SEATTLE — Twenty-four hours after a shooting in downtown Seattle that sent five people to the hospital, commuters, business owners and residents were calling for a greater police presence in the area.
“It’s like after a certain time of the day, it’s like you’re on your own, you know, it’s like ‘The Purge’,” says resident, Chris Williams.
Williams lives in the apartment building just above the spot where Seattle Police say a man opened fire Wednesday night, shooting five people outside a 7-Eleven near Pine and 3rd.
Police said the suspect had gotten into an argument with someone minutes before. He began to walk away, then turned back and opened fire. Most of the five people hit were innocent bystanders, police said.
Having lived at this spot three years now, Williams knows these streets and this extremely busy bus stop. She watches the tourists and commuters and shoppers go by each day. And she feels the area needs more protection.
“What happened last night was a long time in the making,” says Williams. “I’m very worried. I have my 3-month-old here,” says Angelique Johnson.
Johnson says she boards the bus here at least two times a day with her baby boy.
“Not even 24 hours later and there’s not a cop to be seen. It kind of scares me,” says Johnson.
Third and Pine has seen its share of violence. In February 2014, we brought you the story of Jeremiah Apana, nearly beaten to death after five men jumped him as he exited a smoke shop. And in April 2015, we documented “Operation Crosstown Traffic”, a three-month-long endeavor led by SPD’s Major Crimes Task Force, to clean up Seattle’s streets; netting a whopping 148 suspects.
“We’ve made significant progress in this neighborhood, but I want to make sure that we redouble our efforts and pay attention to what’s happening,” says Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.
Earlier Thursday, O’Toole hit the streets, spending time with pedestrians and business owners. And we hit the streets, too, and saw multiple bike cops on patrol up and down 3rd and Pine.
“Part of the problem is that resources aren`t keeping pace with growth,” says James Sido of the Downtown Seattle Association. The DSA says SPD’s initiative in 2015 made a big difference and they hope to see a greater police presence to maintain all that work.
“It’s constant arguing and fights and we need more police,” says Williams.
O'Toole says her officers will continue to put emphasis in this area to make it safer.