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Police investigating more gunfire around 23rd and Union

Police found shell casings from two different weapons and witnesses reported hearing up to 20 shots in a burst of gunfire Thursday night around 5:45 in the area of Midtown Center at 23rd and Union.

Police are investigating the shooting but there were no immediate reports of victims. We’re told there was some damage to at least one vehicle in the area.

Several shell casings from two different caliber weapons were found near the entrance to the center at 23rd and Spring, according to police radio reports. One suspect was described only as a skinny black male wearing a black hoodie. There may have been a vehicle involved in the incident.

The shots were the latest gunfire incident around Midtown. Back to back nights of shots fired in the area in late January also brought a large police response and, fortunately, no victims. The incidents also resulted in no immediate arrests. In one of the shootings, a bullet is believed to have traveled more than a half-mile before landing in the door of a third-floor apartment unit north of the incident.

Longtime Midtown property owner Tom Bangasser has been planning to sell the 23rd and Union property to make way for a mixed-used project on the site. Late last month, the City Council’s planning and land use committee declined to approve rezoning of the 106,000 square-foot property to allow for a 6-story development. Neighbors have complained to police — and CHS — that the property is increasingly a hangout and draws illegal activities including drug dealing and gambling in the parking lot.

Thursday, CHS reported that the incredibly popular Smash Putt mini-golf event is planning to take over the old and empty post office in the center to put the space into use for a few months this spring.

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41 thoughts on “Police investigating more gunfire around 23rd and Union” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

      • I live near the MidTown Center and I can tell you for certain that Tom Bangasser has turned off the parking lot lights and has invited the gangs to come here and hide out in darkness to basically to pressure the City into approving his fake rezone so he can sell the property for a lot of money. This is common knowledge amongst the local neighbors. It’s a deliberate ploy by Bangasser to apply pressure. He is a bad guy who pretends to care about the neighborhood.

  1. What will it take for there to be some consistent enforcement here? It’s ridiculous. I don’t know how the little dollar store and mideastern restaurant stay in business, with all the customers this bullshit scares away. God forbid you need to park on that side when you’re using the post office– Drug dealers blocking cars while they do their deals, and you don’t dare ask them to move.

    • The Moroccan sandwich place is fantastic, I just hesitate to recommend it to people since the location is so sketchy…and that was before I was aware that there was gunfire there on multiple occasions. I hope they find a new location eventually.

  2. What will it take for Mr. Bangasser to be socially responsible and install security cameras on his very active lot. The police have been very helpful with the shootings, but the number one questions they ask is, “Did you see anything?” Frankly, I’m too busy dropping to the floor and army crawling to my bedroom for safety. Running to the look out the window is not my first choice when I hear 20+ shots explode through the air. Mr. Bangasser needs to install just one camera and I think it will make a huge help. Even smaller businesses like MedMix had security cameras and have released footage to the police to help with their investigation. I do hope Mr. Bangasser decides to get involved in this community beyond looking at the lot as money maker. I know a few neighbors of his (including a few houses with children) that would greatly appreciate some help with more surveillance in the area.

    • I’m pretty sure the property owner where Med Mix was installed the cameras. The Bangassers seem to have no desire to do anything to improve the environment on their property. They could do many things, instead they whine. I believe they tried to use the increased crime in the “area” (which coincidentally is pretty much contained to just their property) as another reason that the city should give them a rezone. A more incredulous line of unreasoning, I’ve not seen.

      • I don’t think installing security cameras is going to be much of a deterrent. These folks don’t care, and quite frankly would shoot the camera. the best hope is that the development happens quickly. A vacant, or nearly vacant location is never going to be clean and safe no matter what security cameras and fencing you add.

      • Cameras are not the solution, it’s true. But they are a small step while we wait around for the property to be developed, sold, etc. Catching one person could make a difference.

  3. is there a way to make formal complaints to the SPD or about Bangasser not keeping his property safe? Or even a formal petition to the city to demand more coverage?

