CRIME BLOTTER

2 teen boys found shot dead around I-5 in Seattle, WSP says

Mar 22, 2024, 8:40 PM | Updated: Mar 23, 2024, 12:13 pm

Image: The I-5 north ramp at NE 85th Street is seen in March 2024....

The I-5 north ramp at NE 85th Street is seen in March 2024. (Image courtesy of the Washington State Department of Transportation and KIRO 7)

(Image courtesy of the Washington State Department of Transportation and KIRO 7)

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) confirmed to KIRO Newsradio Friday night it is conducting an investigation after the bodies of two 16-year-old boys were found near Interstate 5 (I-5) and both of them had been shot.

One was found between 10:30 and 11 p.m. Thursday night and the other was discovered at around 8 a.m. on Friday morning.

King County WSP Trooper Rick Johnson told KIRO Newsradio that late Thursday the WSP received a report that a pedestrian was seen lying on I-5 north about a half-mile away from the NE 85th Street exit. Johnson noted there was no indication the person found on the freeway was struck by a vehicle. So, that quickly turned into a homicide investigation.

Then on Friday morning, Johnson told KIRO Newsradio the WSP received a call about someone lying in a ditch on the on-ramp from NE 85th Street to I-5 north. The law enforcement agency discovered the second person also had sustained gunshot wounds.

KIRO 7 reported Friday that, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, the teen found Friday morning was identified as 16-year-old Jahaz S. Phillips of Seattle.

Johnson explained the WSP has not established a connection between the two victims, but they’re working to get more information on these cases. He also said they’re also trying to determine if the killings occurred on or off the freeway.

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When asked whether these incidents might be tied to unhoused people staying in that area, Johnson said that “it doesn’t appear” there is any connection to that population in the area.

Johnson went on to say the WSP needs assistance from the community in this case as Department of Transportation (DOT) cameras weren’t recording and detectives spent hours Friday unsuccessfully canvassing the neighborhood to see if anyone had cameras.

“We need the public’s help,” Johnson said to KIRO Newsradio. “If they saw anything or know anything, they can remain anonymous. We also are in close contact with Seattle Police Department.”

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of My Northwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here.

You can read more of Lisa Brooks’ stories here. Follow Lisa on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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