Police say much of the rise in gun violence in Seattle area due to gangs

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SEATTLE -- Police say they are trying to tackle an increase in gun violence before more innocent lives are lost. On Tuesday, they talked about the tactics they’re using to combat dangerous gang activity.

Latrell Mitchell decided to join in on a candlelight vigil, calling for an end to violence this weekend. Her son was killed in the Capitol Hill neighborhood last week.

“My son didn't deserve it. My son wasn't an angel, but he was 23. And like most kids his age, he was trying to find himself,” she said.

Police believe Ramon Mitchell’s murder was gang-related. His mother disputes that, but says he might have been involved in a fight of some sort. She wants to know why that fight had to end in gunfire.

“Today’s generation, that's all they know how to do. They lose a fight, they want to come back and shoot.”

Seattle police say there has been an increase in gun violence this summer, and many of the shootings are related.

“In a lot of these incidents, yesterday's victim is tomorrow's shooter or vice versa,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole. “There are a very small number of people causing a large number of incidents here.”

But innocent people are also getting caught in the crossfire.

Police don’t believe community leader Donnie Chin was the intended victim of a shooting in the International District last month.

Bao Vinh Pham thinks he was mistakenly shot when he was driving home from work on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in early July.

“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I don`t think I’m bad a person to make someone hate me that much,” Pham said.

Seattle police say one of the ways they’re tackling this problem is by increasing their partnerships with law enforcement throughout the region. They’re sharing information to try and solve cases involving gangs.

“The amount of violence is on the uptick not only in Seattle, but throughout South King County,” said Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas. “The real encouraging part is when the police get together, have good partnerships and work together, these bad guys go to jail.”

They say they’ve already arrested several gang members, and will work together to get more dangerous criminals off the streets.

“It will result in safer communities for all of us.”