Many shootings in Seattle spurred by gang activity, but bystanders get caught in crossfire, too

SEATTLE — The man killed on Alki Beach Tuesday night has been identified as 23-year-old Jordan Thomas. The shooter is still on the loose as of Wednesday evening.

A beautiful night on Alki turned deadly after a fight broke out during a barbecue.

A big crowd was having fun when a gunman opened fire.

Seattle’s playground is the last place anyone expected to hear gunshots.

“I think at least 5 shots,” witness Frank McGinnis said.

McGinnis says he witnessed a young man bleeding to death along the beach he’s called home for 12 years.

“We saw the kid laying there on the ground and people running everywhere,” McGinnis said.

Seattle police say they believe Thomas was targeted by the gunman and that it was not a random shooting.

“This is a place where shootings are unheard of, you know,” Alki visitor Chuck Kinney said.

But there are no boundaries when it comes to crime. Seattle is now dealing with a 30% increase when it comes to the number of people killed or injured in a shooting.

City leaders were looking for answers from Seattle Police on Wednesday during a council meeting.

“After one specific event we will see some retaliatory shootings,” police Lt. Marc Garth Green said.

Detectives say the majority of the 35 people who were shot this year so far can be traced back to three separate fights involving various groups.

“That are gangs that’s having confrontations and they are broken down in different areas,” Green said.

They are seeing a concentration of crime in places like South Park and Rainier Valley.

Nearly half of the 155 shots fired in Seattle take place in the South Precinct of Seattle

Detectives say the problem is even worse in South King County.

“It’s touching Federal Way and Kent more, they are having more increased violence,” Green said.

And that violence is also often spilling over into Seattle, affecting innocent people.

“I just hope it’s not moving into this area as a major turf,” Kinney said.

Detectives say they are now working to prevent any revenge shootings from happening after Tuesday night's gunfire.

“Now it’s spreading and it’s getting worse and worse and worse,” McGinnis said.

Of the 35 people shot so far this year, detectives say six victims were not the intended targets, just innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire.

But overall, police are reminding the public that violent crimes are lower in Seattle compared to other cities our size.