City Council members respond to public safety concerns after Central District shootings

SEATTLE — A community on edge after two shootings yesterday in the Central District – a student shot in a drive by right after school and a woman shot and killed while standing on the sidewalk.

Now there’s a public outcry for change and safety. Long-time public safety Advisory Council Liaison, Victoria Beach, says it’s time for drastic action.

“I was shocked and heartbroken,” Beach said. “Meeting after meeting after meeting. I feel like the mayor and our police chief are doing the best they can with the tools they have,” she said.

But after years of struggling to improve public safety, gun violence has only worsened, and SPD is still down hundreds of officers.

The two shootings come a day ahead of a big pre-planned public safety meeting Thursday that brought out the mayor, police and fire chiefs, council members, and many concerned citizens.

“Their places I avoid. I don’t like that criminals are dictating how I live my life and where I can go, but I don’t want to be hit by a stray bullet,” Beach said.

The deadly shooting is also just around the corner from “A 4 Apple Learning Center”, where its windows were shot out while kids were inside.

Chief Adrian Diaz said SPD has been working to keep officers in the area.

“Officers were actually right in the parking lot because of the A 4 Apple (case),” Diaz said. “We also wanted to make sure officers are flooding the area. Then you have a shooting like this right around our presence,” Diaz said from the scene where a woman was killed.

Beach says it’s time to do something different.

“We’re going to continue this loop unless we have another solution,” Beach said. “Seriously, is it time to bring in the National Guard? We need help - we don’t have enough police. And they’re doing the best they can, but we need help,” she said.

KIRO 7′s Deedee Sun asked city council members what needs to change to break the cycle.

They say with new faces in power, the work behind the scenes is starting.

“It’s literally all hands-on deck – it’s going to take all of us,” said Joy Hollingsworth, a councilmember for District 3. ”We have to have a sense of urgency when we are finding the right people to protect our community,” she said.

“With this new council, our priority is public safety,” said Tanya Woo, a citywide councilmember. “Change will not happen overnight. It’s going to be gradual so we are just getting started,” she said.

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