Rantz: Echo Glen youth inmates armed with shanks ignited fire, demanded McDonald’s

Mar 19, 2023, 3:22 PM | Updated: Mar 20, 2023, 4:28 pm

Echo Glen...

Seven juveniles escaped the detention center early Sunday. All have since been captured. (Echo Glen Children's Center)

(Echo Glen Children's Center)

Six juveniles at Echo Glen Children’s Center, a juvenile detention facility outside of Seattle, some armed with shanks, set fire to property and demanded McDonald’s, according to law enforcement dispatch audio. One of the juveniles allegedly involved is serving time on Murder Two charges.

King County Sheriff’s deputies were alerted just after midnight on Sunday morning, according to dispatch audio reviewed by the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. Responding deputies were warned the six juveniles locked themselves in a room at Cottage Nine and were armed. By the time multiple units arrived, the fire was extinguished, according to dispatch audio. It gave deputies time to stage at the facility and formulate a plan. Snoqualmie Police sent officers to assist, bringing with them a non-lethal, 40mm soft nose gun (which fires sponge rounds) and a ballistic shield (which can stop bullets and sharp objects).

“Be advised that they threatened they have shanks on them,” a dispatcher said over the radio.

After talking with Echo Glen staff, a deputy explained that since it’s a brick building, “the only thing they can burn is possibly mattresses. They’re just demanding McDonald’s and other kinds of ridiculous stuff. They do have shanks, they’ve [staff] seen that they held them up. We’re just going to stay here and come up with a game plan. They’re locked in there and can’t get out.”

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Crisis Negotiation Team was successful

The incident commander alerted the team over the radio that there were three uninvolved juveniles. Staff planned to escort them out of the cottage around 12:49 a.m.

A little over 30 minutes later, at approximately 1:26 a.m., a team of five deputies from the Crisis Negotiation Team started to talk the juveniles out of the room. The conversations were not captured on any dispatch recording, but by 1:43 a.m., some of the juveniles surrendered. By 1:54 a.m., all six were in custody. There are no known reports of injuries.

Echo Glen has been plagued by concerns over low staffing, making it easier for juveniles to act out. Last year, there were high profile escapes of dangerous criminals. Months later, the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH exclusively reported that juvenile inmates rioted with shanks and machetes, committing extensive damage to the facility. The Department of Children, Youth, and Family, which runs the facility, downplayed the riot at the time, but 911 calls revealed panicked and distressed staff.

Staff have complained about being unsafe. One employee says she was assaulted three times by youth inmates within just one year and that there are little consequences for the teens. The state has not indicated any significant changes to staff on site, but did celebrate Echo Glen hosting the first library for youth inmates.

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available. The King County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a weekend request by publication.

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Rantz: Echo Glen youth inmates armed with shanks ignited fire, demanded McDonald’s