Updated 11:20 a.m.: The Seattle Times is reporting the suspect arrested early this morning is Kevin Todd Swalwell, and a second person of interest was arrested about 11 a.m. today. According to the King County Jail Register, Swalwell, age 46, was booked this morning on investigation of arson. The Times reports Swalwell has an extensive criminal history, including two felony arson convictions.
Seattle Police says a person of interest is in custody connected to the string of Greenwood arsons. A police spokesperson tells PhinneyWood that investigators discovered him in the vicinity of a large fire in an abandoned warehouse in Shoreline overnight. KIRO 7 is reporting that fire has now been determined to be arson. KING 5 has video of the arrest, which took place at 158th and Aurora, 12 blocks away from the fire in Shoreline:
SPD says it’s unclear if he’s connected to the Shoreline fire, but they have information to believe he may be connected to one or more of the Greenwood fires. He’s currently being questioned. The SPD spokesperson declined to say whether the man was being followed by investigators.
Firefighters rush down their ladder as flames quickly approach it during the early morning fire which destroyed N.W. Discount World near Aurora Avenue North and North 170th Street in Shoreline. (Photo by Cliff Despeaux, courtesy of the Seattle Times. More photos of the Shoreline fire here.) A Shoreline fire spokesperson called it “the biggest fire in recent memory.” There were no injuries, and fire investigators have yet to determine a cause. Aurora Avenue is closed at the fire scene. The Times has more coverage on the Shoreline blaze.
“It would sure be nice if this puts a stop to it all,” Taproot’s Producing Artistic Director Scott Nolte said moments after hearing the news. “I hope it puts an end to it all. It would certainly let people start sleeping, and let the business people put it aside and concentrate on letting the neighborhood get rebuilt, instead of nightly patrols.” Taproot Theatre was heavily damaged in the October 23rd fire that completely destroyed four other businesses in Central Greenwood.
There are 14 unsolved arsons to date, the vast majority in the Greenwood neighborhood area. You can see the fires plotted on a map here.