SEATTLE - Five people were killed and nine injured in a violent weekend with multiple shootings in Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan said on Monday.
The first shooting occurred around 1:40 a.m. At that time, a woman was shot in the stomach near 12th Avenue S and South Main Street in Seattle. At 3:29 a.m., she arrived at a Bellevue hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Around 1:48 a.m. on First Avenue in Seattle, a bar employee reported a fight inside the bar. The participants took the fight outside and as police arrived and started breaking up the fight, they heard shots fired nearby. Officers quickly found a man with gunshot wounds and began lifesaving efforts, but he was declared dead.
Two people have been arrested in connection to the shooting near the bar on First Avenue. One person was booked into King County Jail on investigation of homicide and the other for aiming/discharging a weapon.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office argued one of the suspects is a danger to the community and asked a "judge to hold him on $2 million bail." The judge agreed and found probable cause for second-degree murder.
At 2:32 a.m., multiple callers near a club in Pioneer Square reported a shooting. Arriving officers located multiple shooting scenes and men who had been shot. One man was sent to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition and the other was declared dead at the scene. Three other victims from this location were transported to the hospital before police or fire arrived. One of the victims that was transported to Harborview later died from his injuries. Police said at least 300 people were filing out of a club during these shootings.
Then at 4:40 a.m., 911 callers reported hearing several shots at Cal Anderson Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Shortly after, a man with a gunshot wound arrived at Harborview Medical Center in a rideshare vehicle. The victim stated he had been shot at the park after playing in a basketball game
Seattle police chief Adrian Diaz stressed the importance of law enforcement getting guns off the streets.
In a statement, Mayor Jenny Durkan said the following:
"While gun violence existed before the pandemic, we are seeing a nationwide increase of violent crimes across nearly every city in America including Seattle and our region. As people were coming back to enjoy Seattle’s nightlife, Seattle saw one its worst mornings of violence with four separate and unrelated incidents that escalated into gun fire. Moms lost their sons, friends lost loved ones, and five individuals were injured. And yet again, it is communities of color who are disproportionately impacted by this national epidemic. Tackling gun violence has no easy solutions. This level of gun violence in Seattle and our country cannot become our new normal, which is why we are moving forward with a multi-prong strategy in our region to take guns off the street, invest in community led solutions, create a comprehensive support system for young people at risk of gun violence, and appropriately hold individuals accountable for acts of violence. I also want to thank the officers and first responders who quickly responded to secure the separate scenes and provide aid – nearly every officer in our city responded to these incidents while continuing urgent 911 calls."
SPD Chief Adrian Diaz said the following in a statement:
"We continue to see a rise in Seattle’s deadly gun violence, and the Seattle Police Department has worked to address this violence while the number of SPD officers available to respond to these crimes is steadily decreasing. This isn't just a staffing crisis. We have a public safety crisis. People armed with guns are preying on our communities and every shooting victim is one victim too many. Families are losing loved-ones and their trauma is real. However, lessening the devastation that is happening on our streets and in our homes is not something the SPD can do alone. We need everyone to encourage their friends and family members to put down their weapons and find ways other than violence to resolve their issues. This is something we all need to do together."
The shootings continue an ongoing uptick in gun violence that’s already killed or wounded more than 200 people in King County so far this year.
During Monday's news conference, Durkan said she is sending an ordinance to City Council in August to address urgent officer staffing needs and public safety measures to prevent violence and build community resilience.
In the last 17 months, more than 250 officers have left the department, according to Durkan.
"When people called 911 this weekend, they expected a fast response but nearly every officer in our city aided in the response to the incidents we saw while continuing to address urgent 911 calls. We cannot continue on this current trajectory of losing police officers like we have this year into the next years," said Mayor Durkan. "We're on the path to losing 300 officers. When city leaders talk about cutting a police department by 50 percent, you will lose employees. We cannot just cut. We need a plan. A comprehensive plan that addresses both prevention, intervention but at the same time provides an adequate number of police officers."
Chief Diaz said he has 115 fewer patrol officers than he did a year ago and it's forcing tough choices.
"I’m down a remarkable number of officers and I have a reduced and restricted budget," said Chief Diaz.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.