About 40 gunshots go off in White Center, stray bullet hits dental office

WHITE CENTER --  On most Mondays, Natalia Young can be found working inside a White Center dental office getting ready for patients for the week.

But on this Monday she was distracted.

“It’s shocking and startling and nerve-wracking,” Young said.

That’s because around 5:30 a.m. Sunday about 40 gunshots went off in an alley between 16th and 17th avenues.

One of bullets went right through Young’s workplace, just inches away from a dental chair.

“It's an area we walk past all the time,” Young said.

The dental assistant says if the shooting had happened during the daylight hours, someone in her office could have been shot.

“I got emotional when I first saw it,” Young said.

The vacant office below Young’s place was also riddled with multiple bullets.

The King County Sheriff's Office says someone fired dozens of shots outside of a hookah lounge.

Deputies say a disturbance led to gunshots, landing three men in the hospital.

Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Ryan Abbott says only one person called 911, which leads them to believe that more witnesses are out there who did not report the crime. They are asking anyone with information to come forward.

When deputies got to the scene, they didn’t find any victims. But shortly after the shooting, three men showed up to the hospital with gunshot wounds. One man was released and two others remain hospitalized.

Young says she and others had no knowledge of a hookah lounge across the street.

“I had no idea what it was, I’ve never heard of it,” she said.

That’s because the hookah lounge has no name visibly displayed. Now, deputies are looking into the legitimacy of the business.

The latest shooting is just one of many issues Young has experienced in White Center.

“Oh my gosh I can’t even count,” she said.

Just this year, she says they found a stabbing victim nearby and had to get the person help.

They are also dealing with countless drug needles and trash at their front door.

“It's very upsetting. When I pull up, I have to clean all this up before I can go about my day,” Young said.

Young has worked in the same spot for 8 years. She says recently, it seemed like things were getting better in White Center.

“People were coming here to actually hang out, which was unheard of,” Young said.

But now the 40 rounds of gunshots have her feeling like it's back to the usual.

King County Sheriff’s Office says that although overall crime was reported down, they now are seeing an uptick in violent crime in White Center.

The uptick is something they usually see in the summer time. But deputies are aware of it and the office says public safety is a priority.

For months now, two deputies have been solely dedicated to patrolling the White Center area at random times as part of emphasis patrols. Those deputies will continue that job. Also other deputies on the force have been asked to be more present in that area when they can.

In the other shooting, a man was shot near Southwest 106th street. He is expected to survive.

There are no suspect descriptions in either case.

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