(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.
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.