Fort Steilacoom unsafe at night, police caution
STACEY MULICK; The News Tribune
Lakewood police are warning residents to stay out of Fort Steilacoom Park at night after 23 people were victimized in three attacks last week. The people – who told police they didn’t know their attackers – were beaten with sticks, threatened with a machete or robbed of their cell phones, wallets or shoes during incidents after the park closed Tuesday and Wednesday, police Lt. Dave Guttu said.
“People should be aware that they are really putting themselves in danger in the park after dark,” he said.
No arrests have been reported but investigators suspect the same attackers – a group of seven to eight men in their teens to early 20s – might be behind the incidents. Guttu said detectives have leads they are following.
The attackers told their victims they were Juggalos, devoted fans of the Detroit rap group Insane Clown Posse.
“We haven’t confirmed that but that’s what they are claiming,” Guttu said.
Police say they are aware of local youths who claim to be part of the Juggalo subculture but have seen no violence from them.
“Apparently, they are escalating in violence,” Guttu said.
In the incidents, the attackers approached a group of people in the park and stole their wallets and cell phones. One attacker used a machete to intimidate the victims, Guttu said. They beat up at least three people using sticks and took the shoes of some victims.
The incidents occurred after midnight, long after the dusk closing time of the park.
“All the victims were in the park outside the posted rules,” Guttu said.
More than a dozen uniformed and plainclothes officers have conducted three operations in the park since the attacks. The officers have made contacts with visitors. They have written tickets for those who were in the park after hours (a $500 fine) and for possession of marijuana.