Community Post

Two Men Shot at 23rd and Union: UPDATED x9

At 11:15am a man walked into the Philadelphia Cheese Steaks restaurant and opened fire, shooting two men, one of whom is an employee. Police and medics quickly arrived to the scene finding one victim to be conscious outside of the restaurant and the other victim still inside with a shot to the head. Both victims’ condition was too critical to immediately transport to the hospital and police requested that blood be transported to the scene. After about fifteen minutes, the victims’ conditions stabilized enough for transport to Harborview. At this time Harborview is listing their conditions as critical.

Police immediately began blocking off all traffic within one mile of 23rd and Union. Only buses will be allowed through the road block.

Detectives and the Gang Unit are currently interviewing witnesses, but aren’t certain if this is gang related.

Witnesses are describing the suspect as a black male in his 20’s wearing a puffy parka jacket, dark pants, dark hat, driving a black 02/03 Lincoln Continental with gold rims and very dark tint last headed north on 23rd, Washington Plates: 210 XMJ.

This is the same restaurant that experienced another shooting in 2000 that resulted in the death of the owner. (see comment “facts incorrect”)

Update: Police believe that this shooting is not gang-related, but stems from a drive-by domestic-violence shooting that occurred in West Seattle at the Longfellow Creek Apartments in the 5900 block of Delridge Way this morning at 10:47am. The West Seattle shooting resulted only in property damage, with no people harmed.

Update x2:
Police have identified a possible suspect in the West Seattle shooting as Rey Alberto Davis-Bell. He is driving the vehicle described above. They believe him to be heavily armed and warn that there could be more violence in the next few hours. They advise everyone to be on the lookout for him, but not to approach because he is Armed and Dangerous. Police think there could be a connection between the shootings because the descriptions of the vehicles in each case are nearly identical.

Update x3: As of 2:30PM, all directions of 23rd Ave and Union St. are still closed to traffic. Vehicles are being detoured onto the side streets. It’s best to avoid the area if possible.

Update x4: 3:49pm – Police are opening up traffic in both directions on Union, and southbound on 23rd Ave. Northbound traffic will still be detoured on 23rd Ave.

Update x5: 3:57pm – Streets are now open to traffic in all directions at 23rd & Union

Update x6: 4:13pm – King 5 confirms 1 dead. His name has not been released.

Update x7: 4:23pm – Just uploaded a third video, with a collection of footage from the scene, maybe 5 minutes after it occurred.

Update x8:The West Seattle Blog provided us with pictures of the crime scene at the Longfellow Creek Apartments.

Update x9: King5 just reported that the man who died from his wounds was the owner of the restaurant, described as a recently married Ethiopian who was going to be moving the store this weekend. Also – just uploaded a 4th video with the afternoon press conference from SPD.

0 thoughts on “Two Men Shot at 23rd and Union: UPDATED x9

  1. honestly, how many shootings will it take for the city of Seattle to respond? I can’t walk my kids to the library because of random shootings 2 weeks ago. I don’t even think about taking my kids with me to the post office. the AM/PM is just a drug mart… is it plain and simple racism?

  2. I hope it isn’t the owner who was shot. He told me just three days ago that he was moving to a new location because of stuff like this. He is a sweet guy and doesn’t deserve this.

    That said, that corner is a haven for drug use and gang violence and needs to be addressed.

  3. SPD is responding. They’ve just hired a bunch more officers for the East Precinct with more on the way. Limited resources explain much of what seems like a non-response. (In fact, our area receives special attention.) The gang unit staffing was greatly reduced several years ago, I’ve been told. Again, that is changing.

  4. well thanks for the words of hope. Frankly if crime is going down in the rest of Seattle it makes sense to give MUCH greater attention to our area where violent, gun crime is sky rocketing.

