Update: Edmonds police seeking man who threatened five child care centers Monday

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Updated at 6:04 p.m. with additional details.

Edmonds police detectives are looking for a man who made phone threats at five child care centers in different Edmonds neighborhoods Monday afternoon.

During a briefing with the news media Monday, Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Josh McClure said the situation began at around 12:45 p.m. Monday when one of the child care centers received a threat, which was followed by phone threats at the four other locations.

Three of the child care centers were Grow With Us Preschool and Child Care locations — on 84th Avenue West in the 5 Corners neighborhood, on Edmonds Way and on 196th Street Street Southwest. The other two were Great Kids Academy locations in the Lake Ballinger neighborhood — on 76th Avenue West and on 240th Street Southwest.

Edmonds police responded immediately, assisted by officers from the Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace police departments as well as the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. “We provided a presence first of all to make sure everybody was OK, there was nobody injured, there was no suspect at any location,” McClure said.

The scene continued to evolve throughout the afternoon, as the suspect began making more phone calls and making “more significant threats,” McClure said. “There were threats to shoot at the location, there were threats to harm people,” he said. “The threats were graphic. They continued get more and more violent and increasingly hostile.”

Police determined that the calls were coming through a messaging app. A detective was able to have about a half-hour phone conversation with the suspect during the afternoon, McClure said.

“We’re not sure why these businesses are targeted,” McClure said. “This appears to be a coordinated effort to cause fear.”

All of the child care facilities went into lockdown when they became aware of the situation, McClure said. “As we were starting to develop information that there wasn’t an immediate threat, we let them make the determination of how they wanted to handle their business for the rest of the day.”

It will also be up to the child care centers to decide whether they will open for business on Tuesday, he said. “We’ve given them the information we have, which is probably going to continue to evolve overnight. We will do the best we can to provide as much presence as we can.”

“We can’t guarantee there’s no threat until we find this person,” he added. “Until we have this person identified and we have him with us, we can’t say for certain that there isn’t a possibility of violence.”

Because of the nature and escalation of the threats, police are pursuing all leads in an effort to find the suspect, McClure added.

“We are not sure where he is,” McClure said. “But we have not stopped working on this.”

McClure said police don’t know whether the suspect has the ability to carry out the threats he made, but added: “Until we know that for certain, we’re going to act on this matter as if there was a potential for violence to be carried out. We don’t say that to create panic or fear, but we’re also not going to turn our back on something just because it’s not really likely.”

McClure noted that since the situation involved child care centers, it struck a particular nerve with police, many of whom have families of their own. “If you want to get a large police response, threaten children,” he said. “Now we’re going to come find you.”

 

16 Replies to “Update: Edmonds police seeking man who threatened five child care centers Monday”

  1. I’m a parent of 2 kids at one of the grow with us locations. A 4 year old and an 8 year old. I’m upset and worried about taking them to the daycare and the near by school. What can I do?

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  2. How sick in the head do you need to be to threaten children?? I hope the police catch this excuse of a human being ASAP and he is punished to the fullest extent allowed by the law.

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  3. First, At Safeway, they have a spot for police only parking spot because of so much petty crime, then murders, now sexual predators at the Edmonds Community College and the worst is baby’s at day area being threatened…my grandsons there…..no we don’t need more police…..our elected board wants pay raises for a great job they have done…or a marsh…

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  4. Thank you EPD for the swift response and subsequent investigation!!

    Given Sgt. McClure’s statement, “If you want to get a large police response, threaten children”:
    Let’s show EPD a large citizen response, by informing them of anything someone may know, suspect or think is strange regarding a sophisticated threat directed at our children! Let the dedicated professionals @ EPD determine if your information is of value of not.

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  5. Let’s not make this a police issue, let’s make this a leadership issue. These police have a boss and so does the police chief…

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  6. I just would like to know, despite finding out that the suspect is not located in the state of WA if there is still investigation in action. It makes me concerned that someone out of state would pick Edmonds, WA of all places to threaten my children’s safety. My children are enrolled in one of these daycare’s so as expected I am quite on edge about the whole thing. I would like to know what his affiliation is with
    Edmonds, WA and these daycare’s and how do we know for sure that he doesn’t have an accomplice here in Washington state that is going to act on this threat.
    I’m just curious if work is still being done to find this guy and arrest him/charge him with this act.
    Thank you.

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  7. Oh wow. I used to work at Grow With Us. The lives of the children are precious and how sick it is to threaten children. Unacceptable, hope this person will get caught and have an appropriate consequences.

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  8. Has the Edmonds PD sought outside professional advise about best practice to handle this situation which it appears they have not experienced in the past? Let’s do the best for children of Edmonds. Am sure there are other agencies in the State and/or Country with expertise in this area. Let us know what more you are doing about this, and thank you for for all you do!

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  9. An across state lines sort of threat would typically mean getting federal law enforcement involved. With the shutdown on-going, I hope EPD is still able to rely on receiving outside assistance!

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    1. Working without pay is my understanding, “While the head of the FBI agents union said the bureau remains “not political in any way,” he slammed the ongoing government shutdown, calling it “utterly disgusting” that agents are being made to rely on free food in the office in order to eat while they go unpaid.”
      Of course, happy to be corrected if I’m wrong on this!

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  10. We are actively working this investigation and have made contact with investigators from the FBI. There have been multiple cities in the US and at least one in Canada that have received this type of threat since Monday. We will continue to work on our investigation, share information as appropriate and use our resources.

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    1. Thank you for the update. Was very much wondering if there had been other cases like this around the country, so am thankful you were able to share that info!

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