At least four people have been wounded in a spate of gang-related shootings around Seattle, which began New Year's Eve.

The first shooting happened around 8:40 pm New Year's Eve, when two groups of men got into an argument on 8th Ave. and Pine St. in downtown Seattle, and exchanged gunfire. Two men were wounded in the incident.

Hours later, a man and a woman were shot after a fight broke out at a party in South Park early New Year's Day. In that incident, police were called to Marra-Desimone Park near 4th Ave. S. and S. Henderson St. around 4:20 am, where they found a man lying on the ground with gunshot wounds to his buttocks. A woman standing nearby had also been shot in the finger, police say. Witnesses at the scene said the shooting happened shortly after a fight broke out at a party down the street, at told officers the gunman was wearing a blue bandanna around his neck.

That same morning, gang detectives were called to the scene of a shootout near a Belltown nightclub—which was captured on video by local masked crusader Phoenix Jones—and a gang member is also suspected in a drive-by shooting the Central District New Year's Day, according to law enforcement sources. No one was injured in the Belltown or Central District shootings.

It's not clear what brought on this recent rash of gang violence in Seattle, but it certainly doesn't bode well for 2012. So what's the city doing about gang violence?

Seattle's multi-million dollar youth violence prevention program has apparently led to a drop in court referrals and arrests of juveniles for violent offenses. However, the program hasn't brought on sweeping reductions in violent crime as SPD statistics say aggravated assaults—which include shootings and other serious attacks—climbed seven percent last year.

At the state level, a group of Republican legislators are also making a run at resurrecting a controversial anti-gang bill, which went down in flames last year over concerns the bill could have resulted in heavy-handed racial profiling by law enforcement.

I have a call in to SPD for comment on the string of local shootings.

Photo via Flickr.
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