  5. At the last EPCPC meeting, Captain Paul McDonagh assured me that the police are doing everything they can to prevent gun violence in the CD and that it is their highest priority. He said that patrols have increased and the Gang Unit is specifically focussing on this area. Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer told me that the key to this problem is for the state to pass stricter gun laws, saying that this is a main priority for Chief R. Gil Kerlikowske that results in a lot of backlash and resistance from gun groups. But they both said that, as far as a priority, it can’t get any higher.

  6. Your article says that the 2000 shooting that resulted in the death of Philly’s Best owner occurred at the restaurant. Not the case. See: “Seattle police found Troy Hackett, co-owner of Philly’s Best cheese steak shop, shot to death in a car near the intersection of East Fir Street and 19th Avenue, about nine blocks from his restaurant.”

  7. I saw that too and was just going to post it. Aside from this tragic event, kudos to this site for breaking this news faster than the local stations. Perhaps this will fuel more eyes and ears to report what’s going in our area.

  8. These big crime stories are the rare case. You can too walk your kids to the post office, convenience store, or library. It’s how you teach your kids how to live in the city. Saying you can’t us just giving up your sidewalks to the hustlers and junkies and thugs. Refuse to be afraid, refuse to be chased off your own streets. Own it. Walk it. Don’t show your kids how to be afraid of the scary black men.

  9. I hate to spread rumors, but word “from some guy on the sidewalk” is that the person shot at Phillies is deceased. Reportedly, it was the short one with the very short hair (don’t know the name). This makes me very, very sad. I’ve had my fair share of sandwiches there and was excited to hear they were moving locations.

  10. Take any rumors with a grain of salt.

    They wheeled one man out of the store on a gurney and were giving him vigorous CPR into the ambulance. So for certain he was alive when he came out. I was gone before the second victim (who collapsed outside) was visible, though.

  11. Amid the horrid episode that took place this morning, I want to add my compliments to cdguy and this whole web site. I have learned to look here FIRST for news from our ‘hood. They are right on it. And I see cdguy at almost every meeting I go to – thank you for keeping us informed!

  12. Wow! You have way more information on this site than the newspapers! LOVE THAT! I have added you to my favorites. Good job CdGuy.

  13. I’m not sure how to add photos to the story, so I’m posting links here. I was on-site during the police and medical response:





  14. I would recommend contacting our state representatives (37th District) and let them know how you feel. 1. Rep Sharon Tomiko Santos PO Box 40600 434A Legislative Building Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7944 2. Rep. Eric Pettigrew PO Box 40600 122H Legislative Bldg. Olympia, WA 98504-0600 (360) 786-7838.

  15. I agree with you. I have lived in the cd for 21 years. I have no fear walking my son to the library, AM/PM, Post Office, Thompsons, etc. I lived in this area when there were shootings every night and didn’t live in fear then and sure will not do it now. I am a hard working individual, I will not live my life in fear nor will I allow my son to. He is a young black male and I want him to see the drug dealers, the crack heads, etc so he knows what he should not grow up to be. If I can expose him to the positive people he should be able to be exposed to the negative. The problem now a days is our children (well even adults) aren’t well rounded. They are scared of everything due to lack of exposure. I apologize if this sounds like I am rambeling but I am sick and tired of hearing people talk about how sacred they are about this and that, the so called scary things are usually in the city, if its too sary then move. I know there is someone out there that respects the positives and negatives of the wonderful central district.

  16. I admire your courage and spirit, but IMO this actually does happen pretty routinely in the 23rd & union area. I live about 6 blocks away and hear gunshots at night at least once/month. In the ~6 months since Deano’s closed we’ve had at least 5 shootings within a quarter-mile radius of 23rd & union

  17. I agree 100%, grew up in the CD in the 70’s 80’s and 90’s, do have children, and don’t let anyone dictate the when we can go nor the where we can go, this is OUR neighborhood.

  18. yes, that was the owner, i worked with him when it was philly’s best years ago for years! this is just terrible!

  19. I wish we could say this was a surprise or a rare occurrence, but gunshots are still a common in this area. How do we change this?

    I was leading walks every Wednesday night and that felt good, but the cold weather and personal priorities had me stop that and I don’t think they are still ongoing. Regardless, it didn’t seem like enough to push this out.

