Case supervisor murdered with the aid of client as police organizations trust changing officers with social worker’s

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SEATTLE — It’s trending. Many police groups are in view that dispatching social employees to deal with quite a lot of calls. Some have already applied programs to do this very component.

Yet Seattle just experienced a murder that serves as a reminder why this is commonly a bad theory.

Man snaps

more than two weeks before Hans Van-Belkum turned into accused of fatally stabbing his case supervisor on the Lewiston apartments in Belltown on Monday, he bought a defense force-grade knife from a surplus store a half-block from his home, according to King County prosecutors.

The knife was apparently purchased above all to kill Kristin Benson, 42, who turned into found face down on her office floor with the knife buried in her back, say prosecutors, who on Wednesday charged Van-Belkum with premeditated first-diploma murder, Seattle times reported.

Van-Belkum, who changed into arrested 5 hours after the fatal knife assault, changed into also charged Wednesday with 2nd-degree assault, accused of time and again punching an extra group of workers member before he fled the building.

He remains in custody on the King County detention center in lieu of $1 million bail, penitentiary records demonstrate. he is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 9.


Seattle instances outlined the case as follows:

Seattle police answered to a document of a stabbing simply before 11 a.m. Monday and located Benson’s physique on the floor of her office. Witnesses identified Van-Belkum as her attacker.

Video-surveillance pictures from the hallway outside Benson’s workplace shows a man, who become carrying two grocery bags, turned into buzzed into the constructing by way of a body of workers member. He walked to Benson’s office, where he put the luggage on the flooring and pulled a large knife out from below his coat, then rapidly entered the room, according to the fees.

A co-employee later told police she heard Benson’s screams and ran to her office, the place she identified the attacker and noticed him making “punching/stabbing motions” as Benson lay face down on the ground. The co-employee turned and ran lower back to her office with the armed man in pursuit.

The surveillance footage suggests the person fell, then attempted to spoil down the co-worker’s locked workplace door, say the costs. As he lower back to Benson’s workplace, another co-employee opened her door however immediately closed and locked it.

“The defendant then reentered the victim’s office the place he, at a minimal, plunged his knife into the sufferer’s back,” a Seattle police detective wrote within the prices.

the man tossed his grocery baggage into the workplace and punched one other team of workers member, riding the team of workers member to the ground before a resident pulled him off, the costs say. He then left the building.

Police say Van-Belkum became donning the same clothes as the attacker considered in the video-surveillance photos when he turned into arrested hours later within the 2300 block of Elliott Avenue, based on the expenses. His outfits, which perceived to have blood on them, have been taken as facts.

right through the investigation, police also got video-surveillance photos that confirmed Van-Belkum deciding to buy the knife used within the assault from a defense force surplus keep on Nov. 7, in accordance with the expenses.

An post-mortem later revealed Benson had been stabbed 12 times; eight of the stab wounds were to her lower back and three of those wounds by myself would have been deadly, the fees say.

Prosecutor’s feedback

“The murder of Ms. Benson turned into horrifying, an unarmed victim, trapped in her own office, unable to get away or combat lower back towards the defendant’s rage and blade,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Dan Raz wrote in charging papers. “Equally terrifying changed into the defendant’s willingness to violently attack others who came to Ms. Benson’s assistance.”

Raz referred to Van-Belkum chased one of Benson’s colleagues with the knife however he slipped and fell, enabling her to lock herself in her office. but for that, Van-Belkum might have been dealing with a 2nd homicide can charge and the neighborhood can be mourning “a second particular person who had committed their lives to helping the less fortunate in our metropolis,” Raz wrote.

Low-income housing

The Lewiston apartments, discovered in the 2200 block of First Avenue, is a low-income housing facility operated with the aid of the Plymouth Housing community. The company tested prior this week the woman killed turned into a full-time housing case supervisor.

Van-Belkum turned into an eight-12 months resident of the constructing, and Seattle police later found a observe in his condominium that indicated he believed Benson changed into attempting to have him evicted, say the fees. The court docket documents don’t tackle whether an eviction become really deliberate. He doesn’t seem to have any prior criminal convictions, based on the times.


youngsters Benson’s homicide become not the outcomes of a brand new software to “reimagine” policing, it readily serves as a reminder as to why it’s a awful idea to dispatch social workers on definite requires service.

Van-Belkum reportedly doesn’t have a criminal listing. moreover, a note was found out in his residence that indicated he believed Benson, a full-time housing case supervisor, became attempting to evict him.

last summer the St. Petersburg Police department in Florida developed a program a good way to dispatch a community suggestions Liaison (CAL) crew member (social worker) to the following calls for provider:

  • Disorderly intoxication
  • Drug overdose
  • Intoxicated grownup
  • mental health crisis
  • Suicide disaster
  • intellectual fitness transport
  • Disorderly juvenile/truancy
  • Disorderly juvenile at basic faculties
  • Panhandling
  • Homeless complaints
  • regional dispute

If Van-Belkum lived in St. Petersburg (or any metropolis deploying social employees) and dialed 911, his situations would have doubtless qualified for a “CAL team member” response.

while a huge percent of these calls may also be handled peacefully, the described situations can additionally become combustible and unpredictable. i.e. Van-Belkum. To what diploma is the company assuming legal responsibility by inserting a social employee in harm’s way? To what diploma is a social employee inclined to put him or herself during this sort of vicarious place? additionally, how many times will the social worker need to demand police information? Will law enforcement assist arrive in time?

it’s certainly Russian Roulette. situations can become risky with little to no warning, and absent purple flags that would trigger a legislation enforcement response. street police officers take care of inflammatory instances all the time–and we do not hear about it unless a powder keg explodes. So police companies deserve to be extremely cautious about “reimagining” their capabilities as so many cities are traumatic.

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