the fleeing suspects was caught, but the fourth got away.

Police say the boys were caught with marijuana and marijuana products in their backpacks. While searching one suspect, they found property belonging to the Oak Harbor County Club, “leading to the discovery of yet another commercial burglary which the suspects are believed to have committed earlier in the night.”

Oak Harbor Police Chief Kevin Dresker said the juveniles “are also suspected in another burglary and theft, which occurred a few weeks ago.”

Democrat policies and approach fuel the crime surge

Democrat lawmakers listened to anti-police activists after the death of George Floyd.

They instituted several laws and policies that make it harder and more dangerous to police while giving criminals a pass. When it comes to juvenile suspects, the policies err on the side of no legal consequences for even serious and dangerous crimes.

The Democrat-controlled legislature banned nearly all vehicular pursuits. It’s emboldened criminals to engage in more smash-and-grab robberies (like in pot shops in Oak Harbor) and car theft (like in Pierce County). So long as a suspect can quickly drive away, unless there’s probable cause that a violent crime occurred (or reasonable suspicion of a DUI), police are not allowed to pursue them.

Other laws are getting in the way, too.

The Oak Harbor PD’s investigation was stymied because of HB 1140, which prevents police from engaging with juvenile suspects before they’ve spoken to an attorney. In the alleged pot shop robbery, Chief Dresker notes the suspects and at least one parent of the suspects wanted to speak with police. But the law prevented the cops from engaging. After a defense attorney became involved, all the parties refused to cooperate. That meant the fourth suspect was not caught.

Even if arrested, nothing happens

Thanks to activist influence, the chances of teens facing consequential punishment for crime is slim to none.

While there is no appetite to throw teens in jail, there are some teen criminals who need jail time to keep them from harming the public. But the “no youth jail” movement is strong, particularly in King County and the youth detention centers that Washington operates are dangerously understaffed and insecure (as if by design).

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office operates a restorative justice program called Restorative Community Passageways. It keeps juvenile, felonious criminals out of jail for crimes like car theft, assault, and bringing a gun to school. One prosecutor told a group of concerned mayors that they should “get used to” going easy on juvenile criminals.

King County Executive Dow Constantine, a proponent of youth jails until the Black Lives Matter movement threatened his political future, adopted a new approach. He vowed “zero youth detention by 2025,” even as juvenile crime surges. To meet these goals, the county is simply not taking juvenile suspects seriously, often forgoing criminal charges altogether.

Nearly the worst that can happen to juvenile criminals is they end up in lax detention centers.

No security in secure detention centers

The Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) operate 11 youth detention and facility locations, including Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie and Sunrise Community Facility in Ephrata.

There have been several successful escapes and escape attempts. The department is understaffed, putting employees at risk. And the state, under Governor Jay Inslee’s leadership, continues to underplay clear security vulnerabilities.

A group of juveniles rioted at Echo Glen on August 20. A staff member, in 911 calls exclusively obtained by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH, pleaded for police assistance as juveniles were attacking staff with shards of glass and attempting to scale the fence to escape. DCYF severely downplayed the riot, calling it an “incident,” while the King County Sheriff’s Office refuses to provide basic information about what happened.

DCYF was supposed to supervise Jayvantre Sin, an 18-year-old with a long criminal record, at Sunrise Community, a facility that is unlocked and unfenced. But on June 21, Sin and two other teens residents escaped.

Citing court documents, KING 5 reports that a little over a month and a half after his escape, Sin was accused of robbing and raping a 16-year-old girl at gunpoint. Five days later, his next alleged victim was a 25-year-old woman walking home from work. Court records say he allegedly “violently and brutally beat her and sexually assaulted her.”

Sin was arrested on August 19 in Everett.

Won’t punish adult crimes when committed by teens

Democrat-passed legislation in 1998 made it so that first-degree robbery, drive-by shooting, first-degree burglary, and others do not get 16- and 17-year-olds automatically sent to adult court. They’re now handled in juvenile court.

Lawmakers and activists argue that brains aren’t fully formed until later into one’s early 20s, and it’s unfair to punish young indiscretions — like drive-by shootings. Those same lawmakers and activists helped pass legislation allowing a 13-year-old to start gender reassignment surgery without parental consent.

Despite juvenile crimes getting more dangerous, there’s another push by Democrats to go even easier on suspects.

In Washington state, children ages 12 and older are presumed to have the capacity to commit a crime. Democrats are pushing a bill that changes that age to 13. Thus, the armed 12-year-old suspect behind the wheel of a stolen car would not see a juvenile courtroom if this law passed.

Democrat lawmakers are also seeking to push juvenile court jurisdiction to cover 18- and 19-year-olds.

House Bill 1692 lessened the criminal penalties for drive-by shootings. It offered carve-outs to release felons from jail if they committed their violent act when they were under 21 years old.

Both pieces of legislation initially failed, but there’s an activist movement that will likely push it again in the next legislative session.

Juvenile criminals hear Democrat messages

Democrats have created a culture of lawlessness.

They go easy on juvenile criminals and even brag about it. It seems likely that the message is finding its way to children across the state. And the message they’re hearing is clear: there won’t be serious consequences if you commit a crime as a juvenile. It seems obvious why we’re seeing this surge in juvenile crime.

Democrat lawmakers must take crime seriously, regardless of the suspect’s age. The only way to stop the surge is to reverse course. But they show no interest in doing so. They don’t even acknowledge a problem.

Rantz: Councilmember, Seattle activists pushed to keep teen out of jail. Then he allegedly shot two women.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Democrats to blame for surge of armed children accused of crimes