    • I’m not disagreeing the property owner could do more– but has it really come to this? Where we expect every owner to invest in security cameras and surveillance equipment to fill the gaps of proper policing? Next will that apply to homeowners too? I totally agree the “crime vs. rezone” reasoning is absurd– I just worry about this trend we’re moving towards, which seems to assume everyone’s totally responsible for policing their properties because the police can’t or won’t control the criminal element. So they install this, and the criminals move to somewhere else the residents can’t afford their own surveillance? Should we expect this now? Something seems wrong about this.

      • I understand the frustration. And yes it is wrong. It’s wrong people are running around shooting at each other. I live here and I see the look on the faces of the officers when they come out. I believe they care and are doing what they can. They even know the “problem people.” But there is no evidence for them. They can’t arrest those people on assumption. I think it’s socially responsible to police your own property and work with the officers. I call and report what I see, hear, etc. and the officers encourage me to continue to call so the reports can be documented. At the end of the day we’re all trying to create a safe environment. I think cameras are a very, very small step to helping.

    • if you want to make a complaint about a nuisance property, check out the City’s website for DPD and SPD. If memory serves me correctly there’s a link on both to report a nuisance property. The bar might be set pretty high, but the people who see it first hand every day would be the best resource for info on what exactly is happening and what’s wrong.

  4. It’s the wild west in that area, even in daytime hours. I for one wouldn’t go there….too dangerous. I wonder how all this is affecting Ike’s business? And maybe Smash Putt will have to reconsider locating there.

    • Are you kidding me? I live about 4 blocks away, and I walk through every day. This blog, and it’s commenters, are hilarious. In any other large American city, this type of crime would be considered laughably small. But uptight NW white folks are too scared to even walk around black dudes in the daylight.

      Here’s a pro-tip, folks: they don’t give a flying flip about you. They don’t think about being a menace, or intimidation, or property values. In some senses, they are classic American businessmen. Don’t mess with their business, they won’t mess with you. They’re actually quite friendly if you take the pained constipated look off your face as you walk past.

  5. This is analogous to the 20th & Madison issues a decade ago. The presence of the new Safeway building and its many tenants did NOTHING to stop all the dealers and prostitutes hanging about outside Club Chocolate City /Deano’s bar. It was only when the bar closed that the dealers went away OVERNIGHT. In brief, “eyes on the street” are nice but may not help solve a chronic problem.

  6. City Attorney Pete Holmes is the guest at the next Eastpac meeting: February 26th, 6:30 pm Chardin Hall, Seattle University (1020 east Jefferson). It may possible to have this property become a designated chronic nuisance property that compels the owners to take steps to at least reduce loitering through posting no trespass signs. If there is a legal action available to the city that decreases this negative activity on the property, we should push for that. Come to the meeting. The more people, the more help we’ll get.

    • @ S…thank you.

      I for one (homeowner) will be at the next meeting for sure! There absolutely HAS to be measures that can be taking, enforced and effective to begin to once and for all, completely eradicate this ‘lawlessness’. It’s one thing to type-out our sentiments and frustrations, but its a whole ‘nother thing to stand up and come together and demand that the City and its’ resources do something about this very chronic, dangerous but fixable issue. We have to in a ‘show of force’ as a concerned and determined community, have our voices heard loud & clear to the powers-that-be, that we will no longer idly stand by and just continue to let this shit unfold time after time in our neighborhoods. Spread the word about the meeting day & time please.

    • I live in this [Central area], and because I am a non-driver, I have to use the laundromat in the Midtown mall. I can tell you that there is already at least one sign posted that states *No loitering *No trespassing. That is not a deterrent. This area is so used to cops and the neighborhood turning a blind eye {as if the mall is a lost cause}, that they do what they want in that parking lot. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t go there; but I don’t drive to be able to go to another laundromat.

      • It isn’t fair to blame the cops. It is up to the landlord to sign a tress pass agreement with the cops and even that doesn’t mean much anymore. It is not up to the SPD to police private property. The cops want to do their job but the landlord has to cooperate!

    • That’s a good question. Most of the cars flee down E Spring heading toward MLK when these events happen. Most likely, Ike’s cameras were not able to catch anything, but how awesome would be it be if they did? I’d love for the cops to get some evidence.