    Can we do a weekly giant gathering of neighbors to hang out on the blocks of 23rd & Union instead? I can’t help but think that most of the negative energy in the CD stems from this area.

    How would the dealers and gangs react if for a whole week (or however long it took) 100 people showed up and protested against violence and their presence every night? Anybody know if something like that has ever been attempted?

  20. That’s a joke. Any politician who can hear you can ignore you. Not their neighborhood, not their concern. Solutions to community violence must be community-based. Otherwise, you’re just adding to an already existing problem.

  21. I think a weekly, regular gathering of neighbors is a fantastic idea. We need to show positive street presence and demonstrate that this undesirable activity is not acceptable.

  22. I’m not sure that tougher gun laws would help. Most gun laws restrict gun ownership for law abiding citizens. Gang members and violent criminals don’t usually get their guns from shops, they get them off the street where the laws only punish them if they get caught. Let’s remember that the murder rate is among if not the highest in Washington DC where guns are completely illegal. Gun laws are a band-aid that obscures the roots of the problem. We turn to gun laws because they are sensational, dramatic and it feels like something is being done in quantifiable short term steps.

    It’s not the guns that are the problem, it’s the people wielding them. I think getting more involved in the community in demonstrating a presence, and giving something back would be more effective. It’s not as easy as e-mailing your representatives from the comfort of your locked house. Getting involved in the community be mentoring kids, or volunteering at community centers, or helping newcomers to the country learn English isn’t fast and it doesn’t have the same false feeling of “progress” that new but ineffectual laws have. No one grows up thinking “I want to be a drug dealer.” We should focus on reminding them why, and introducing alternatives.

    Yes, it’s our community, but it’s their community too. Instead of just trying to overwhelm the ‘undesirables’ with police and confrontation, how about letting them know that someone actually cares?

  23. I don’t necessarily agree with you, Lonnie. It wouldn’t be protesting to the government but taking matters into our own hands. If many people protested against this violence, I don’t believe that gangs would dare come around. It would show we care about our neighborhood and I think that would intimidate gangs and dealers.

  24. Whether this is gang-related or not, we all know that the gang issue has gotten much worse aroudn 23rd and Union in the past year. Glad to hear the feds are involved, and obviously this will only add to the overall attention of the cops. There is no substitute for their regular presence and vigilance. Beyond that, a few other thoughts:
    1) While weekly demonstrations/walks are certainly helpful, I would really like to see a massive outpouring on some specific evening in the next couple of days. Specifically, it should be to honor the deceased restaurant owner (he started there as a freaking dishwasher and worked his way up to owning the place!) and a huge chorus of people saying that enough is enough! Does anyone know if anything is planned? If not it should be – no reason we shouldn’t be able to get 100s of people out there.
    2) support of the 2203 Union development (I gather they are making some slow, but steady progress in the city approval process) and any other potentially game-changing, but thoughtful development.
    3) While much of the action is right near the corner, we know they need to lurk around the neighborhoods from time to time to do business, or just hang out of sight of the cops. We just have to go overboard for the time being in making all side streets as unwelcoming as possible – having front lights on in all houses, calling 911 all the time, having people hanging out on their front porches/front yards as much as possible (a little tough in February I realize – but important as warm weather rolls around), and any “broken window theory” kinds of fixes (keeping garbage picked up, street facing upgrades/landscaping/etc, trying to get some kind of movemement on some of the long-term unoccupied houses (not much we can do presumably), etc, etc).

    Seems like a few very tangible things we can do while the cops do their part, but would be interested to hear other practical ideas.

  25. I’ve lived two blocks south of 23rd and Union for ten years, and have two kids, age 6 and 3. Over the years I’ve walked everywhere in this neighborhood with my kids in tow, including Philly’s, maybe about every other month or so. I totally agree that we need to be out on the streets and own our neighborhood. But 2007 was the first time I’ve consciously started to avoid walking around 23rd and Union, after Chocolate City closed and all the action moved up here. I don’t think we’ve walked over to Philly’s for 8 or 10 months. Some will say that I shouldn’t live in fear, but at some point it just isn’t worth subjecting myself and my family to that stress. So all you folks that refuse to live in fear, am I going to see you out taking a leisurely stroll at 23rd and Union at midnight tonight?

