Transient teen assaults Islander

Mercer Island Police last week arrested two young men for investigation of two separate but serious incidents that occurred on the Island.

One boy, a Mercer Island High School student, was arrested last Tuesday for threats made on a Metro Transit bus, while a second boy from the Maple Valley area was arrested in connection with an unrelated assault that occurred on the night of May 1 and morning of May 2 on Mercer Island.

Police arrested the 16-year-old transient youth, who dropped out of Tahoma High School, at about 12 p.m. last Tuesday on charges of assault, illegal imprisonment and robbery. According to the incident report, the suspect, who had not been charged by press time, tied up a 71-year-old Island resident in a chair at the man’s basement apartment in the 7700 block of 89th Avenue S.E. Police think the suspect hit the older man in the face with a cutting board, leaving a laceration above his left eye, which was also swollen. The victim was treated at a Seattle hospital, said Cmdr. Leslie Burns, public information officer for the department.

Before the boy tied the man up and beat him, he asked how many kids the man had raped and if he was a registered sex offender, according to the case report. The victim said he replied no to both questions but the angry youth tied him up, then hit him and later fled in his car.

The victim was able to free himself from the chair and go to the upstairs neighbor’s home, where he asked them to call the police. According to the case report, the victim told police he picked the youth up off the street in Seattle, near Westlake Center, and asked him to come home with him, offering him a warm place to sleep and some food. However, Burns said it would not legally be prostitution because it didn’t appear money was to be exchanged for sex and sex did not take place.

“They were visually familiar with one another from prior contacts, but they had never spoken to each other,” Burns said of the relationship between the victim and the suspect.

After the assault, the teen fled the scene in the man’s 2004 Chrysler Crossfire, also stealing a camera, cell phone, some cash and alcohol. Late the next day, police found the car crashed and burned in South King County, not too far from the home of the suspect’s family.

Police have asked for charges in both adult and juvenile court, leaving it up to the King County Prosecutor’s Office to decide. The prosecutor will also make the final decision about what offenses will be included in the charges.

Island teen arrested in unrelated bus incident

On the evening of May 8, police arrested a 16-year-old Island boy because the teen scared several classmates while riding a Metro bus home from school. According to Burns, the boy was creating a disturbance on the bus, yelling about his hatred for certain types of people and making death threats. While the threats were not aimed directly at anybody on the bus, one of the riders, another MIHS student, was concerned about what she heard and told her mother after she got home. The mother called the school to report the young man’s behavior on the bus, and the school contacted the police.

Police arrested the student on suspicion of harassment and death threats, and School Resource Officer Art Munoz is conducting a follow up investigation.

“This was a criminal act because the threats made were of a criminal nature,” Munoz said. “The follow up investigation will be contacting the other witnesses on the bus,” Munoz said.

Police seized a small ceremonial sword from the teen’s residence for safe keeping. Witnesses told police the young man did not have the sword and did not display a weapon while on the bus, Burns said.

“The police and the school have a working relationship and this worked out the way it should have,” Burns said of the precautionary steps taken with the arrest.

MIHS Principal John Harrison said he was not prepared to comment on the incident.

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