Seattle’s International District community mourns loss of ‘local hero’
SEATTLE — People packed Legacy Hall in Seattle’s International District to discuss the shocking murder of a man considered a local hero here.
Donald Chin, who went by “Donnie,” died Thursday morning after someone shot him multiple times while he was in his car.
There are two memorials in the International District, or ID, that people have started in honor of Chin.
Chin was the director of the International District Emergency Center, which provides quick and rapid responses to crime and other emergencies in the area.
Chin was a highly respected member of the community who focused on the safety of residents. Many in the International District would call Chin for help before dialing 911.
Organizers of the Legacy Hall meeting asked that media not be allowed inside, which was already standing room only. Several people spoke among the crowd, including Chin’s sister.
In a tribute normally set aside for fallen servicemen and women, the Seattle Fire Department raised its fire ladders in what's called cross aerials in a tribute for a man who they considered one of their own.
“It’s normally for a fallen firefighter, fallen police officer, or a member of the service, but we consider Donnie in that capacity,” said Seattle Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Hastings.
They were the same sentiments echoed by police officers and the community, who knew Chin as a protector of the international district.
“We lost someone who could never be replaced as far as I could see, nobody can fill his shoes,” said Richard Wong, a childhood friend.
He was also one of the many who filled Legacy Hall for a community meeting demanding answers. Several Seattle police officials were also in attendance answering questions.
“We have multiple homicide teams assigned to this and there has been no expense spared on how we’re going to continue with this investigation,” said Assistant Chief Robert Merner.
Seattle Police won’t say whether Chin was the intended target or why he may have been at that intersection, but those that know Chin said they’re not surprised he was out protecting his streets.
“Donnie was an amazing man and at the end, he gave his life for the neighborhood,” said Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess, who used to spend time with Chin talking about ways to clean up the International District. “He was a gracious, humble man who basically was on 24/7 responding to needs in the community.”
At this point, police say they have forensic evidence and surveillance video they hope will lead them to a suspect or suspects, but they are still asking anyone who may have surveillance video or saw something around 3 a.m. Thursday morning to come forward.