Assailants robbed and hit two victims in the face with a handgun Saturday morning in the University District, just days after police arrested a suspect allegedly involved in similar robberies occurring the week before.
According to Seattle police, two victims were walking home from a party at 1:36 a.m. when two male suspects appeared from the bushes in the 5600 block of 15th Avenue NE and confronted them. One of the suspects brandished a semi-automatic handgun. The suspect carrying the handgun hit both victims in the face with the weapon, police said, before robbing one victim's cellphone, wallet and keys.
The victims were not seriously injured. The suspects fled by foot southbound on 16th Avenue. Police called to the scene could not find the suspects.
The incident was strikingly similar to a string of robberies on Sept. 29 in the University District when multiple men robbed victims at gunpoint before pistol-whipping them in the back of the head.
Police arrested a 29-year-old suspect boarding a Metro bus Monday in West Seattle in connection with the previous robberies. He was interviewed and booked into the King County Jail.
The suspects in Saturday morning's assaults were described as black males in their early 20s. Both wore navy or black hooded sweatshirts, police said.
Anyone with information on the robberies should call 911.
The rash of recent robberies has students and area residents changing the way they view their beloved neighborhood. Hanna Sasaki, a University of Washington student, said neither she or her sorority sisters ever walk alone.
"Whenever we go out anywhere it's important for us to stay with a buddy or anyone else from our house to go anywhere out at night," she said. "Especially at night because it's so dangerous."
Area resident Kate Pope said she's surprised the normally quiet neighborhood has taken a turn in the last few weeks.
"It's a very nice, quiet neighborhood," Pope said. "So this is very unusual to be reading about those pistol whippings that have been going on."
The University of Washington provides a free service for campus employees and students to walk around with a security guard. To get the service, students can call (206) 685-WALK.