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Bellevue Police Reports Reveal Constant Altercations with Homeless Man Living at Dog Park

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Chris Wilson resides in Bellevue’s Robinswood Dog Park. Depending on who you ask, he’s either a well-known homeless man trying to get by, or an unhinged menace plagued by drug addiction and mental illness.

Wilson is known for his erratic behavior at the park. “For the most part, I avoid him,” says Katherine McCarter who claims she was assaulted by Wilson last month after petting his dog.

McCarter says she “never dreamed that this level of viciousness would come out,” and captured the entire encounter on a body camera.

Bellevue Police officers responded to her call, and separated McCarter and Wilson when they arrived. Body cam footage from McCarter shows her telling officers that Wilson was in her face and she put her hands on his chest to keep him at a distance.

McCarter says the police did not do anything about the situation until she showed them her video.

Ultimately, Wilson was prohibited from the park for seven days, and the Bellevue Police Department referred the case to the city attorney’s office for a misdemeanor assault charge. But Wilson was never taken into custody.

Wilson has had numerous encounters with law enforcement in Bellevue and Kirkland in the last decade, including multiple arrests for theft, driving under the influence, and assault.  Records show that he is constantly calling 911, alleging that he’s being harassed by dog owners at the park.

Heidi Dean, Ashley Salazar, and Justin Hanlon have all had encounters with Wilson. Hanlon described him to me as “a public nuisance,” and all three say there are plenty of other people he has victimized.

I found Wilson living in his SUV at the park recently, and I tried to get his side of the story. Instead of talking with me, he called the police and accused me of harassment.

To complicate matters, Wilson and McCarter have a history prior to their current tension. Back in November, she “genuinely wanted to help” him and allowed him to stay temporarily in her home.

But she says “he started to pick a fight with my husband,” and that their relationship unraveled when she asked him to leave. Since then, things haven’t been the same.

Bellevue officials are aware of the volatile situation, and a city spokesperson says McCarter and Wilson have attended conflict resolution meetings and have been asked to use the park at separate times. The city’s homeless outreach team is trying to help Wilson as well.

So far, none of these efforts are working. McCarter says that at this point, she just wants to be left alone.  “I’m done with this guy and I’m afraid of him,” she tells me. 

McCarter believes it’s only a matter of time before Wilson causes these kinds of problems with someone else. 

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.