Suspicious 'incidents' reported by West Seattle students; police on the lookout for suspects

SEATTLE -- Three incidents involving West Seattle students and suspicious men were reported Wednesday, lending tensions to a neighborhood seemingly plagued by reported flashings and attempted abductions. 

Seattle Public Schools sent a letter home to parents of students saying all three "independent incidents" involved a different man, and happened as students headed to Chief Sealth International High School and Denny International Middle School.

The first reported incident came from a Denny International student, who reported they were walking to school near the corner of Thistle and 25th Avenue SW when they were approached by a white male in his late 40s or early 50s. The man grabbed the student, Stacy Howard of Seattle Public Schools said. However, the student "responded appropriately" and moved to the middle of the road to get away from the man, ran to school and notified officials at the school immediately.

The second incident was reported by a Chief Sealth student who claimed she was walking to school when a white man around 30 years old attempted to "assault and rob" her, Howard said. The student reported the attempted robbery to the school. Little other information about this incident was provided.

A different Chief Sealth student said she was riding a King County Metro bus near her home on the way to school when a white man in his 20s or 30s caught the bus and "attempted to talk to her in a manner that raised concerns," Howard said. She got off the bus and reported the incident to school staff. Seattle police were notified and located the man, who was taken into custody for suspicious circumstances. He was quickly let go after it was determined he had done nothing illegal, Howard said.

Seattle Public Schools said all three incidents allegedly involved different men. All three were reported to Seattle police, and investigations are underway. The school district has contacted the SW Precinct Captain to discuss the incidents and their increased policing efforts around the schools as heightened sensitivities prevail.

The incidents come to an area that has been plagued by reported flashings and lurings in recent years. At least three students have reported they were flashed by men in the past three years, and at least two attempted abductions occurred.

Howard reminded parents to talk to their students about ways to be safe, including encouraging students to walk in pairs or groups at all times, minimizing volume in earbuds and keeping expensive electronics out of sight.