Police: Gangster pistol whipped, stripped man behind local bar

SEATTLE -- A leader of a Seattle gang suspected of pistol whipping and stripping a rival behind a Capitol Hill bowling alley and bar now faces federal gun crimes.

Already on federal probation, Jimmy Gene Miller, Jr., remains only a suspect in the June beating; the victim, who was found naked and unconscious in an alley behind The Garage, now claims he may not even have been attacked.

Instead, federal prosecutors contend Miller - a 28-year-old known to friends and police as "Jimmy-Jam" - has been charged with unlawful gun possession, a crime for which he previously served a lengthy prison term.

Miller's trouble with the law began when he was 11, and he garnered his first adult felony conviction at 18 after he was caught dealing cocaine. Since then, Miller has bounced in and out of custody.

In 2008, Seattle police arrested him with bags of marijuana and $3,300 in cash at the corner of 23rd Avenue East and East Union Street, the corner that lends its name to the East Union Street Hustlers, the gang set to which Miller belongs. Miller was arrested again shortly thereafter with a stolen pistol and half an ounce of cocaine, and ultimately charged in federal court.

Sentenced to five years in prison, Miller was released in February and put under the supervision of a federal probation officer.

Just before 1 a.m. on June 13, Seattle police were called to The Garage after a naked, unconscious man was found in the alley behind the Capitol Hill bar and bowling alley.

Speaking with witnesses to the incident, investigators came to believe Miller forced the other man from the bar and pistol whipped him in the alley. Miller is alleged to have stripped the other man - described by police as a member of another Central District gang - before fleeing the scene.

The detective asserted Miller displayed a pistol while ushering the other man from the bar. Witnesses identified Miller as the assailant.

Writing the court, a Seattle detective said the East Union Street Hustlers and the other man's gang, Valley Hood Piru, are currently feuding. Miller is described by prosecutors as a "self-proclaimed leader" of the East Union Street Hustlers.

Court records indicate Miller has numerous gang-related tattoos, as well as the words "Central" and "District" inked on his forearms. According to prosecutors' statements in earlier cases, he described himself as "The Captain" in a jailhouse letter to Tirone Finkley, a Seattle man killed during a drug-related robbery.

Miller had been suspected in two earlier shootings. Those investigations were dropped after witnesses refused to cooperate.

The pistol-whipped man was taken from the scene to Harborview Medical Center, where he was treated for head trauma. Speaking with police two weeks after the incident, the man denied having any trouble with Miller.

"He said that he does not believe that Miller assaulted and stripped him naked, or that he was assaulted at all," the Seattle detective told the court, describing his interview with the injured man. "He attributes the fact that he was left naked in the alley, if it happened at all, to being drunk and urinating on his clothing."

The detective went on to describe the man as "afraid" and "not credible."

Police searching the area investigated a car similar to one seen leaving the bar following the beating. According to charging papers, they found the injured man's wallet inside the vehicle.

The man's clothing was found in another car belonging to Thomas Callendret, another East Union Street Hustler with a federal rap sheet, the Seattle detective told the court.

According to charging papers, Miller spotted walking away from Callendret's car and was arrested. Unarmed, Miller was wearing clothes similar to those described by witnesses at The Garage.

Officers later recovered a .40 cal. pistol from the car in which the injured man's wallet was found. Federal prosecutors now contend Miller possessed that pistol.

Currently in federal custody, Miller remains under investigation for the purported assault. He has been charged with unlawful gun possession.