KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Gee: ‘Put these kids in jail for about 10 years’ after string of youth crime

Jan 11, 2023, 12:49 PM | Updated: 3:07 pm
carjacking...
(MyNorthwest File Photo)
(MyNorthwest File Photo)

Bellevue Police arrested four teenagers — three 15-year-olds and one 13-year-old — Tuesday after allegedly leading officers on a chase with stolen cars following an armed carjacking.

While all four boys are in custody and both cars, a black Dodge Charger and a Hyundai Elantra were recovered, the incident still rattled the community.

“Very rarely do we see such violent felony offenses committed by very young teenagers,” said Bellevue Police spokesperson Meeghan Black. “This really has taken a lot of people in the police department aback.”

A Guardian One helicopter was on site to help officers track down the teens hiding in the brush.

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“These kids carjacked somebody, which is not a normal thing to do,” said Gee Scott, co-host of The Gee and Ursula Show. “But what really stood out to me in this video is they are driving the vehicle with smoke coming up and find out the tire was messed up. They still don’t stop. Do you know what’s got to be going through your mind at 12 or 14 years old to be running from the police in a car that is smoking?

“Look, the problem right now. I got to tell you, I’m tired of it,” Gee continued. “Put these kids in jail for about 10 years for this.”

According to police reports, the right rear wheel of the car went flat, forcing the three 15-year-olds in the car to pull over at a trailhead in the Coal Creek trail system.

Ursula cited another incident that occurred recently where two girls, ages 11 and 13, were held up at gunpoint by four boys in Spanaway.

“Why?” Ursula asked. “Because apparently, the four boys threatened them and wanted their sandwiches and their phone.”

From a national perspective, violent offenses from minors have been trending downward. The estimated number of youth arrests for violent crime — including murder, robbery, and aggravated assault — continued to decline in 2020 and was down 78% from its peak in 1994, according to an Aug. 2022 report from the Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and National Institute of Justice.

2020 is the most recent nationwide crime data published.

Five hundred seventy-five juveniles were arrested for violent crimes in Washington State last year, down from the 733 arrested the year prior, according to the Washington State Office of Financial Management.

“We had a lack of supervision too [as kids]. Sometimes we didn’t come home. We were everywhere. But I’m going to tell you what happened if the police stopped you. The one thing you didn’t do was run,” Gee said. “And the reason why these kids are in this situation, for some reason, they probably heard the cops have been handcuffed, they can’t chase anybody. These kids probably thought these police can’t chase me. Ignorance of the law does not preclude you from getting prosecuted. I’m tired of folks. I can’t believe I’ve got my blood pressure up about this topic.”

Cars, on the other hand, rank as the prime target for thefts in Washington state.

Vehicle parts and accessories are the most common stolen objects last year, according to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs 2021 crime report, at 8.9%, while automobiles themselves were the third-most common item stolen at 6.7%.

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Just 14.1% of the value of property stolen was recovered in 2021, but only 4.6% of property crime offenders were under the age of 18.

“Right now, we don’t know what their fate is. Typically, if someone’s involved in this kind of violent crime, and this was an armed robbery, a carjacking, they would be going to juvie for a while and then be transferred to the adult justice system,” said KIRO Newsradio reporter Heather Bosch on The Gee and Ursula Show.

“But they’re so young. I mean, 12 and 14, what’s going to happen to them?” asked Bosch. “And the rules of how juveniles are questioned now [have] been tightened up, they have to have representation from a lawyer, and their parents have to be there. So it’s gotten a little more complicated.”

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story stated the four individuals were 12 years old and 14 years old. The Bellevue Police Department tweeted Wednesday afternoon that the suspects were aged 13 and 15 years old.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Gee: ‘Put these kids in jail for about 10 years’ after string of youth crime