Gunfire erupted in downtown Seattle on Wednesday evening, killing at least one person and injuring seven others, including a 9-year-old boy, as dozens of people ran for safety in the streets. It was the third shooting incident in the downtown area this week.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said the shooting broke out around 5 p.m. Wednesday following a “dispute” among multiple people just outside a McDonald’s. Best said it was not a “random incident” and that police suspect there may be more than one shooter. The shooter or shooters fled the scene as people hurried for cover in apartment building lobbies and coffee shops, police said. They have not identified any suspects, and no arrests have been made.
“Even one incident of gun violence is one too many,” Best said on Twitter late Wednesday. “We will relentlessly investigate tonight’s shooting at 3rd and Pine until all those responsible are brought to justice.”
Best said officers arrived on the scene within minutes and began lifesaving measures immediately. An unidentified woman, reportedly in her 40s or 50s, died from a gunshot wound at the scene, while seven others were taken to Harborview Medical Center, said Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins.
The 9-year-old boy was shot in the leg but is now in satisfactory condition, while a 55-year-old woman shot in the abdomen is in critical condition, said Susan Gregg, a spokeswoman for Harborview Medical Center. The five other victims, men between the ages of 21 and 49, are stable and four have since been discharged, Gregg said.
Best said she did not know whether any of the patients at the hospital may be suspects, but “everything is possible at this point.”
“We mourn a tragedy like this wherever it occurs,” Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan (D) said on Twitter late Wednesday. “No one should face such violence, and it impacts all of us when it occurs in the heart of our City.”
The sentiments were echoed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who was “horrified and dismayed” over the shooting.
“We grieve for the one individual confirmed dead in the shooting, and wish a full and speedy recovery to those who were injured,” he said on Twitter.
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The shooting took place in a busy area downtown, surrounded by multiple retail apartment buildings, in the middle of rush hour as commuters headed to and from nearby bus stops and the light-rail station.
Witnesses described a scene of mayhem as the rapid pops of gunshots sent them fleeing. Doug Converse told The Washington Post that he was near the light-rail station when he heard the succession of gunshots and saw people running his way.
“People were running toward me, people were ducking behind cars. I had never seen anything like this before,” he said. “These people all around me were terrified and seeing something I didn’t see. So I went around the corner, and I saw people on the ground.”
Inside the nearby Victrola Coffee Roasters, customers ducked under tables and hid behind the register, customer Alex Bennett told the Seattle Times. One shooting victim lay on the ground right outside the building, while a second braced himself against a security desk in the adjacent building lobby, Victrola employee Tyler Parsons told the Times.
Bennett, a former nurse, said she went outside and helped a security guard tend to a man who collapsed outside the store, trying to calm him down. The man asked her to text his wife, who was in San Diego.
“He was freaking out and kept saying, ‘I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die,’” she told the Times.
Best said the situation was “locked down” by 6:30 p.m. and she no longer believed the public was in any danger of an active shooting event.
The shooting was the third such incident in the area in two days, and the second within hours, KOMO News reported. Earlier Wednesday, police shot a 28-year-old man just several blocks north of the active shooter incident. But Best said so far police have not identified any connections among the shootings.
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