After weeks of speculation, frustrated local drivers and damaged property, the man suspected of allegedly throwing rocks and debris at passing vehicles on State Route 900 between Renton and Issaquah has been arrested.
Around 10:30 a.m. Sept. 27, multiple Washington State Patrol troopers took Shawn L. Perantie, 55, into custody without issue as the suspect was walking on SR 900 near 164th Street. Perantie was arrested and charged with felony malicious mischief in the second degree and reckless endangerment, after vehicle damage allegedly caused by the suspect amounted to be over $2,200.
Local drivers who frequent SR 900 had been posting about and discussing a “rock thrower” or “rock lobber” on social media sites like Facebook and NextDoor for some time — complete with photographs and descriptions of the alleged rock thrower’s behavior.
An active campaign was started to reach out to various local media sources, which eventually led to the arrest.
“The community was very active and I think that’s what caught the attention of the media, and with that extra coverage, we were able to get people to call in to us,” said Washington State Trooper Rick Johnson. “We need probable cause, so through coverage and the community, we were able to investigate and arrest him.”
In Washington state, malicious mischief in the second degree is a class C felony and punishable with up to five years in jail that can include or be an alternative to a fine of up to $10,000. Reckless endangerment is considered a gross misdemeanor with a maximum punishment being 364 days in county jail that can include or be an alternative to a fine of up to $5,000.
The same day of the arrest, Perantie was also formally charged by the state with obstructing a law enforcement officer and disorderly conduct. These charges come after an encounter between Perantie and Washington State Patrol on Aug. 29 that resulted in Perantie being handcuffed, questioned by police and then released.
According to police reports by officers Anthony S. Marquez and David Smith, multiple 911 calls were made about a pedestrian jumping in front of vehicles and waving their arms at traffic on SR-900 and May Valley Road.
After Marquez and Smith arrived on the scene, they found Perantie walking on the side of the road. The reports allege that Perantie was initially noncompliant and that the officers needed to force him to the ground.
Once Perantie was in handcuffs, the officers “observed a weathered handgun” that had fallen out of his backpack, though Perantie claimed that he had found the gun — which was seperated into two pieces — on the side of the road.
After a supervisor arrived on the scene, it was determined that Perantie would be released and that the handgun would be placed into evidence. In Officer Smith’s report, it states that Perantie admitted to to jumping in front of cars.
“I asked him if he was suicidal and he quickly said he was not but that he was doing this because he always walks on this road and he feels that cars drive too closely to him and do not have regard for pedestrians,” Smith wrote. “Perantie elaborated that he gets close to the cars in an attempt to scare them so they think about pedestrians next time they are driving.”
Like reckless endangerment, obstructing a law enforcement officer is a gross misdemeanor while disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor, which is punishable with up to 90 days in jail or a fine of $1,000.
Perantie does have prior convictions, including 4th degree assault, violation of no contact order, driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license in the first and second degree, violation of intentional infliction of emotional distress and making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.
Perantie’s bail has been set at $50,000 and his arriagnment is scheduled for Oct. 13 at the King County Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.