May 6, 2009
Dear Community Friends,
It seems that every day we receive reports of people being shot or shot at. As of this writing, since the beginning of April 2009, there have been at least 13 reported non-domestic violence firearm related incidents in Seattle; three in the Central Area, one in the University District, one Downtown, one along Alki Beach, seven in South Seattle and a related incident in SeaTac.
Some incidents were prompted by disagreements between people who knew each other. Other shooting incidents arose as a result of a fistfight between individuals that escalated when a gun was introduced. Other incidents appear to have been gang-related, or at the very least involved gang-affiliated individuals.
We can report that with the majority of these incidents, suspect vehicles and individuals have been identified and numerous arrests have been made. Four suspects were taken into custody for a shooting incident on April 7th. Another four were arrested for a shooting incident occurring on April 17th. Four more were arrested on April 21st for a shooting incident that occurred on April 20th. And a female suspect was taken in to custody following an April 25th shooting in Downtown Seattle.
What This All Means To You
Our intent in telling you about these incidents is not to make you fearful, but to make you aware. Additionally, we wanted to put some perspective on what’s happened. There are some take-aways from all of these incidents.
• First, some are quick to jump to the conclusion that the events are gang related. However, while some of the individuals may have been gang involved, not all the incidents themselves were necessarily gang-related. There were fights, perceptions of disrespect, personal grudges, … everyday conflicts that became armed assaults because of how people chose to resolve them.
• Secondly, in every incident except one, the victim(s), the suspect(s) - even many of the witnesses - knew each other. These were not random acts. These were not stranger-on-stranger crimes; these were intentional acts of intimidation and assault, one of which resulted in someone’s death.
• Arrests would not have been made in these cases if not for the willingness of people to call 911 when an incident was in progress or had just occurred, allowing officers to get to the scene in a timely manner, nor would arrests had been possible if witnesses hadn’t told police what they saw.
Your Safety And Security: What You Can Do
• Your first priority is to keep yourself and your family safe. If you hear gunfire, please don’t go to where you think the gunfire is coming from to try and see what’s going on.
• If you hear gunfire while you are in your home, move away from windows, get low and call 911 right away. Describe as best you can what you hear and the direction from which it is emanating. Do not assume that someone else will call. In fact, it is multiple calls to 911 that lead us the exact location of where the incident(s) occurred.
• Once the gunfire has stopped, check to ensure that all the people in your home are okay. Also check with your neighbors to see about their welfare. Then check your house for possible damage due to a stray bullet. If your property has been damaged, call 911 to report the damage.
• If you do find a handgun, bullet or shell casing, do not touch and call 911 as soon as possible. These items could be associated with a recent crime and could prove to be valuable evidence.
• Teach children that if they come across a gun to: Stop and not get any closer to it; Don’t Touch it; Get Away from it, and; Tell An Adult about it as soon as possible.
• Teach children that if they are in a situation where a gun is introduced they have power to act. They have the power to walk away, get out of that situation and tell somebody.
Until next time, Take Care and Stay Safe!
Captain Les Liggins, South Precinct Commander Mark Solomon, South Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator