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News / Northwest

Men charged with hate crimes in home invasions targeting Asian residents

By Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times
Published: March 1, 2024, 7:49am

SEATTLE — Two men who have been jailed since September on gun charges are now facing hate crime and burglary charges for their alleged roles in Seattle and Renton home invasions targeting Asian residents.

Seattle police have previously said groups of three to seven armed assailants committed 14 home-invasion robberies between June and August in four South Seattle ZIP codes. The investigation is ongoing.

Javez Tubbs, 32, and Demarcus Pate, 28, were arrested in September along with two other men and a 16-year-old boy who are all believed to be members of the same robbery crew.

While the teenager was charged at the time with robbery, burglary and other crimes,the adult suspects were each charged with varying counts of a firearm charge, depending on the number of guns police found in their homes, court records show.

Police have since linked Pate to three home invasions and Tubbs to two of the three committed in roughly 1 1/2 hours early June 25 in Seattle and Renton, according to charges filed Feb. 23. In two of the cases, the home invaders yelled “Seattle police” before kicking down doors to gain entry, say the charges filed against Tubbs and Pate.

The men were both charged with first-degree burglary, third-degree assault and a hate crime, accused of pistol whipping one resident because of their perceptions of the man’s race, according to the charges.

“The armed intruders took more than $20,000, handbags and watches from the three burglary scenes,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Ian Michels-Slettvet wrote in charging papers. “The June 25 burglaries happened within the context of a pattern of home invasions across the Puget Sound that targeted Asian households, causing significant trauma and fear for Asian community members.”

The 75-page document detailing the investigation into the June 25 home invasions shows detectives used cellphone records, video surveillance footage, physical surveillance and other tactics to identify the masked intruders.

Four armed suspects forced their way into five upstairs studio apartments in the 2800 block of South Hanford Street just before 1 a.m., the charges say. The intruders identified themselves as Seattle police, kicked in the doors and ransacked the units, holding some of the residents at gunpoint, say the charges.

One man was held on the floor with his arm bent behind his back, according to the charges, and a second man who had been in the apartments’ shared kitchen when he spotted an armed intruder escaped out of a window.

About 45 minutes later, a couple was awaked by a loud commotion at their front door in the 5300 block of 12th Avenue South, which is about 2 1/2 miles from the South Hanford Street burglary scene.

As the couple went to investigate the noise, they were met outside of their bedroom by four armed and masked intruders, the charges say. When the couple, who speak limited English, were slow to comply with the intruders’ demands for cash and jewelry, one of them struck the husband in the head with the barrel of a gun, causing an injury above one eye, according to the charges. The couple were held at gunpoint as the intruders searched their house for valuables, ultimately making off with cash, say the charges.

After the intruders fled, the couple called their adult son, who dialed 911 and reported the home invasion on his parents’ behalf, according to the charges.

Half an hour later, Renton police responded to a burglary at the son’s house in the 500 block of Jericho Avenue Northeast, where his wife and child were awaked by pounding on their front door, the charges say.

The assailants restrained the woman in her bedroom as they ransacked the house, stealing cash, handbags and Amazon packages, according to the charges. The child heard the commotion and sent a text to his father, who had presumably left to check on his parents.

Video from the Renton burglary showed five assailants kick open the door, with one of them stating, “Seattle police,” the charges say.

Seattle police later obtained T-Mobile records that showed four cellphones at two or more of the three burglary scenes, which ultimately gave detectives a starting point for figuring out who the devices belonged to, according to the charges.

Tubbs, who was connected to the 12th Avenue South and Renton burglaries, was arrested Sept. 27 at an apartment in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood. When police searched his unit, they found $13,500 in cash, a large amount of foreign currency, shoes that matched those worn by one of the home invaders in the Renton video footage, a 9 mm handgun, identification documents that bore the names of people of apparent Asian ancestry, and multiple notebooks containing hundreds of addresses, the charges say.

Officers also found a $40,000 check with the Renton victim’s name and address on it, stolen during a different burglary at his wife’s relative’s house, according to the charges. The Renton victim’s name also appeared in the margin of one of Tubbs’ notebooks, next to the relative’s address, say the charges.

Pate, who was linked to all three June 25 home invasions, was also arrested Sept. 27 at his girlfriend’s Tacoma apartment, the charges say. He was wearing a necklace with a distinctive pendant that one of the five assailants was wearing in the video footage from the Renton burglary, according to the charges.

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Police found two handguns — one of them with an extended magazine — inside the apartment, the charges say.

Pate and Tubbs both have prior criminal convictions that bar them from possessing firearms. They both pleaded not guilty to the gun charges in October, court records show.

They’re scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges March 7 and each remain jailed in lieu of $3 million bail.