Gun violence continues to escalate in Seattle, neighborhoods on edge

SEATTLE — Growing gun violence is sparking concern and outrage throughout the city of Seattle. Since June 6th, Seattle Police officers have responded to 21 shootings or shots fired calls.

Several neighborhoods like Belltown, Greenwood, Central District and beyond have delt with their fair share of gun violence recently, especially after the deadly shooting outside Garfield High School last week and a wild shootout near Aurora Avenue on Monday night.

Seattle Police’s SWAT Team was just blocks away from the High School late Tuesday night after reports of shots fired on East Alder Street and 22nd Avenue.

Seattle Police along with several people in the neighborhood say the alleged gunman was firing outside an apartment window and had someone held at gunpoint inside. Seattle Police were able to get inside, but the suspect and the gun were gone. Investigators did recover several firearm accessories.

KIRO 7 spoke with several people in the area who heard multiple shots fired.

“I was really scared last night. I was too afraid to leave my house to walk my dogs,” John Corbin, who’s lived in the Central District for over 10 years, said.

One woman we spoke with has grown up in the Central District her whole life and like many who live there, she feels the violence is just out of control.

“It’s scary to walk around the streets. You don’t want to walk to the park. You’re just scared to go to the store. Everything seems to be a battle ground,” she said.

Corbin told KIRO 7 he feels there is a lot more talk than action by city leaders of Seattle when it comes to truly address the ongoing issue.

“And I feel like in the last five years it’s only gotten worse. We keep hearing about plans to do things to make things safer. And every year, there is more gunshots, there’s more robberies, more people getting murdered,” Corbin said.

KIRO 7 reached out to SPD Interim Chief Sue Rahr for an interview on what is being done to address the problem. Chief Rahr was unavailable to speak on camera, but provided us this statement:

“I am very concerned about the level of gun violence happening across the city daily.  I am actively delving into the available data and gathering additional information to identify patterns and gain a better understanding of the factors driving this alarming trend.

In the short term, however, I am very concerned about keeping students safe at school, particularly Garfield, for the remainder of the school year and as we plan for next school year.

Seattle Public Schools reached out to me this afternoon and, starting tomorrow, we will have Seattle Police officers present at Garfield High School.” – Interim Chief Sue Rahr

Mayor Bruce Harrell was also unable to talk on camera with us, which is why he provided this statement expressing his frustration with gun violence in the past week.

“The recent gun violence in North Seattle and the Central District is extremely concerning and shows there is more work to be done to keep Seattle residents and communities safe, take guns off our streets, and hold those who cause harm accountable for their actions. There is an urgent public safety need to address the gun violence epidemic which permanently tears apart families and communities, disproportionately communities of color.

Ensuring effective public safety for every neighborhood in our city has been a top priority for Mayor Harrell since day one. This includes addressing the gun violence epidemic with law enforcement, new technology, and community-based solutions. Last year, firearms were used in 80% of homicide cases and the Seattle Police Department recovered illegal firearms at a record pace – over 1,500 by the end of the year. Officers must be able to continue this critical work to keep guns out of the wrong hands and communities safe, which is why we have made increasing police recruitment and retention a priority. We are seeing encouraging signs through these efforts and the new police contract, with an average of 250 people applying to SPD each month – the highest rate in two years.

Our office will continue to support upstream and community-based solutions to help prevent violent crimes before they occur through efforts like the Seattle Community Safety Initiative and King County Regional Peacekeepers Collective. We look forward to seeing collaboration between King County’s new Regional Office of Gun Violence Prevention and the Regional Peacekeepers Collective.

We would defer to SPD for details on the Garfield investigation. Mayor Harrell has been in contact with Interim Chief Rahr and the Lieutenant working on this case and is satisfied with the level of resources they are putting towards the investigation to make an arrest.

Addressing the gun violence epidemic will take a multi-faceted approach, and Mayor Harrell will continue to advance innovative, effective, and proactive solutions to help keep residents safe.” – Mayor Bruce Harrell

While many people KIRO 7 spoke with agree with the mayor’s sentiments, they also believe that actions speak louder than words.

“There are many things going on in our city that need to be addressed, but most important to me in my mind is public safety,” Corbin said.

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