Crime

Police Beat: Hit and run, funny money and a debate over a dog

March 8: The official phrase describing the incident was “a mutual combatant type situation.”

In real-world terms, it translated to a hit and run, a chase to a day care parking lot and a knock-down, drag-out fight.

The dispatch call started with reports of a collision and a scuffle between two men, possibly involving a knife. Multiple officers drove to the intersection of South 96th and Steele streets. They found a 19-year-old man with a bloody nose and a 48-year-old man who admitted throwing the punch that caused it. Multiple witnesses lingered at the scene. Officers interviewed and sorted out the mess.

The 19-year-old, driving a green 1996 Geo Prizm, had taken a left turn and slammed into the side of the older man’s car, a white 2000 Ford Mustang convertible.

Following the collision, the Geo took off. The Mustang followed. The chase led to a parking lot. The older driver tried to block the Geo’s exit route, but the younger driver squeezed the Geo away and stalled.

The older man ran toward the Geo, opened the driver’s door and told the younger man he couldn’t leave. That started the fight. The two men struggled, punching each other with fists.

One witness tried to intervene, telling the two men to stop fighting. Another witness shouted back, that he deserved to get beaten.

By now, the two men had rolled into some bushes. The older man was choking the younger man and holding him down. The witness who told them to stop fighting fled. She told officers she didn’t want to witness a murder. Another witness — officers couldn’t figure out who — waded into the struggle and fired a shot of pepper spray. The men separated at that point, as officers arrived.

The 19-year-old told police he hadn’t fled from the collision. He said the older guy came at him, pulled him out of the car and attacked him.

The older man told a different story. He said the 19-year-old came at him, told him he was leaving and tried to run away.

Following interviews with witnesses and the two men, officers arrested the 19-year-old and booked him into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor hit and run.

March 11: The $10 bill was authentic as a politician’s smile. The Tacoma man tried to buy a pack of smokes with it.

The convenience store clerk, no stranger to funny money, felt the fake texture instantly. He traced an ink line across the bill. The colors didn’t change. The clerk called police.

Officers drove to the store in the 3800 block of McKinley Avenue East. They looked at the fake bill and spoke to the man, who was 24.

The man admitted offering the fake bill. He said he sold a man a watch about three days earlier. The buyer didn’t pay right away, but promised to come up with $10 in a few days. A few days passed, and the buyer handed the man the fake bill.

“It was folded up, and I couldn’t tell it was fake,” the man said.

Who gave him the fake money?

The man didn’t know the buyer’s name. It was a man, he said. That was all he knew.

“I waited for you to get here,” the man said. “I did the right thing.”

Officers booked the man into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of counterfeiting.

March 12: The dog was off the leash, and the neighbor didn’t like that.

The dog’s owner was 24. She and a friend were sitting in the friend’s backyard with their children and the dog. The kids wanted to go to a book fair nearby, so the owner walked her dog — without a leash — to her own backyard, intending to put it inside.

As she reached the driveway, she saw a man standing nearby in the neighbor’s driveway.

“It’s OK,” the woman said. “He’s friendly.”

The neighbor didn’t react. But another neighbor, a 47-year-old woman, walked out of her back door and started yelling about the state leash law.

The younger woman said she understood. The older woman came closer and shouted, “Yeah, you better understand,” adding a curse for good measure.

The younger woman walked away and put her dog inside. When she walked back out, she saw her friend and the older woman standing toe to toe in the driveway.

The 24-year-old tried to separate the two. The older woman slapped her across the face. The younger woman backed away. The older woman stepped forward, calling her names, and spat in her face.

The younger woman yelled at the older woman. The older woman slapped her two more times, knocking her glasses off. The younger woman called police.

Officers drove to the 6100 block of 29th Street Northeast and untangled the dispute. The younger woman’s neighbor confirmed the story of the fight.

The older woman said she wasn’t the aggressor. She said the younger woman called her a racial name and spat in her face. She said the two women didn’t like her because she was black. She denied hitting the younger woman.

It was a two-to-one account. Officers arrested the older woman and booked her into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.

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