Police investigating after man shot in gunfight outside club at Pine/Melrose — UPDATE: Homicide

Pine between Boren and Bellevue remained blocked to traffic and pedestrians into the daylight hours Sunday morning as investigators continued to collect evidence. (Images: CHS)

SPD found a man shot in a parking lot near Melrose and Pine after what police call a “large disturbance” including multiple gunshots early Sunday morning.

Seattle Fire and SPD were called to the scene across from the Baltic Room just after 2 AM after reports of at least 15 shots, and people running and ducking behind cars to avoid the gunfire.

Officers administered CPR to the victim in the parking lot on the north side of Pine and medics transported him to Harborview with life-threatening injuries. Multiple SPD units were called to help deal with the large crowd at the scene. UPDATE 11:57 AM: The victim in the incident did not survive and the shooting is being investigated as a homicide.

Police say officers have located several separate groups of shell casings within 1.5 blocks of the shooting indicating multiple people fired weapons.

Police recovered at least one gun at the scene and witnesses reported physical descriptions of at least two different shooters firing into the air. According to East Precinct radio, a club security guard at the scene also “returned fire” with one shot from the south side of Pine.IMG_9293

Later in the morning, an armed man was taken into custody and his gun was taken into evidence by police near the shooting but it was not believed the suspect was involved in the shooting, according to radio dispatches.

According to East Precinct radio, a 911 caller reported that the occupants of a vehicle pulled a gun after a hit and run at Boren and Pine around the time of the shooting. The black Suburban vehicle was last seen headed north on Boren.

Police also were investigating a report of around seven shots fired heard near 23rd and Jackson about 45 minutes following the Pine shooting.

It has been a deadly week for gun violence in the city. Thursday night, a 24-year-old man was shot and killed at 26th and Columbia. SPD officials revealed earlier this summer they are working with federal agencies to quell a wave of gun violence across the East Precinct. Last week, the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms its agents had installed surveillance cameras on utility poles in the Central District.

Meanwhile, Saturday night was the second in August’s pilot of a pedestrian zone safety program closing E Pike between Broadway and 12th to traffic.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to call the Homicide/Assault tip line at (206) 233-5000.

UPDATE 2:00 PM: In a statement, Baltic Room management said the club had asked for “closer supervision” of the parking lot where the shooting occurred.

“While we obviously cannot control situations that happen outside our property, we do realize that we can effect them and have worked closely with the East Precinct police department to not only ensure the neighborhood we’ve called home all these years stays safe, but to be an active part of helping keep it that way,” the statement reads.

The club is owned by Jason Brotman and Rachel Fine, according to state records.

The full statement, posted originally to Facebook, this afternoon is below.

We were as shocked and saddened at last night’s events in the parking lot on the North side of Pine Street as you and the victim, as well as their friends and family are in our thoughts this today.

Baltic Room has been a part of the lower Capitol Hill neighborhood for the better part of eighteen years, in that time playing host to thousands of events, from LGBTQ weddings, to non profit fundraisers, to dance music events of every flavor.

While we obviously cannot control situations that happen outside our property, we do realize that we can effect them and have worked closely with the East Precinct police department to not only ensure the neighborhood we’ve called home all these years stays safe, but to be an active part of helping keep it that way. Along those lines, we have asked many times for there to be closer supervision of that lot, but like you, are at the mercy for an underfunded department who, on a nightly basis, has a very busy swath of territory to cover.

While there is no evidence at this point that the nexus of last night’s event originated at Baltic Room, generally speaking, we have worked very closely with the city, Washington State Liquor Control Board and the nightlife commission, as well as others on numerous ways to ensure that we are providing one of the safest event spaces in the city, up to and including the removal of events and promotion teams we felt were maintaining a nonchalant attitude about the safety of guests and residents of our neighborhood.

We, of course, live and work here too. We are anxious to be better neighbors than we were the day before and want to work with our lower Capitol Hill area family to do so. We’ll be pro actively engaging in a dialogue with SPD about the event, what led up to it, and what our team can do to better spot and intervene in these types of tragedies outside our property, before they occur. We welcome you to be a part of that conversation. As one of the anchor businesses in the neighborhood, we take a great of pride in it and in building bridges between neighbors.

We’ll make sure to post an update of our conversation with SPD as soon as we have them. We do appreciate everyone’s frustration, fear, and anger. We know this is an extremely important issue, especially for LCH residents who just want to feel safe in their homes.

Sincerely,
Baltic Room Owners and Management

UPDATE 9:00 PM: Nightlife violence on Capitol Hill, of course, isn’t new — though it is rarely deadly.

In January 2008, Maurice “Moe” Allen Jr., 25, was shot and killed outside the Baltic Room in a case that remains unsolved but is believed to have gang ties.

