Saturday brought the two-year anniversary of a fatal shooting in Cal Anderson that left a 21-year-old dead after a night of basketball and hanging out on a March evening in the park.
While several shootings in recent years across Capitol Hill and the Central District remain unsolved, the suspect in the March 2019 murder of 21-year-old Hakeem Salahud-din was identified and taken into custody thousands of miles away in Columbus, Georgia. News of the arrest was missed by many during this summer’s chaotic times around Cal Anderson.
Two years later, Zaquai McCray, 19 and a resident of Tacoma at the time of the murder, has been charged after his June 2020 Georgia arrest and awaits trial for murder in the second degree in a case currently scheduled to start proceedings in November, according to King County Superior Court documents.
Police say Salahud-din died in the park after he was shot in the head during a March 20th, 2019 fight near the Cal Anderson basketball court prosecutors say he became part of after his 17-year-old sister was punched in the face.
The Federal Way high school grad known by friends as “WildBoii” was remembered as “a father, a son, and a brother.”
The Cal Anderson murder was the second fatal shooting on Capitol Hill that year. In January, 24-year-old Jafar Mack was gunned down in the Harvard Market parking lot above Pike and Broadway. That shooting remains unsolved by police. Other unsolved shooting deaths in recent years include Ramon Mitchell, 23, gunned down in a shooting in a Pine street parking lot in the summer of 2015. The shooting death of 31-year-old Jacob Osborne-Bash in November 2016 at 13th and E Olive St is another.
2020’s gun violence around the edges of the CHOP has resulted in charges for one suspect. Prosecutors say 18-year-old Marcel Long shot and killed 19-year-old Lorenzo Anderson at 10th and Pine in a June 2020 fracas after what witnesses said was a night of gambling and fireworks on the edge of the CHOP protest camp. Long has not yet been apprehended.
Later that month, 16-year-old Antonio Mays, Jr. died in a bullet-riddled jeep and a 14-year-old boy riding with him suffered critical injuries in a shootout at the camp. There have been no announced arrests or charges in that case.
In the Salahud-din murder case, police were able to identify McCray by using Facebook to establish a link between the suspect and a relative also involved in the fight and with the help of video of the scene provided by a resident living in the apartments above the park. At one point in their investigation about five months after the murder, SPD also took the unusual step of posting a dramatic video pleading for public assistance in the case. It’s not clear if the plea was answered.
McCray was taken into custody nearly a year later in Georgia. Though it’s not clear how he came into contact with authorities there, he was held for violating a court order related to Pierce County robbery, burglary, and assault charges.
Today, McCray remains jailed on $2 million bail in King County Jail where he has remained held since his summer 2020 extradition.
His trial is currently slated to begin in early November.
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