Capitol Hill shootout leaves neighborhood on edge

SEATTLE — A shootout on Seattle’s Capitol Hill overnight has the neighborhood on edge.

No one was injured. But eyewitnesses estimate more than 40 shots were fired in a matter of minutes.

The shootout happened just two days after Seattle’s mayor promised to aggressively tackle violent crime.

The gunfight has a restaurant owner wondering whether he should stay there.

Misael Dominguez’s restaurant has been here for 10 years. But he says he has never experienced what happened here early this morning: an old-fashioned shootout in this alley right beside his place.

“There’s one here,” said Dominguez. “One here. Don’t know about this. But there’s another one here.”

Dominguez can easily tally up the bullet holes in the building that houses La Cocina Oaxaquena, the Mexican restaurant he has owned for 10 years.

And it is haunting.

“Was lucky we were closed last night,” said Dominguez. “But did you see the ones that were this high so people inside, I don’t know what could happen, you know.”

Indeed, he says he found two bullet casings inside the restaurant. The Seattle Police Department blotter says 911 calls started coming in at about 2:30 early Sunday morning.

Officers got here quickly and encountered people fleeing on foot and in vehicles. Someone left this bullet riddled-vehicle behind — it was still running some 12 hours later.

“The fact of the matter, we have seen an increase in violent crime,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said late last week as he condemned the spike in violence.

Shootings alone were up a record 40% last year.

Now Seattle police have formed a Gun Violence Reduction Unit to address the issue.

“When I see what I continue to see out here, I can’t sleep at night,” said Harrell.

“I was startled to find the bullet hole and the bullet actually laying in my living room floor,” said Kyle Dukart, who lives in an apartment across the street.

He was asleep when a bullet shattered his living room window overnight.

“I’ve lived in this neighborhood four or five months now,” said Dukart, “and I’ve never heard gunshots before this.”

But the shootout has Misael Dominguez worrying about how to keep his restaurant and his staff safe.

“I don’t know what to do,” said Dominguez, laughing nervously. “I mean, seriously, I don’t know what to do.”

On top of all of this, his business has been repeatedly vandalized over the last six months. His windows have been shattered five or six times.

He says he may have to close the restaurant.

Seattle police are trying to collect surveillance video from local businesses and are asking anyone who knows anything about this to give them a call.