In January 2009, the hip-hop artist Joseph Ryan, known as 29-E, died in a shooting at Chop Suey. The 24-year-old was caught in the crossfire of a dispute involving other men. Carlos Bernardez, 18 at the time of the shooting, pleaded guilty to first degree murder.

The Baltic Room has operated on Pine since 1997.

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61 thoughts on “Police investigating after man shot in gunfight outside club at Pine/Melrose — UPDATE: Homicide

  1. You guys sporting guns are weak. I know this because you carry a gun in public.

    If I could I’d have you stripped naked and walked through the streets by a nun ringing a bell, yelling shame, so we could all mock you.

  2. Sadly Capitol Hill is becoming Belltown from 5 years ago. These problems will only get worse as the area gets more popular and eventually businesses will leave. So sad we have people who simply go around destroying neighborhoods one after another. I have to wonder what the owner of Machiavelli is thinking this morning.

      • The Friday/Saturday invasion is a disaster very week. The only thing that slows it down is cold weather or heavy rain, so that people move along more quickly.

      • Its only a matter of time. University District, Pioneer Square, Belltown. Now it’s Capitol Hills turn. There will eventually be a new “hot spot” and peace will hopefully resume to the hill.

        In the meantime, I hope none else is killed.

    • Yeah, the white majority that purchases hip-hop really needs to get their shit together. It’s all Macklemore’s fault.

      Oh, you probably didn’t mean the white hip hop fans, right?

      • What is there to ‘win’? First, I know some biker gang dudes who have guns and do not like hip hop so you’re saying black gangs I’m assuming. Secondly, would you say that Macklemore, a white hip hop artist, is to blame as well? Pretty sure you just troll these kind of posts to try and hide your racism. Its cool, cuz you can’t just walk up to someone and say “black music/culture is to blame on all shooting” without truly identifying yourself to the public.

  3. I blame bottle service. That’s the surest way to draw a crowd of douchebags. I don’t know why it is allowed. If I were still a server I’d be worried, because a person who seems sober when they come in can – thanks to bottle service – get really screwed up and suddenly you’ve over-served them.

    And let me second the question as to why the bar “security” was armed. Is Dershang still running that place? If so, She needs to clean house and class it up.

  4. For years some club areas in much larger cities (London UK for one) have implemented measures to identity and deny entry to known trouble makers not just in one club but most clubs. Some areas use thumb prints from male patrons at entry. In lower British Columbia a task force works with bars, clubs, health clubs, restaurants to trespass known gang members so that they effectively have fewer and fewer places they can go out to if they participate in gang activity. Seattle, of course, would officially balk at most of this but as the city experiences growth and as part of that growth includes “entertainment districts” chalk full of bars at what point does the collective community choose its own well being over the appearance of tolerance of anything and anyone.

  5. To be sure, the Baltic Room should be worried at this point.
    If proof exists that the shooters exited their venue prior to the violence they will fall under Washington State Public Nuisance Law.
    There isn’t enough detail posted as to the employment of the security guard and the discharging of his weapon to say where he falls under all of this. On the surface it just sounds way too stupid to be true.
    Basically, you don’t get to serve patrons alcohol during bottle service to the sounds of hip hop and then wash your hands of said patrons as they leave your business.
    You cannot profit monetarily at the expense of safety of the public at large. No, not even in Seattle.

    I’m confident that SPD and the Liquor Control Board are spending time looking into this today.

    You can read about the law at: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.66.010

  6. While I appreciate Baltic’s candor, it seems like a standard “corporate” reply. While the PD may be underfunded, Baltic Room could always pay for an off-duty police officer to control crowds, curb drinking in the lot, and direct traffic away from the reserved parking lot at the El Capitan that lies directly to the north of this one. I work weekends, and every night I have to listen to the shouting, music playing, and the cars turning around right outside my bedroom window. This has been an issue for the 4+ years I’ve lived here and is only getting worse. Every night it’s people puking against my apt building, loud yelling, and thumping bass coming from the club. They replied to me that they’ve passed noise tests conducted for the neighborhood, I guess that’s why my double pane windows rattle until 2am.

  7. This is NOT the first time this has happened at the Baltic Room. There have been numerous shootings originating from that establishment over the past five years. The owners are right to be nervous. I don’t see that club being around in another five.

  8. Oh let’s see, where to begin…
    Blanket blaming of hip hop is lazy and bigoted. I host numerous hip hop events that bring out the best in people and truly represent the positive fabric that the hip hop community weaves. What you people are referring to is thug culture that some music aggrandizes.
    The instigators are often never inside the club but have beef with someone who is. A lot of times they’re underage or don’t want to show ID to bouncers.
    And finally, the City if Seattle is already understaffed and it takes at least 18 months of training to be on duty full time so there isn’t a lot of that potential. And the restrictions are daunting: http://www.seattle.gov/police-manual/title-5—employee-conduct/5120—secondary-employment

    • So you are saying that if the Baltic Room had been spinning some country last night this still would have happened? Ummmm….no. They drink, puke, fight & pass out. You are plain ignorant if you don’t believe guns, gangs & hip hop go together. I’ll rent you a space at my living room window next weekend if you would like to compile some actual data.

