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‘Last call’ shootings heighten Capitol Hill nightlife safety concerns

(Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

Police gather on E Union early Saturday morning after a woman was shot in the Harvard Market parking lot (Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

Four Capitol Hill shootings in four weeks have put new attention on nightlife safety in the bar and club packed neighborhood. Three of the four incidents have occurred on Saturdays around 2 AM near Broadway and Pike, when nightlife crowds typically swell in the area after “last call.” In the latest gun violence this weekend, a woman in her 20s was shot in the chest and is lucky to be alive.

This summer, Seattle Police once again rolled out a nightlife “emphasis patrol” program in the neighborhood, which brings more officers into Pike/Pine’s streets to help manage the crowds. Sierra Hansen, executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, said the speed of the response to Saturday’s shooting was a good indication that the emphasis patrols are working.

Shooting incidents in the East Precinct are roughly even compared to this time last year.

There have been 12 shooting incidents in the precinct covering Capitol Hill and the Central District in the past 28 days, according to SPD — the same number of shots fired reports between August 4th-31st last year (PDF).

Gang unit detections were called out to investigate the shooting on Saturday, where one woman was shot in the chest, but SPD has not yet publicly linked the shootings. .

“I think we’re in a situation where it’s a really unique set of circumstances where you have the nightlife destination of the region combined with a growing war of folks associated with drug dealing,” Hansen said.

The chamber is holding a meeting Tuesday night with nightlife owners, bartenders, bar security, and Seattle Police to discuss what can be done to address another troubling issue — reports of drugged drinks at Capitol Hill bars and clubs. Hansen said the meeting will also cover the recent shootings.

The recent string of shootings includes gunfire incidents on July 16th and July 23rd around Broadway and Pike. Both incidents brought a huge police response to the area that pushed bar and club patrons inside nearby venues for safety.

Nobody was injured in the July 16th incident and no arrests were made in either case. Police were unable to locate a victim in the July 23rd shooting, but witnesses said one injured person was loaded into a private vehicle that left the area. The third shooting around Broadway and Pike happened Saturday when a woman was shot in the chest just before 2 AM. She was taken to the hospital with injuries not considered life-threatening.

One man was arrested and another was injured in a morning time shooting near 10th and John on August 4th.

The area around the Harvard Market parking lot has been a trouble spot for law enforcement as late night crowds gather around vehicles as the neighborhood’s bars and clubs empty around 2 AM’s last call. A man was recently found stabbed and bleeding outside the shopping center. In November of 2015, five people were injured in a drive-by below the lot at Broadway and Pike in front of QFC.

Harvard Market ownership referred CHS to SPD for questions about safety and patrols around the parking lot and QFC. Last year a representative from the grocery chain told CHS the company was working to improve security around its other Broadway store inside the Broadway Market.

Another Capitol Hill shooting came during daylight hours when a man sustained non-life threatening injuries after being shot on E John Thursday morning. The suspect arrested in that shooting remains held in King County Jail booked for investigation of assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. He has not yet been charged, according to court records. UPDATE: Charges have been filed in the case. CHS will have more soon.

Meanwhile, detectives are also investigating a shooting death in Madison Valley. Trina Bolar, 51, was found shot to death inside her home August 2nd. Police have not made any arrests in the incident.

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8 thoughts on “‘Last call’ shootings heighten Capitol Hill nightlife safety concerns

  1. “The area around the Harvard Market parking lot has been a trouble spot for law enforcement as late night crowds gather around vehicles as the neighborhood’s bars and clubs empty around 2 AM’s last call.’

    There are THREE parking lots in that immediate area–the one atop QFC, and two between the St. John’s building and the Knights of Columbus building (all on Harvard). Usually zero police presence at closing time and afterwards, and large crowds just loitering and blasting music at top volume. I think some SPD visibility would help a lot–just to get people moving along.

  2. “Sierra Hansen, executive director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, said the speed of the response to Saturday’s shooting was a good indication that the emphasis patrols are working.”

    uh, sierra, doesn’t seem like the patrols are working all that well; otherwise we wouldn’t have the number of shootings that are being reported.

    what we need is to have officers in patrol cars sitting in these parking lots to deter people from hanging out in them. get the property owners to chip in to pay for the overtime or whatever. but seems if the police were there to tell the loiterers to move it along it would greatly reduce the instances of these kinds of shootings.

    • Well said! It’s laughable that Ms. Hansen thinks that the patrols are working when a woman was shot in the chest and had a life-threatening injury. Only when the patrols PREVENT such incidents will they be considered a success.