After deadly shooting at 21st and Union, where did SPD find a cache of military-style rifles and ammo in gang gun violence investigation? Two blocks away

One of the firearms seized from a Central District apartment building (Image: SPD)

As scads of city officials toured the area around recent scenes of Central District gun violence Wednesday and are considering approaches including simpler, faster solutions like Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design features, another factor in the ongoing violence has emerged.

Many of the powerful firearms swept up by Seattle Police, FBI, and ATF agents around Seattle in the weeks following a deadly shooting at 21st and Union were found in an apartment only blocks from where the deadly May 10th gang shootout went down.

East Precinct commander Capt. Bryan Grenon told the African American Advisory Council community meeting last week that some of the military style rifles and ammunition recovered by police was found in a nearby apartment building just blocks from where the deadly shooting occurred, a person who attended the meeting told CHS.

Among the weapons seized were two AK-47 style assault rifles, an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, and a large amount of ammunition.

CHS has confirmed that a cache of powerful weapons was seized in an apartment in the East Union building on the northwest corner of 23rd and Union as part of the investigation into the man prosecutors say was responsible for the shooting of a bystander in the May 3rd shootout at the 23rd and Cherry AMPM service station. Police say two handguns were also recovered from the Renton home the suspect Demarco Pressley shares with his mother. CORRECTION: CHS mistakenly identified the building as The Central, a building by the same developer on the southwest corner. The building where the weapons were found is the East Union building as corrected above.

It’s not clear whose apartment held the powerful weaponry found as part of the Pressley investigation in the Central District. Police say they could not identify the apartment’s tenant where the weapons were found because he has not been booked for a crime.

A representative for Lake Union Partners, the developer of The Central and the other mixed-use projects around 23rd and Union, tells CHS that the building’s managers had no idea of the man’s background as a convicted felon when he moved into the building.

“Unfortunately due to the no criminal background check legislation passed by City Council last year, our property manager was not able to confirm this,” the representative said. “This is one of the consequences of that particular law.”

In 2017, Seattle passed a law limiting criminal background checks on tenants. The Washington Supreme Court is slated to take up a real estate industry lawsuit against the law in June.

“The whole situation is troubling for obvious reasons,” the Lake Union Partners representative said. “Not the least of which is the safety and security of our residents.”

“As part of an ongoing investigation into recent gang-related shootings in the Central District and South Seattle, members of SPD’s Gang, Narcotics and East Precinct Anti-Crime units, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, served several warrants in the King County region on Wednesday and recovered a cache of weaponry, including three military-style rifles, four handguns, and a significant amount of ammunition,” police posted along with a collection of pictures of the guns in an SPD blog update earlier this month on the weapons seizures.

“Police believe these weapons were intended to be used in future gang-related violence,” they write.

SPD has said there had been an ongoing gang emphasis patrol underway in the Central District even before the May 10th homicide. “[T]he Seattle Police Department is very concerned about gun violence and has been and will continue to do gun violence emphasis with our gang unit in this neighborhood and other neighborhoods affected by gun violence,” a spokesperson said the day of the shooting.

In addition to the gang emphasis patrols that SPD says have been underway around the Central District and in Pike/Pine, the department says its longterm efforts including social programs to curb gun violence are working.

Thursday night, the East Precinct Advisory Council community group will hold its May meeting at Seattle University’s Chardin Hall from 6 to 8 PM. East Precinct Command staff is expected to attend and the group says City Council members Kshama Sawant and Lorena Gonzalez have been invited “to speak about their ideas and strategies to prevent and decrease gun violence.”

 

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25 thoughts on “After deadly shooting at 21st and Union, where did SPD find a cache of military-style rifles and ammo in gang gun violence investigation? Two blocks away

  1. “Unfortunately due to the no criminal background check legislation passed by City Council last year, our property manager was not able to confirm this,” the representative said. “This is one of the consequences of that particular law.

    See…this is a case in point of overcompensating in our progressive city.

    If you’re a felon with a history of violence an apartment manager should be able to deny your rental application.

    I, for one, don’t want to be living down the hall from this guy.

    Can you imagine if one of these firearms went off in the building? The particle-board-and-cheap-drywall walls in these buildings would not stop a bullet, esp. from semiautomatic weapons.

    Why the h*&^ are apartment managers (who, to be fair, I am often not very fond of) not allowed to screen for this??????

    • Seattle activists decry gun violence and (supposedly) support innocent victims over violent criminals. Yet everything they do achieves the opposite result.

      • One of my friends has a felony on their record from 20 years ago from having ONE tab of Ecstasy in their pocket when cops showed up for a noise complaint.

        Should they also be denied the right to rent even though their record is clear? How far back can landlords go? What if the person has done their time and reformed?

        I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a law, just that it, like many other things, can be misused.

