Tukwila Police release statement on Southcenter incident

The Tukwila Police Department posted a statement about the Mar. 5 melee of around 500 juveniles at Westfield Southcenter Mall, which caused a major response from police as well as store owners and customers:

On Friday, March 8th, the attached post was posted to the account of Instagram user “deshaefrost” that read “Seattle! Meet me tomorrow at SOUTHCENTER mall at 5pm! Let’s get kicked out! ❄️😈” The post was removed from the Instagram account on Saturday evening.

This post regarding meeting at the Southcenter Mall was not worded in a way that invited participants for a simple meet and greet, as has since been claimed. It was worded in a way that invited participants to engage in behavior that would attract negative attention to themselves, which would result in their removal from the mall. In this particular incident, a crowd of upwards of 500 juveniles began to meet in the food court just before 5PM. The large majority of them were present with no adult supervision. They began running en masse all at once through the mall from the food court to the west parking lot while creating an extremely unsafe environment for everyone present. While they were running away from the food court, we received multiple reports from bystanders and employees that several of the juveniles running with the group were reported to be yelling that there was a “shooting,” “active shooter” and loudly making other dangerous inflammatory statements which put innocent bystanders in fear for their lives.

When the group of juveniles exited the west side of the mall, video posted to the “deshaefrost” Instagram account showed an individual that matches the description of Deshae Frost meeting with a large crowd of juveniles. Videos posted by others present also shows this same individual filming the crowd, smiling and shaking hands with several of those in the crowd just prior to leaving in a vehicle as officers began to arrive in the parking lot.

The panic and anxiety that this type of behavior creates has lasting impacts on those that are traumatized by these types of incidents. During this incident, one woman present had a severe panic attack. We have since received many reports from others that were present voicing their anger, frustration and mental impacts that they are suffering from as a result of this incident.

Police, fire and medics from other jurisdictions had to be routed to our city to assist us thus creating manpower shortages to answer 911 calls for assistance in their own cities. Our patrol officers were in the middle of a dangerous high-risk stop of a wanted individual on the other side of our city when all this happened causing some of them to have to divert to assist those trying to handle the commotion at the mall.

This was a completely avoidable situation that could have happened at any mall that this individual had chosen to have this unsanctioned event at. We encourage parents to actively chaperone their children whenever they are at a mall or other public gathering place. If for some reason you are not able to be present with them, know where they are, who they are with and what they are doing. The behavior displayed on Saturday by this large group of juveniles is absolutely unacceptable, unsafe and could have ended much worse than it did.

We are not taking this incident lightly. Our Major Crimes Unit (MCU) is investigating the case and there is potential that criminal charges may be filed based on the findings of the investigation.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!