      • Ignore? Why? It’s undeniable that certain music genres seem to be attract more gunshots and drive-bys. No, you can’t blame the music, but it’s certainly a predictor. To pretend “who could’ve known?” is naive. It may not be the club’s fault, but they can’t pretend the music doesn’t draw a certain unsavory crowd even to the lot across the street. Does that make them at least partially responsible for it? Many would say “yes”.

  9. If hip-hop isn’t the problem, and it’s “gun culture” that is to blame, why aren’t there more incidents like this related to country music shows?

  10. Hrrm weird how it’s always the ghetto night this shit happens on whats it called juicy???? Not the first time something has happened here and probably won’t be the last.

  11. I actually blame Baltic Room for this one. In order to have a proper hip hop night on a Saturday , one must take all precautions. Hiring off duty cops (Police) is the way to go.
    I had to do this when I ran raves in Seattle as it was a requirement. Hip Hop in Seattle on a Saturday needs precautions.

  12. Its interesting how all the comments on this are about it being a music problem, or the club owners problem, or gun culture. How about looking at what the problem really is, a gang problem. A gang problem which is responsible for most of the gun related murders in this country. Most of which are committed with stolen or otherwise illegally obtained firearms. The only real problem I see here is a people problem. But all the libtards can go ahead and try to tear me apart and say it’s all about guns or music or drugs and not a people problem at all.

    • The reason nobody’s mentioned the gain problem is because it’s a “no duh”– stating the moronically obvious. We all know the gang problem is real and we all know police are powerless to do anything about it. Duh. Everyone has already skipped to the next step, how to prevent gangs from killing (even more) people going about their daily lives, such as Saturday night partying. Clubs obviously can’t do anything about gang problem at large. What they *can* control is making sure the gang problem doesn’t kill people at or near their clubs. The “Libtards” are all on step 3, while you’re back at step 1. You got a suggestion to control the gang problem that’s heretofore escaped the cops? By all means, out with it. If not, how ’bout you skip to step 3 and try to keep up.

  13. “Statutory law prohibits firearms in places such as areas of buildings used for court proceedings, certain areas of public mental health facilities, establishments which serve alcohol and are off-limits to persons under 21 years of age, restricted-access areas of commercial airports, State correctional facilities, and outdoor music festivals.”

    As mentioned in an earlier comment, why the fuck is club security not only packing heat, but “returning fire” into a parking lot across the street? Maybe Baltic Room oughtta start with that.

  14. I seem to remember Candidate Murray and the seattle times being super critical of Mayor McGinn on crime and violence. Things seem to have gotten worse during Mayor Murray’s tenure, but little criticism of the mayor from the ST as far as I’ve seen.

  15. This is so sad. The city and night clubs must do something to prevent this from happening again. Does the Baltic Room search people before they enter? They did when I went years ago and I think that would prevent anyone from an outside attack being related to the Baltic Room. If they were never in the club, it’s the city’s responsibility to keep the outside area safe.

    • It’s funny how many here are imagining some 90s hiphop video scenario transpired with bottle service, some unprovoked attack, and guns in the club. Until I hear otherwise, I assume whoever was killed was already a gang target and sought out that night because it was known he was at the Baltic Room – meaning his guard was probably down, he was probably drinking, and possibly unarmed. The shooter(s) probably just needed to hang out in the area and wait until close. Yes, it’s a shame and dangerous to all in the surrounding area, but for those simply blaming the Baltic Room or hiphop, you need to get your causation and correlation straight.

  16. There was also a drive by at 20th and Yesler earlier that evening, luckily no one was hit. Sad, and scary, to see these things don’t get reported or mentioned by SPD unless there’s a victim… Makes you wonder how many shots are being fired that we don’t even hear about.

  17. So now that the bouncer admitted to “returning fire” across the street with another gang member is the club shut down? If not, what exactly must a club do to get shut down? Will the next gunfight that he gets into outside the club have to kill an innocent person who lives here in order for this mess to be moved off the hill? This really doesn’t seem like the neighborhood for a club where bouncers get into gunfights outside.

  18. My buddy was in town last weekend and he wanted to stop by the Baltic Room. And I was like “Hell no. That’s a hip hop club”.

    24 hrs later, a shooting. Imagine that!

    Simple solution is to stop playing hip hop which glorifies thug behavior.Sorry, but the stereo type is true. Look at Citrus. Look at Larry’s.

    I know I’ll be called racist and get accused of stereotyping etc etc

    If you don’t like the stereotype, don’t perpetuate the stereotype