‘Real Life Superhero’ Breaks Up Carjacking In Washington State

Originally posted: http://southcapitolstreet.com/2011/01/05/real-life-superhero-breaks-up-carjacking-in-washington-state/
Evil villains looking to prey on the citizens of Lynnwood, Washington, beware: Phoenix Jones is watching.
KIRO Eyewitness News reports that a Lynnwood man, identified only as “Dan,” came “within seconds of having his car broken into” on Sunday when the alleged crook was chased off by a masked crusader. In an incident that local police couldn’t confirm to TPM, Dan told KIRO a man with a metal strip was trying to unlock his car in a parking lot when help showed up out of nowhere.
“From the right, this guy comes dashing in, wearing this skin-tight rubber, black and gold suit, and starts chasing him away,” Dan said.
Dan’s rescuer was Phoenix Jones, a.k.a. Phoenix Jones the Guardian of Seattle, a “Real Life Superhero” and leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement. Almost every night, the 22-year-old Jones, who keeps his real identity a secret, enters a secret compartment in the back of a Lynnwood comic book store and emerges, in uniform, to patrol the streets. (Watch video of Jones in action here.) His suit includes a bullet-proof vest and “stab plates,” and he carries a taser nightstick, mace and tear gas. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Jones also sports a “ballistic cup.”
“I symbolize that the average person doesn’t have to walk around and see bad things and do nothing,” Jones said. He told KIRO that since he began his patrols nine months ago, he has been stabbed and had guns drawn on him.
Jones isn’t alone in his crime-fighting enthusiasm. There’s an entire movement of Real Life Superheroes out there, across the country. Activities appear to range from handing homeless people water bottles to actually stepping in and trying to stop violent crime. The website rlsh-manual.com defines a Real Life Superhero as “whoever chooses to embody the values presented in superheroic comic books, not only by donning a mask/costume, but also performing good deeds for the communitarian place whom he inhabits.” Reallifesuperheroes.org urges visitors to “Let out your inner superhero and join or support our cause.”
But not everyone is ready to credit Jones with thwarting a Real Life Evildoer. When TPM contacted the Lynnwood Police Department, Public Information Officer Shannon Sessions said the department was aware of the “superheroes,” but could not confirm the incident this week.
“I know there was a story on it–but I can’t confirm that it’s true and that it actually happened,” Sessions said in an email. She even suggested that KIRO may have been “punked.”
A commenter on The Real Life Superhero Forum suggested the Lynnwood incident was staged.
“Staged… bunk,” wrote a member named Artisteroi in response to the Forum founder’s posting of the KIRO story. “[A]nd does anyone notice that his suit keeps getting more and more elaborate? Someone is funding this guy. That suit was made in Hollywood basement.”
Back in November, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that the Seattle police had made contact with the Rain City Superhero Movement. A source gave the Post-Intelligencer the names of the eight other members of the Movement: Thorn, Buster Doe, Green Reaper, Gemini, No Name, Catastrophe, Thunder 88 and Penelope.

Police say the “costume-wearing complainants” are lucky they haven’t been hurt.
In one instance, police say a caped crusader dressed in black was nearly shot when he came running out of a dark park. In another case, a witness on Capitol Hill saw the crusaders wearing ski masks in a car parked at a Shell station and thought they were going to rob the place.

Seattle Police spokesman Jeff Kappel told the paper “[t]here’s nothing wrong with citizens getting involved with the criminal justice process — as long as they follow it all the way through.” But the article describes an incident on November 4 where police responded to a scene where Jones and other apparent Movement members were in a stand-off with a man making threatening statements and swinging a golf club. The “costume-wearing complainants” declined to press charges, to prevent revealing their secret identities. As a result, The Club Swinger walked.
TPM also found an interview Jones did in November with a blogger named Tea Krulos. In it, Jones describes his background in martial arts, and says the other members of the Rain City Superhero Movement “all have either military backgrounds or MMA training.”
“Phoenix Jones…people believe Phoenix Jones may help them,” Phoenix Jones told Krulos. “I mean they know they can’t count on it 100 percent, because it’s so random, but they know it is possible.”

Seattle's real-life superheroes: An instant guide

Originally posted: http://theweek.com/article/index/209642/seattles-real-life-superheroes-an-instant-guide
A group of self-described “superheroes” have been prowling the streets of Seattle claiming to save people from crime. Who are these costumed crusaders?
Move over, Watchmen. A real-life collective of costumed superheroes has taken to the streets of Seattle to fight for law and order. The Rain City Superhero Movement prowls the city late at night performing good deeds. But Seattle police worry that the amateur crime fighters could end up being seriously injured. Here’s a quick guide to what the caped vigilantes are doing:
Who are these masked men and women?
Seattle investigators have identified nine costumed individuals: Buster Doe, Catastrophe, Gemini, Green Reaper, No Name, Penelope, Phoenix Jones the Guardian of Seattle, Thorn, and Thunder 88. Phoenix Jones, a 22-year-old man who patrols the street in a black cape, fedora, white belt, and mask, revealed his real identity to Seattle police in early November. He is normally driven around by a woman who, wearing no costume, stays in the car while he performs his superhero duties. “So far, no confirmation if this is actually his mom,” says Alison Nastasi at Cinematical.
What do they do?
For the most part, they appear to drive around the city looking for fights to stop. One pair of “heroes” wearing ski masks was spotted in a parked Kia Fate that was later traced to the godmother of one of the “characters.” Another group of vigilantes were discovered by police “dealing with” an angry, golf-club-wielding man. The cops confiscated the club, but none of the anonymous superheroes wanted to press charges for fear of being identified.
Do they have any formal training?
“Everyone on my team either has a military background or a mixed martial arts background,” the man known as Phoenix Jones told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “We’re well aware of what it costs to do what we do.” Jones told police he regularly wears body armor and a bulletproof vest when patrolling the streets. Other members of the “Movement” carry Tasers, nightsticks, and pepper spray. They say they do not carry guns.
What do the police think?
“Seattle police think they’re silly at best, dangerous at worst,” says Curtis Cartier at Seattle Weekly. One masked vigilante was almost shot by cops after running out of a darkened park, for example. Police say they would rather the costumed avengers help testify against criminals than put themselves in danger.
How do they find out about crimes?
That remains a mystery, says Cartier at Seattle Weekly. “They may have police scanners, they may have inside sources, or simply Internet access to the SPD police blog.” What they don’t have, yet, is a “skyward pointed spotlight of any kind.”
Who are they?
No one knows, but it hasn’t stopped some Seattle types from guessing. Like Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) and Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), “could the men behind the masks be local Seattle millionaires?” wonders the Belltown Blogger. “It’s interesting to imagine Bill Gates or Paul Allen doling out a bit of vigilante justice in our neighborhood.”
Sources: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (2), Seattle Weekly