  7. I don’t know that the Post Office property owner can solve anything on their own, but they sure could help the situation. I’m not in law enforcement, so I can’t say what would be effective, though I can’t imagine how a series of cameras surveying the parking lot couldn’t help. License plate numbers would have to be useful to police. And surveillance systems are really cheap these days. I’m actually really surprised that they don’t have any cameras in place now. There does seem to be a sense of lawlessness in that parking lot. I totally avoid it. I can’t for the life of me think why the property owner is okay with it. It has gone on for so long. I’ll be at the Eastpac meeting for sure.

    • Yes, S, Seatownguy, and Neighbor. Our house and landlords will be at the meeting too. We will add our voices and presence to finding some peace on our corner.

  8. Yikes, I drove through the mail-drop off about 15 minutes before this happened! There were seven or eight people hanging out in and around the coffee kiosk in the parking lot, seemed like a lot of them were dressed mostly in black clothing, although I didn’t give them more than a passing glance. But, I also live about a block from there, as the crow flies, and I don’t recall hearing any shots fired – that’s weird AND scary!

    • Yeah those guys dressed in black are the ones you need to avoid. The ones who look sketchy, because they are.

      My question is, if you and I and other citizens can see them over there everyday, why can’t SPD?

    • I was at the post office as well right before this happened. I live on the other side of Union down a couple blocks and I heard the gun fire right as I walked in my door. I’m thinking I might go to the other post office on my way home from work. That lot just sucks.

      And those Moroccan sandwiches are the BOMB. Best tuna sandwich I’ve ever had and Sam is a great guy. But the thugs blocking the door and the weed smoke billowing inside will surely put him out of business. He tries to tell them to leave but (and I know this is shocking) they’re complete assholes. Maybe he can move across the street when that development is complete.

  9. I have a lot of cameras on the NE corner of 23rd & Union. Our cameras do not pick up the activity on TB’s lot. We could add some new ones pointing towards the liquor store, but it seems more than a little creepy to film other people’s property. Just a little historic perspective here – when I bought the old Philly’s and the car wash, my properties were the crime hot spots in the neighborhood. Cleaning them up, keeping them well lit, adding cameras, getting rid of obvious physical places for people to hide behind, trimming the trees, removing old pay phones, removing graffiti, fixing broken fences and stuff, etc – all these things work. We did all of the above and politely told kids and grownups they could not longer hang out, gamble, deal, solicit, loiter on our property. It took about a day for the crime to disappear. This is not rocket science, this is not a social justice experiment, this is responsible property management 101.

    • Ike, it sounds like you are a believer in the “broken windows theory.” I wish more business owners, and the City, were also committed to doing all those “small things” which cleanup our streets and help to prevent more serious crime. I thank you for doing so, but others need to make similar efforts.

      • Bob, you are 100% correct I am. The city did CPTED (department of neighborhood’s environmental analysis thing) for many property owners in the area All basic stuff, clean up and make life too visible and uncomfortable for bad guys. Bangasser never was interested in it. He agreed with the principles but (I think) just didn’t want to spend the money. He was always looking for some kind of grants to cover the bill. Same with my neighbors, the church. The CPTED recommended very simple fixes but there was no interest on their behalf to do any of it even when I offered to pay. Many property owners tried to get a Business Improvement Area (BIA) passed in the area. That is where you force a tax on your self and pool the money to pay for basic maintenance. So even if a certain property owner is too lazy or cheap to fix something it still gets taken care of and the rest of the neighbors don’t have to suffer ’cause one owner sucks. TB would never go for it.

  10. EastPac (East Precinct Advisory Committee) Meets the fourth Thursday of every month, June 26th, 6:30 to 8:00 PM. Chardin Hall, Seattle University, room 142, 1020 East Jefferson.

    • Please disregard June 26. I intended to note the 4th Thursday of the month with no date–February 26 would be the date.

  11. Maybe its time for the community to get creative as to how we put pressure on Bangasser. The “chronic nuisance” route will be slow and laborious at best and he clearly doesnt have the sense of responsibility to community to take the necessary steps on his own.