Renton man charged in 23rd/Cherry shootout that left victim hit in the crossfire

A Renton man is the first person charged in Seattle Police, federal, and King County Prosecutor efforts to stamp out a string of gun violence across Central and South Seattle.

Demarco Pressley, 25, faces three counts including an assault charge and two charges of unlawful possession of a firearm after being arrested in the shooting of a woman caught in the crossfire of an apparent gang dispute.

He has not yet entered a plea on the charges, according to court records.

Police say Pressley can be seen in security video from the night of May 3rd incident at the AMPM service station at 23rd and Cherry firing off a series of shots as a vehicle speeds away and returns fire along 23rd:

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Reported knife shoplifter arrested after Broadway stabbing

Crime scene tape blocked off the Broadway at E Pike scene from nightlife crowds early Saturday morning as Seattle Police investigated a stabbing incident in which the suspect was reported to have shoplifted his weapon from the nearby QFC just before the attack.

Police were called to the corner of Broadway and Pike just before 1 AM for a report of a man swinging a knife and causing a disturbance. As they headed to the scene, a report of at least one male stabbed came into 911. Continue reading

Police pursuit of hit and run driver makes big scene on Broadway

Police took multiple people into custody including at least one at gunpoint in a hit and run incident that spanned Pike/Pine and Broadway Friday night.

With the first crash reported just before 9 PM, police began tracking the car carrying multiple people as it sped on Denny and then eventually to Broadway where the suspects appeared to make a run for it, fleeing the area on foot. Police detained at least four people on Broadway near the Shell station and at least one more was detained and taken into custody after being held at gunpoint on Nagle just off Broadway.

It’s not clear how many vehicles were struck but there were no reported serious injuries.

Police reported they had the driver in custody as part of the arrests.

The incident played out on on a busy night in the middle of the area’s nightlife district with police taping off the block to keep out crowds during the investigation. Emergency vehicles called for an unrelated medical issue at a nearby Broadway restaurant also added to the chaotic scene.

Clock is ticking for Pine lot where nightlife crowds like to park — and people keep shooting guns

This parking lot is a goner (Image: King County)

While neighbors around 21st and Union are looking at so-called Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design efforts in addition to the mayor’s plan for curbing gun violence in the Central District, an environmental problem spot at the base of Capitol Hill is on its way to a CPTED solution of a different sort.

Key permits have finally been issued for a project to create an eight-story, 70-unit apartment, and office building on the land currently home to the parking lot near Pine and Melrose that is popular with nightlife crowds but has attracted more than its share of assaults and gun play over the years. Continue reading

Police announce arrest in 23rd and Cherry gas station shooting — UPDATE: Guns seized

Seattle Police say they have arrested a 25-year-old Renton man for his part in a shooting at a Central District gas station earlier this month that left a woman wounded after she was apparently caught in the crossfire.

CHS is not naming the man because he has not been charged but records show he was arrested and ultimately convicted in connection with this 2011 incident in which South Seattle gang members opened fire during a vigil for a 19-year-old who had been shot and killed. Continue reading

Durkan’s response to Central District gun violence: ‘a multitude of strategies’ including emphasis patrols, social programs, and a new public safety advisor in the mayor’s office

The mayor touring downtown last week as part of the rollout of her pre-summer, seven-neighborhood emphasis program to ” make neighborhoods safer, cleaner, & more vibrant”

In the wake of last week’s shootout at 21st and Union that left a 19-year-old dead and two more people wounded, Mayor Jenny Durkan has been publicly silent about the reignition of gun violence in the Central District even as she and her office’s representatives appeared at two previously scheduled events this week to talk about crime in Seattle.

But behind the scenes, the mayor’s office says it is taking steps as part of a longterm strategy to make the city safer and to do more to address the factors Durkan says are behind the shooting incidents in the Central District.

First, Durkan is adding a respected senior public safety advisor to her staff.

Second, the mayor is convening a “multiple City department” meeting with community groups and “stakeholders” to identify immediate actions and next steps in the neighborhood as well as provide updates on the investigations.

“We must approach public safety in a holistic manner to most effectively address the root causes of gun violence in our communities,” a letter sent this week by Durkan to “community members and organizations concerned with the recent spate of gun violence” and shared with CHS by a representative from her office reads. Continue reading

Neighbors say environmental design could be small step to help stop 21st and Union gun violence

While Friday’s murder of 19-year-old Royale Lexing can be clearly tied to an ongoing string of gun violence across the Central District, Capitol Hill, and Seattle, neighbors around the scene of the shootout at 21st and Union are looking at a much more local problem — and maybe solutions.

At Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of District 3 representative Kshama Sawant’s Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee, Central Neighbors said SPD’s emphasis efforts are welcomed but called on the city to look beyond policing in its efforts to curb gun violence.

They point to a series of shootings around 21st and Union — five different incidents across about 18 months — that indicate that while the violence is tied to citywide and regional issues of crime and inequity, 21st Ave and its place in the heart of the Central District might also be a major factor in the ongoing violence. Continue reading

Inside Seattle’s continued rise in hate crime reports, Capitol Hill and borders of ‘racially diverse’ neighborhoods are hot spots

Non-criminal bias: Incidents that hateful but criminal like yelling a slur, Crimes with bias elements: Crimes with hate elements not solely motivated by bias, Malicious harassment: Crime motivated by bias (Source: City of Seattle Auditor’s report)

If the most important first step in fixing a problem is measuring it, a new report from the city might help Seattle stem the rising tide of hate crime. Meanwhile, a new ordinance might also make it easier to prosecute.

A new report from the Seattle City Auditor’s office shows efforts to encourage people to report bias crime are — sadly — working. In 2018, there were some 521 crimes and incidents involving bias reported in Seattle. That is up 25% over the previous year and up 313% in the five-year period starting 2014.

The rise is terrible but also shows SPD’s relatively small bias crimes unit is making progress in encouraging more people to report the crimes and shaping the department to take bias complaints more seriously.

Tuesday, the Seattle City Council’s Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee will take up legislation started last summer to change how Seattle prosecutes hate crimes. Continue reading

‘Lost for words’ — Family identifies 19-year-old gunned down on E Union

A fundraiser page to help pay for the 19-year-old’s funeral expenses is here

Family has identified the young man killed Friday afternoon in a Central District shootout at 21st and Union as Royale Lexing.

“We are all lost for words,” a fundraiser page created to help pay his funeral expenses reads. “This handsome, smart, young man did not deserve this! We can all agree Royale kept everyone smiling when he was in your presence.”

Saturday night, family and loved ones gathered at the scene of the shooting and created a memorial of flowers, candles, balloons, a bottle of Hennessy, and a pack of Juicy Fruit chewing gum. The candles were still burning Sunday morning when CHS visited the scene.

According to court records, Lexing listed a Rainier Valley address as of late last year.

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Multiple victims including one dead in Central District shootout — UPDATE: More shootings overnight

Multiple people were reported shot in a shootout near 21st and Union Friday afternoon including one person reported dead at a nearby hospital.

Shots rang out along E Union just after 3:00 PM in a chaotic scene involving multiple armed suspects and at least three victims.

UPDATE: Police have confirmed that one person was found dead outside Swedish and two more were taken to Harborview in unknown condition.

Police flooded the area looking for at least one suspect seen fleeing in a vehicle.

Some of the victims were taken by private vehicles to nearby Swedish Cherry Hill where police said one person was reported dead via East Precinct radio. Continue reading