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No injuries, no arrests as SPD investigating another Central District gun battle — UPDATE

(Images: Casey Jaywork)

Seattle Police are investigating another chaotic gunfight in the Central District after reports of shots fired Wednesday afternoon. SPD says the incident stemmed from a car collision.

The shots rang out in quick succession at the corner of 26th S. and S. Washington in the Central District, a father huddled in his car, his toddler daughter in the backseat.

About 2:23 PM, a black Ford sedan crashed into a white Chevy SUV. About nine shots were fired into the driver’s window SUV; neither the father nor daughter inside the SUV were hurt. The assailants fled on foot, according Adele Botha, a nearby resident.

“After we heard the gunshots, I just ran to the window, and saw one guy in a big, thick jacket run,” she said. Botha described the man as “youngish, African American male, probably in the 17 to mid-twenties age range.” A second man wearing a black hoodie ran south on 26th toward Jackson.

Inside the sedan, the assailants left behind a 9 mm handgun and a rifle. A pair of black sneakers were also found on the scene.

Police were called to the area around 26th and Yesler around 2:30 PM after multiple reports of gunfire in the area. Arriving officers found multiple types of shell casings on the ground. According to police radio dispatches, witnesses saw a vehicle and people in the street involved in the shootout.

SPD announced officers “recovered a rifle from an unoccupied vehicle left running at 26/Washington after reports of gunfire.” UPDATE: Here are more details from SPD:

Gang Unit detectives seized an assault rifle and handgun Wednesday and are searching for two gunmen, suspected of opening fire on a man and his daughter following a car crash in the Central District.

The shooting happened around 2:30 PM, after the gunmen’s vehicle collided with a second car at 26th and Washington Street. Detectives are still investigating, but they believe the suspects and victims know each other, and do not believe this was a random incident of road rage.

The gunmen fired on the second car, missing the driver and his two-year-old daughter inside.

The suspects fled the scene, but left their car running with a rifle and pistol inside.

Gang Unit detectives are searching for the suspects and scouring the scene for evidence with Crime Scene Investigators.

There were no immediately reported injuries.

Joseph Williams, a construction worker who identified himself as a acquaintance of the driver of the SUV, said he was walking nearby when police cars began flying by. “I almost got hit at first,” he said. Williams said he’d just talked to the driver over the phone when CHS spoke to him.

“He’s just like, ‘Man, somebody just came up on my car, shooting up my car, and my child’s in the back seat asleep.’ And so I’m like, ‘Who was it?’ And he was so hysterical and so mad that he wasn’t even trying to talk,” Williams said.

Williams said the shooting was likely gang related. “Everybody around here knows everybody. Some things that you do in the past, like some folks might feel that you’re still on certain things. My man, he just changed around his life. He goes to church now every week, in church, front row, every day. Ever since he had his baby girl, he just changed up his life. And now, I guess this dumb stuff is starting to hunt him again.”

Williams said similar violence has become commonplace in the area. “It’s happening like this every week now. Every night there’s gunfire. It’s gang related, all of it is. The South End/Central District beef has not stopped. Since I was a kid, it hasn’t stopped.”

SPD spokesperson Drew Fowler answered media questions at the scene:

The two year old was in her carseat in the back of the vehicle…

It does appear that there is some gang nexus between these two individuals, the victim and the suspect…

There were multiple shots fired. The did go mostly through the passenger window…

At this point we believe that the gunfire was all one-sided, from the Taurus toward the Tahoe. Some of the shots may have been fired from inside the car towards the Tahoe.

Fowler said that the police currently have no identified suspects, and descriptions of the assailants were “vague.”

Sunday night, shooting scenes spread out across the area indicated a possible roving gun battle. Police found “an abandoned, bullet-riddled car crashed into a tree” near 29th and Yesler and more than two dozen shell casings from at least two different guns, and a loaded pistol magazine in the street near 15th and Cherry. “Two homes, a car, and a medical facility were struck by gunfire in the incident,” SPD reported. No injuries or arrests were reported involved with Sunday night’s incidents.

The ongoing gun incidents in the Central District are a priority for the East Precinct where plans including deploying a mobile command unit to maintain a presence near the scene of Wednesday’s gunfire are already underway. East Precinct’s new commander Capt. Paul McDonagh is returning to the precinct he lead for more than two years into 2009.

Meanwhile, Thursday night brings the monthly meeting of the East Precinct Advisory Council. Expect gun violence to be a topic of community discussion.

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13 thoughts on “No injuries, no arrests as SPD investigating another Central District gun battle — UPDATE

  1. What is the thought process some go through that they’d get in an accident and then reach for a gun? How is that even a thought someone would have?

    I miss the old days of pulling a tire iron out of the trunk.

  2. Gee, this one should be easy to solve. Just run that handgun through the ATF files, see who went through the background check to acquire it, and voila!! Case solved.

    What? The perp didn’t comply with the gun laws? I’m so surprised.


    • That seems possible. It also seems possible that by looking for whether or not the guns involved are present in different ownership databases, SPD can narrow the pool of possible sources for the guns.

    • The perp also didn’t comply with traffic laws by leaving the scene of an accident, so clearly traffic laws don’t work.

      Assuming your attempt at snark was to point out that gun laws are ineffective at stopping gun-related crimes.

      • If by effectiveness you mean putting scads of minor offenders in prison, a disproportionate amount of them minorities, then no, gun laws aren’t nearly as effective as the war on drugs. Gun laws are an inconvenience for scared rural and suburban white people; the war on drugs has decimated an entire generation of (mostly) African American males.

        Anyway, what is the effectiveness criteria for gun laws? While it’s naive to think criminals can’t get access to guns because, duh, criminals, existing laws do in fact keep people from purchasing firearms at a moment’s notice, so that’s probably one good thing. (Queue Simpsons reference, when Homer tries to buy a gun and is told he has to wait: “But I’m angry now.”)

      • In case no one has told you most minority people are not involved in violent crime and all the black people I know who have kids want these guys put into prison where they belong.

    • Well, maybe they DID comply with the gun laws, as they could just as easily have purchased it from some guy at a gun show instead; you know the guy wearing the made-in-China t-shirt with the “These Colors Don’t Run!” slogan on it who’s always screaming that background checks are an infringement of his 2nd Amendment right to sell guns to anyone he wants to?

  3. There are no gun ownership databases in WA. Serial numbers are not passed for Fed Background check.

    And the order of events was gun fire then crash

    • Not what the police said.

      “The shooting happened around 2:30 PM, after the gunmen’s vehicle collided with a second car at 26th and Washington Street.”

  4. Any information on the drive-by that shut down MLK between Yesler and Jackson on Monday night (the 23rd) around 7:45 or so? Crime map has down as 10:00PM, but I drove past a little before 8:00 and cops were everywhere. CAD Event Number: 15000095131
    There have been three shootings in almost the same location in something like four days. Can we get a couple arrests or what?