Teen: They attacked him like they had attacked me

Teen: They attacked him like they had attacked me
Tuba Man Edward McMichael. (Photo: Scott Eklund / Seattle Post-Intelligencer / 2007)
SEATTLE -- The three 15-year-old boys linked to the beating deaths of the local icon know as "Tuba Man" have been charged in the beating and robbery of two other teens on the night of the alleged Tuba Man attack, according to police.

Investigators believe the defendants beat up two teens in the 300 block of Mercer Street, then attacked again just minutes and blocks away. The first incident, police said, was over $5 and a cell phone.

Two young teens, who had just left their high school Homecoming dance, told police a crowd of teens surrounded them while they were waiting for a bus. One of the attacked teens said they never saw it coming.

"Each of us was hit from behind in the back of the head. And then it all went blurry," said "Jason," whose real name KOMO News has chosen to withhold.

The two boys said the teens then pushed them to the ground, then kicked and stomped on them.

"I really didn't feel the pain of the punches. It was more just impact, and just thinking, 'how do I get out of here? How do I get out of here?'" Jason said.

The two eventually managed to get away. Jason ran into a nearby grocery store for help, then helped lead police to the suspects. When the group was spotted, they were already attacking the Tuba Man.

Police say Ed McMichael was jumped by a pack of teens loitering on the corner of 5th Avenue and Mercer on Oct. 25. All McMichael did was cross the street and cross their path.

"It was kind of the same they were doing to me," Jason said. "They had formed a circle around him - and he was on the ground - and they were kicking him or punching him in the head and stomach. Just really brutal."

McMichael played his tuba at nearly every sporting event and rarely missed a night outside the Opera house.

"I played in the orchestra with him long ago," said Jon Burn.

Burn remembers when he played for a paycheck. He gave that up to play for tips. He loved to make music outside.

"We saw Ed all the time. Ed always remembered John," said Linda Burn. "Just heartbreaking, just so senseless. He was just an innocent soul."

He was beaten so badly that a week after the attack, he died from his injures. News of his death hit Jason hard.

"I've seen him outside ball games all the time, and (have) even talked to him before," he said.

Three 15 year olds stand accused. One of them being held for investigation of murder.

Police know other teens were involved. They're looking for them, too, calling their investigation very active.

While police hunt, a community remembers that familiar fixture -- Tuba man with his whimsical hat and his wonderful music.

"Ed, I will always leave the east door open at KeyArena," said a security guard. "You can come in any time."

One of the teens being held on investigation of murder was picked up at Garfield High School. The other two were arrested at the scene. One is a student at Cleveland High School.

Robbery charges were expected. Prosecutors said they'll decide in the days to come whether to file murder charges pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

Memorial Fund Established

Go to any Bank of America branch and you can donate to the Edward "The Tuba Man" McMichael Memorial Fund or send checks and money orders made out to Edward "The Tuba Man" McMichael Memorial Fund to PO BOX 4985, Federal Way, WA 98063.

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The Seattle Sounders FC says a public celebration and memorial event to honor McMichael will be held at the Qwest Field Events Center on Wednesday, November 12 at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and those attending can park in the North Lot of Qwest Field.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and entry will be at the marquee entrance off Occidental Avenue.