    • As a small landlord, I can say that even when you do try to check references, all anyone will tell you 99% of the time is “yes that person lived at my property.” No one wants to risk getting sued.

  2. I am not opposed to allowing former felons the ability to rent housing. I do question how a former felon has come to possess any firearm – let alone so many.

  3. Would it matter if the guns came from a Polish stash house or a Ballard townhome? This story does nothing, NOTHING, but invite the reinforcement of biases every reader on the planet may have. You told the world an address. “Yay.” Go collect your Pulitzer. All I can say is that you appear to be against a law that would allow landlords to deny housing to people with criminal records who can also produce a rent check every month. Go fuck your self.

    • I’m just guessing, but I’d bet that the Capitol Hill Blog probably wouldn’t be writing an article about it then, because it didn’t happen on Capitol Hill. When facts are selectively excluded or included to get a desired reaction, I get it, that’s not reporting. This seemed like pretty clean reporting to me. Oh, but of course it would to me, right?

    • I don’t see any indication of the author leaning one way or the other on housing legislation as it pertains to convicted felons other than linking off to current news about such things. What exactly are you taking issue with here?

  4. To the obnoxious gun dude that had his comment deleted:

    Two 7.62 rounds from one of the AKs will pierce the ceramic & composite fiber SAPI plates we wear down range; a single round from one of these guys will have no problem penetrating through an apartment wall.

    • People have no right to invade someone else’s life. Laws were made for people, to protect is the premise for this. Now when it (speaking area), those laws didn’t matter . When presidents were being ran out of their homes.
      But wah- lah! After gentrification is complete and no more Central area beloved neighbor HOOD of small homes and tailored lawns.
      It’s Now a Concern much more news amplified.
      I have witnessed the Police leaving and neighbors defending for themselves. .
      Case and point , when it was the Central area,
      and homes didn’t look like sh t either.

    • What does that have to do with my comment? I’m aware of what a 7.62 round can do, and have worn SAPI plates in a fsbe vest “down range”.

      I was referring to how the poster had ignorantly said “especially from a semi-automatic”, as if the type of action has anything to with amount of force the weapon is capable of.

      • Don’t be *that* Marine… you know his comment still stands even if he mixed up his firing system terminology.

  5. It’s more like half a block away from shooting.

    This definitely pokes holes in what the East Precinct leadership ALWAYS says which is, “this neighborhood has significance to gang members so even though they don’t live here anymore, they drive up from Renton, federal way to beef and drive back down”.

    • Why does it poke holes in it? You’re saying that half a block refutes everything they’ve been saying? Does it not seem just a *bit too coincidental* that SO MUCH shit happens right around Union and 20th-21st?
      You must’ve noticed that, right?

      • The captain and the gang unit also remarked that just because the cache was there didn’t necessarily mean the one renter owned them all – gang members have been using different spots to stash items and get rid of them when violence happens.

        For instance, the recent bust involving guns, drugs, and $113,000. Not all one guy’s and possible gang-related.

  6. The no criminal background check law should be changed – landlords should have a right to deny based on this law. Plus they should be allowed to deny firearms storage on the property.

    • Yeah, nope. Maybe if the law was honed to a fine point but not the way it is now. Many people have non-violent felonies from over 5-10 years ago, have had clean records since then, hold down jobs, and you are proposing they can deny them housing. Which sounds fine on “paper” but if all landlords do it instead of say a handful in the city, you end up with just one more type of discrimination. If you’ve paid your penalty, shouldn’t you get to exist in society again?

      And if I rent from someone, I have to store my gun off-site and give up my 2nd Amendment rights? Shall we also just go ahead and take away Freedom of Speech too? I know it’s hard to be a landlord; I have 2 people living in my house but come on…we *chose* this as an option.

      • The last lease agreement I signed said, “Have you been convicted of a felony in the past 2 years?”
        Underneath that question was a space to explain if you checked Yes.
        This was in 2012 for an apartment in Seattle.

        My current next door neighbor is a drug addict who owns guns. My last thought at night is what if tonight’s the night a bullet comes through the wall because he’s tweaked out and paranoid.
        But it’s all good, his rights are protected and that’s what matters.
        *No, I cannot afford to move.*

      • @SeattleCarol
        “Maybe if the law was honed to a fine point but not the way it is now. Many people have non-violent felonies.”

        So work on changing the law. Because once you see something about someone, it’s hard to “unsee” it – an applicant could put down a non-violent felony and put their Yes reason and still be told No or given an excuse.

        The person next to you (may or may not be a drug addict) who owns guns may have never done anything illegal with them or not been caught. Or plea bargained down to a misdemeanor. Sadly, there are a lot of (mostly) men walking around who do not have anything on their record who we might not want living next door to us.

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