More Gun Violence Shakes a Worried City

Sara Green et al., The Seattle Times, May 27, 2012

A man waiting to cross the street near Seattle Center was shot in the leg Saturday night, the second bystander in three days—and the third in recent weeks—to be caught in gunfire, continuing a troubling increase in the number of shootings in Seattle since the start of the year.

More violence erupted early Sunday: In four drive-by shootings in South Seattle, gunmen fired more than 60 rounds, riddling four houses and several cars with bullets. Miraculously, no one was hit; a teenage girl dived to her bedroom floor to avoid being shot.

While gang detectives are involved in several of the investigations, and police say at least one suspect is an admitted gang member, detectives do not know what role gang tensions may have played in the violence.

City Council President Sally Clark said the rash of gun violence was both senseless and “beyond irresponsible.”

“The city and community will figure out how to stop this,” Clark said, though she added: “I find myself in a hard spot being able to tell people with a straight face, ‘Hey, don’t worry.’ “

After Thursday’s Central Area killing of Justin Ferrari, a 43-year-old father of two, Seattle police dispatched additional patrol officers, along with teams of officers drawn from the department’s SWAT and Anti-Crime teams, to patrol high-crime areas in the East, West and South precincts, Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh said Sunday. {snip}

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Nicole Westbrook, a 21-year-old culinary student who had just moved to Seattle, was fatally shot April 22 while walking home with her boyfriend in Pioneer Square.

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Mayor Mike McGinn on Sunday denounced the recent violence, which also included a fatal shooting during a suspected home-invasion in North Seattle just before 2 a.m. Sunday.

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In the South End, police said, more than 60 bullets were fired at four houses, beginning about 1 a.m. The police gang unit is investigating at least two of those shootings.

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