MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Suspect in Seattle encampment fire released without charges

Aug 18, 2023, 10:27 AM | Updated: Aug 21, 2023, 10:48 am

encampment fire released...

(MyNorthwest Photo)

(MyNorthwest Photo)

A 46-year-old man suspected of starting a large fire at a homeless encampment off Mercer Street in Seattle last week has been released from jail with no charges filed.

Earlier this week, a judge found probable cause for felony reckless burning, and the man was initially held on $50,000 bail.

Previous coverage: Suspect in custody after encampment fire in South Lake Union

Two days later, he was released without the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO) filing charges. Instead, the investigation was sent to the Seattle City Attorney, where he could still face a lesser misdemeanor charge.

The KCPAO clarified Monday they did not receive the case referral and police made the decision to refer it as a misdemeanor based on the evidence.

The office added what they did have was the first appearance document, which, as the KCPAO notes, is different from the documents legally required to be referred for a charging decision. County prosecutors asked for him to be held on $150,000 bail in that document.

According to court documents, the man said he was cleaning his tent when he knocked over a lit candle. He said he didn’t notice at first but soon saw his tent was on fire. He said he then tried to put the fire, but it grew too big for him to handle.

The fire prompted a large fire response and forced the closure of the Mercer Street ramp to Interstate 5 for about an hour.

The scar of the fire is still at the site of the encampment. Some tents have started to come back on the other side of Mercer Street, some residents report.

Contributing: KIRO 7

MyNorthwest News

Photo: A law enforcement vehicle's lights....

James Lynch

SPD: Armed good Samaritan saves pregnant woman from attacker

Seattle police said an armed good Samaritan came to the rescue of a woman during a domestic violence incident and shot her attacker.

8 hours ago

NAACP kamala harris...

Sam Campbell

‘It’s about time’: NAACP leader in WA applauds possibility of Harris as presidential nominee

NAACP members reportedly scrambled to regroup following President Joe Biden’s sudden withdrawal from the race on Sunday.

12 hours ago

hit-and-run lake city...

Frank Sumrall, MyNorthwest; James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio

Hit-and-run in Seattle’s Lake City kills one early Monday morning

A man was killed in a hit-and-run in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood at Northeast 125th Street and 30th Avenue Northeast Monday morning.

16 hours ago

kent kidnapping...

Frank Sumrall

Kent Police: Second attempted kidnapping in less than a week

A 911 caller contacted Kent Police July 19 after an unknown adult male reached inside a window of the caller's home and grabbed their young daughter.

18 hours ago

Photo: Detectives are investigating a Seattle drive-by shooting that happened early Saturday mornin...

Julia Dallas

Seattle police: Woman shot in both hands in early morning drive-by shooting

Detectives are investigating a Seattle drive-by shooting that happened early Saturday morning. A woman was shot in her hands.

1 day ago

Photo: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon...

MyNorthwest and KIRO Newsradio staff

‘Bring it on:’ Washington officials react to Biden dropping out of the race

Washington officials have reacted to President Joe Biden dropping out of the 2024 presidential election.

2 days ago

Suspect in Seattle encampment fire released without charges