14 shot, 5 killed in Seattle in June so far; the latest effort to stop gun violence

SEATTLE — More than a dozen people have been shot in Seattle just in June over a three-week period. In the latest incident, someone shot three people in a drive-by last night in Rainier Valley.

The shooting happened in a residential neighborhood in the 7900 block of 50th Avenue South. Police said people were just outside enjoying the weather when someone driving by started shooting.

Neighbor Jack Than was out working in the yard last night at around 7 p.m. when he heard gunshots nearby.

“I told my wife, ‘Sit down; sit down!’” Than said. He said he got down too.

He didn’t see the shooting, but police said whoever opened fire hit three people, leaving two with life-threatening injuries. The spike in shootings brought Police Chief Adrian Diaz to the scene. Thirteen of the 14 people shot in June so far were in the south of Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. (*See list at bottom of this article.)

“We need to start to come together as a city and find some kind of plan to curb these shootings,” said Detective Patrick Michaud with the Seattle Police Department.

There are groups already working hard to stop gun violence. In fact, the spike is happening just as a new collective was recently launched to fight it. The new organization is called the “Regional Peacekeepers Collective” and brings together the following groups: Alive & Free, Choose 180, Community Passageways, Freedom Project, Progress Pushers, Renegades for Life Youth Outreach, and UW Harborview Medical Center.

“If all we’re doing here is talking about some folks got shot — we are really doing a disservice. We need to talk about what’s happening in the system where violence is the answer for young people,” said Eugene Youngblood, a care coordinator with The Freedom Project.

Youngblood just got out of prison this year after serving 29 years for his involvement in a murder. He was granted clemency this year. Now he works with Freedom Project WA to build relationships with young people and show there are other options to violence.

“Where somebody is there for them. So they call my phone, and I’m there, and I’m going to answer. We’re going to talk what we need to do to get them in a better situation,” Youngblood said.

He said the rise in gun violence shows how much more work needs to be done.

“When you see these guys, and they’re out here doing this — remember that’s a sign of the trauma they’re experiencing. Even people who are on the other side, committing the violence — at some point, I guarantee you they were victims of the violence as well,” Youngblood said. “The question shouldn’t be, ‘Why are all these guys in gangs?’ The question should be, ‘Why are we losing the recruitment battle?’” he said.

When violence does happen, a group called Choose 180 steps in to help start the healing for family members like siblings.

“When a loved one is shot or killed, there’s a response where you want to do something as a result of that. And it’s our job to step in,” said Sean Goode, executive director at Choose 180.

The groups are hoping by working together, they will make an even bigger impact on driving change.

“It’s going to take some time to rebuild relationships, rebuilding of trust to begin to bridge the divide that’s been caused by the pandemic,” Goode said. “I’m excited about the possibilities we can create,” he said.

Goode said the shootings carry ripple effects that impact people and neighborhoods far beyond the immediate families or even neighborhoods where they happened.

“I get most concerned by most of us on the periphery that normalize it and stop seeing it as actual people being hurt and harmed and say, ‘It’s those people over there. It doesn’t impact us,’” Goode said.

*List of June shootings from the SPD Blotter. In all, 14 people were shot between June 4 and June 23.

  • 6/23: Rainier Valley. Three people shot. Witnesses called 911 at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday to report shots fired in the 7900 block of 50th Avenue South. Two suffered life-threatening gunshot wounds.
  • 6/22: One man shot. Murder. Witnesses began calling 911 at 12:55 p.m. to report a man had been shot at a bus stop in the 2900 block of Rainier Avenue South. Mount Baker neighborhood.
  • 6/21: One man was found dead on the North Aurora sidewalk. Later discovered to have a gunshot wound in the leg in the 10500 block of Aurora Avenue North at 2:15 p.m.
  • 6/19: Two people shot. Rainier Beach neighborhood on Friday 6 p.m. Officers found a man and a woman in a car. Both had been shot. A woman was shot in the stomach; a man was shot in the hand. (No address listed.)
  • 6/12: One man shot. Pioneer Square. Murder. At 12:22 a.m., multiple 911 callers reported hearing shots near First Avenue and Cherry Street. Police responded and found a man on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest. The 23-year-old died from his injuries several hours later.
  • 6/12: One person shot. Murder. Homicide detectives are investigating after a 21-year-old man was shot and killed in the Central District on Thursday night. Witnesses called 911 at 8:30 p.m. Thursday to report a shooting in the 300 block of 23 Avenue South. When police arrived, they found that a man had been transported from the scene to Harborview Medical Center. Witnesses said the suspect fled the scene on foot after shooting the victim.
  • 6/7: One person shot. South Seattle. A 21-year-old man was wounded. At around 7:30 p.m., police received reports of a shooting in the 7000 block of Rainier Avenue South. Officers found the 21-year-old victim lying on the ground in a parking lot.
  • 6/7: One person shot. Murder. Homicide detectives are investigating after a 31-year-old man was found dead in a Columbia City park in the 3900 block of South Conover Way at 5:19 a.m. Monday. There were reports of an unresponsive man on the ground in the park. Officers arrived and found the man, who was declared dead at the scene.
  • 6/5: Two people shot. Two shooting victims were located early Saturday evening. Officers responded to a report of shots fired in the 2701 block of Beacon Avenue South at 6:50 p.m. Saturday. When police arrived, they found a man with a gunshot wound to the leg. As officers were just beginning their investigation, they received word that a second gunshot victim was also hit in the leg and was found in the 4500 block of South Holly Street
  • 6/4: One person shot. Murder. Homicide detectives are investigating an attempted carjacking in SODO late Friday night. Officers were dispatched to the 2400 block of Fourth Avenue South at 11:30 p.m. for a report of an attempted carjacking where a man had been shot. He died at the scene.