NWCN is carrying the live press conference on the Greenwood arson investigation by the Seattle Police Department, Seattle Fire Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. KING 5 is also streaming it live. It was scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., but started about 10 minutes late.
I’m posting live updates below.
1:40 p.m.: Seattle Police Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer: “This will be a real unusual press conference in that there’s not a whole lot we can tell you.” They don’t want to jeopardize the successful prosecution of the suspect.
“This crime spree has struck such fear in the hearts of decent citizens in this city and in the Greenwood neighborhood.”
Seattle Fire Department Asst. Chief. A.D. Vickery: “We can’t thank the Greenwood community enough for their active involvement and participation.”
Asst. Chief A.D. Vickery: The last six Seattle firefighters killed in the line of duty were killed by an arsonist. “That’s why this is a personal matter for us in the fire service and why we understand the fear in our community.”
Asst. Chief A.D. Vickery: “We’re exceptionally happy that there has been a break in this case. And I want to reiterate that break is because of citizen involvement, it’s because of your police and fire departments and federal agencies.”
Arson patrols will continue while investigation is active. There is a sense of relief, but don’t let your guard down.
Kelvin Crenshaw of ATF: “Every time he strikes that match it leaves human lives hanging in the balance.”
Crenshaw says there have been 68 arsons in the Greenwood area in last two years; 17 in last two months. But they can’t say yet how many of those Swalwell is responsible for. “Hopefully we’ve reached the end of the road in arson fires in the Greenwood area.”
Seattle Police Department Asst. Chief Paul McDonagh: “This case is active and ongoing.”
Early this morning, members of the Greenwood Arson Task Force were enroute to the Shoreline fire when they saw a person of interest. They radioed that to Seattle Police, who detained the man for questioning. “This person has been seen in the vicinity of three other set fires.”
During questioning at police headquarters, he provided information that led detectives to believe he was involved in the Greenwood arsons.
Kevin Todd Swalwell, 46, was subsequently booked into the King County Jail on suspicion of arson.
A second person of interest was detained late this morning, identified, questioned and then released.
“The detectives believe that Swalwell is responsible for some if not all of the Greenwood arsons.”
“These conclusions are based on eyewitness testimony, forensic evidence, and information from the subject.”
Seattle Police working with King County Prosecutors Office to file charges as soon as possible. SPD is asking for more information to be called into the arson tipline – 1-800-55-ARSON. “The tipline was a factor in identifying the person of interest.”
“Our patrols will continue to ensure the community’s safety.”
“We have no reason to believe at this point that there will be a copycat.”
Police say they don’t have any idea of a motive yet, and they can’t release any more information because they don’t want to jeopardize the investigation.
Asst. Chief A.D. Vickery reminds everyone that whether a fire is intentionally set or accidental, the results can be the same. Make sure you have a working smoke detector, clean up any debris near your home or business, have an escape plan. “These are all very practical things that you and I and our community…can do every day to protect ourselves from fire.”