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Downtown Shootings Shake Seattle

A string of violent events downtown leaves the city asking questions about gun violence once again.

By Benjamin Cassidy January 23, 2020

Police respond to Wednesday night's shooting in downtown Seattle. 

Image: Vincent Ho

This morning is one of the more difficult wake-ups in recent Seattle history. Last night, just as thousands of commuters emptied out onto the city’s streets, a dispute between two or more men outside the McDonald’s at Third Avenue and Pine Street led to gunfire, according to the Seattle Police Department. In the aftermath, a woman is dead, and seven others are injured, a 9-year-old boy among them. Their wounds range from minor to life-threatening.

As Seattleites commuted this morning, last night’s downtown hellscape was undoubtedly still top-of-mind for many. The shooting’s location roiled public transit. Bus re-routes and soaring rideshare service rates led to many a frantic pedestrian; it wasn’t uncommon to see people sprinting down streets. More troubling is that the situation lacks closure at this time. While police chief Carmen Best said the shots weren’t random, multiple suspects are still on the loose. (Update: Seattle Police Department reports that two suspects have been identified and are considered armed and dangerous.)

Anybody with information should contact Seattle Police Department’s tip line at 206-233-5000. Photo or video evidence can be submitted here.

It wasn’t the only shooting in downtown Seattle yesterday. Seattle police and the King County’s Sheriff’s deputies shot a man in Belltown during a narcotics investigation. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

And yesterday’s violence came on the heels of Tuesday’s news that a man was shot dead at Westlake Center.

Gun violence, unfortunately, is nothing new in Seattle. Those crime numbers have seesawed of late in the city. In 2019, there were 332 shooting incidents, a 6 percent rise compared to the previous year. The number was much higher in 2015, when there were 388 shooting events; the next two years were 338 and 360. But as Best tweeted last night, “Even one incident of gun violence is too many.”

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