Prosecutor: Jungle shooters charged with murder, area should be cleared

Updated:
Three teenage brothers suspected of a fatal attack in a Seattle homeless camp known as ‘the Jungle’ have been charged with first-degree murder and assault.
 
Police said the teens shot five people on Jan. 26, two of them fatally, at the camp near Beacon Hill.

After announcing the charges against the brothers, ages 13, 16, and 17, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg also called for The Jungle to be cleared.

First referred to The Jungle in the early 90s, the area under Interstate 5 near Airport Way South became more and more populated with homeless in the late 1980s, and Seattle’s homeless population had a 50 percent increase between 1989 and 1994 to roughly 5,000 people, according to a news report at the time.

Satterberg said most citizens would be appalled by violent conditions in the Jungle where drug dealing is well known. Satterberg, who said he supports Mayor Ed Murray's efforts to address homelessness, added that continuing the dangerous conditions of The Jungle is not a solution.

The two older brothers are charged as adults, the 13-year-old is being charged as a juvenile. The standard range if convicted would put the older teens away for life, but because of their age at the time of the shooting, the teens could be eligible for a case review and potential release after 20 years, Satterberg said.

We are putting together video of Satterberg's statement right now, and and are clarifying the law that could allow for a case review in two decades if the teens are convicted. Watch with us from 5-6:30 p.m. tonight.

The two oldest boys told confidential police informants in a recorded conversation that the 17-year-old was armed with a .45-caliber handgun while his 16-year-old brother carried a .22 to the Jungle to purchase heroin last week, investigators said.

RELATED >> 5 things to know about The Jungle's fatal shooting

The two brothers also admitted in the recorded conversation to firing multiple shots. With the help of an informant, police recorded the conversation at the Wallingford Inn, an Aurora Avenue North motel known for problems for years.

The brothers, who are homeless, were living nearby the camp with their mother. Satterberg said the motive in the shooting was to rob the victims of about $100 worth of heroin and several hundred dollars in cash.

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