A now-deceased suspect of a brutal homicide in Seattle is reportedly a repeat offender who has been booked at least 46 times in the past four years.
Authorities responded to a homicide in Seattle on Wednesday afternoon inside Cal Anderson Park — the area formerly known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHOP). First responders were unable to revive the unresponsive female victim and declared her deceased. According to police, “officers received reports of a man who had broken into the Pump House on the west side of the park” around the same time.
“After speaking with witnesses, officers determined that the man and the woman had a domestic relationship and had been staying in a makeshift shelter in the park earlier in the night,” according to authorities. While officers attempted to establish communication with the man, he barricaded himself in the building. After midnight, SWAT entered the building and discovered the suspect “inside at the bottom of a 10 foot tank, which contained approximately 50 gallons of 12 percent bleach solution”:
Update to Cal Anderson homicide investigation, barricaded subject found deceased inside building. https://t.co/ZuokJdCIsS https://t.co/CKk0FCQlbS
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) September 17, 2020
The investigation is ongoing, but the suspect is believed to be Travis Berge, a prolific homeless man in Seattle who was, last year, included on a list “sponsored by a Seattle-area business association” of 100 repeat offenders:
SPD now confirming that the person barricaded is also the homicide suspect. The person barricaded, according to video, is Travis B. Travis was one of the top frequent offenders featured here (pg. 31): https://t.co/HpTa62mxyO https://t.co/M0OPKeQb7A
— Scott Lindsay (@splindsay) September 17, 2020
Video shows officers calling to "Travis." Source confirms that is Travis Berge. Travis was one of the top frequent offenders on Capitol Hill and Downtown and has been apparently a fixture of CHOP/CHAZ. Cannot confirm yet that he is primary suspect of tonight's homicide. https://t.co/lZQbjg1NwK
— Scott Lindsay (@splindsay) September 17, 2020
Thread: According to sources this is the suspect in tonight's "incident" in Cal Anderson Park that is being investigated as a homicide Travis Berge from @komonews Seattle is dying 'fame' pic.twitter.com/VOTRnjAC3H
— Ari Hoffman (@thehoffather) September 17, 2020
“I love methamphetamines,” Berge said in a February 2019 interview. At the time, KOMO News reported that he had been booked in the jail 46 times “and had been convicted of 34 various crimes, mostly misdemeanors.”
“I’ve only been arrested one time my entire life before I came here,” he added. “I came here with a girl and a van full of equipment and stuff. Six months later the van and my stuff was gone, stolen. I lost the girl too.”
The Post Millennial reported that “Berge’s celebrity in Seattle stems from the release of a KOMO News documentary Seattle Is Dying. Notably, he was also arrested during the existence of CHOP for “failure to disperse.”
“Berge is regularly arrested then ‘diverted to treatment,’ a common practice in Seattle, but he does not appear for those services. Instead, upon release from law enforcement, he has continued to offend,” the Post Millennial added.
KOMO detailed this pattern:
During his arraignment, Superior Court Judge Veronica Alicea-Galvan said she would let him go back on the street until his trial on the condition that he would report to Community Center for Alternative Programs, known as CCAP Enhanced every day.
The program is a well-known counseling program that requires participants to check-in with a counselor daily, either by phone and or in person, at the offices on Yesler Way — one block away from the King County jail.
Berge says he showed up at CCAP the following day but the staff didn’t let him in because of how he was dressed. Two days later, surveillance video at CCAP allegedly catches Berge breaking five of the windows in the middle of the night.
Critics have long warned against the “catch and release” policies that repeatedly put criminals back on the streets. This issue rose to the national spotlight over the summer after officials ordered certain criminals released from prisons due to coronavirus-related concerns. Some of those released went on to commit other heinous crimes following their release. Cornelius Haney, a convicted felon, was among those released, per Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’s (D) executive order freeing inmates over increased concerns over the novel coronavirus spreading rapidly in detention facilities. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the death of 21-year-old Heather Perry within a month of his release.
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