  26. how many people have to die before they listen? come on! we need help here, stop it from happening! please!!!!!
    close places like thompsons point of view down! they harbour all of this.

  27. That whole corner has been a shithole for YEARS. I used to like the sandwiches at Philly’s Best (as long as you don’t look to closely at how dirty the entire place is. I had some local crack head practically chase me into the place repeatedly asking for money- he was at the gas station when he saw me park and tried to run over and catch me before I got to the door at Philly’s. EVERY FREAKING time I went there, there was some shit going down on the corner, across the street etc. The gas station across the street is no better. God forbid that you actually have to stop there for gas or anything else.

    Seems to me that the city and cops are quite happy to let crime keep driving the property values down so more developers can waltz in and build more overpriced slutty condos.

  28. i knew the owner, and i am very close with his family. he was a great man, everyone knew him around here, and the people who really knew him loved him. i was always greeted with a smile. he was one of the hardest working people i know, he was at that restauraunt every single day from open to close. he tried very hard to make it a safe place for people to enjoy. he was a great boss that gave oppurtunities to people that might not have had that many in their life.

    i have been to his restauraunt countless times, went to school and lived in the central district blocks away from philly’s. although the central district gets a bad rap, the truth is that this could happen anywhere. don’t let this senseless act of violence change the way you live your life. the more people that choose to stand up and fight for the safety of our city the better. make your presence known in the central district. lets take back our streets.

    i do find it very curious that with all the police presence in the central district this guy was able to get away in his flashy car and still be at large.

    i think i massive demonstration would be amazing. i’ve talked with the family and i know that some would love to join. a candlelight vigil? lets let our lights shine, for Safei, who’s light was put out to soon, and for other victims of senseless crime.

    this is heartbreaking for all involved, please let this family grieve in peace.

  29. Does anyone know the status of the vacant lot on 23rd and Union? It has been unused since the Earthquake seven years ago. It seems that converting the lot into a vibrant mixed-used space would increase the foot traffic and presence in the area. Miss Helen’s and other businesses in the old space were neighborhood staples. I am certain apartments, retail, and restaurants would bring back the neighborhood vibe.

  30. I referenced this about 8 comments up (i.e. the 2203 Union development)

    The short answer is that Jim Mueller, a developer, has plans to build a mixed use – condos with retail on the ground level – building there. But needs city approval to go up to 65 feet – as it’s currently only zoned for 40 feet. There was a very well attended community meeting on this back in May/June at Central Cinema. It seems it’s mostly taking a long time due to staffing shortages and a project logjam in the city planning office. But it seems as though he’s made some progress of late, and if everything gets approved, last I heard the plan was to break ground this summer. You can find a little more detail here:

    And Andrew Taylor has also posted some info on the Miller Park blog:

    In short, I agree that it would be a big step forward in changing the nature of that corner.

  31. The design review meeting for 2203 East Union in tentatively scheduled for Wed. March 5 at 8pm at Seattle Central. The building will be apartments, not condos. Either way, I believe it will have a huge positive impact on 23rd and Union and I encourage the neighborhood to support it. I also believe we are being presented with a rare opportunity to get a relatively high quality building. Mithun is a great design firm, and Mueller is a conscientious developer who understands sustainability. If objections to the 65-foot contract rezone kill this project, it will be a big loss for the neighborhood. We’ll either end up with schlock, or nothing at all for who knows how many more years.

  32. This is soooo soooo sad. What is this world coming to? I don’t believe the person who did this should be killed. That would just be letting him off easy. It’s funny how it takes so much care to bring a life INTO this world…. and takes absolutely nothing to take you out of this world. I just saw Dejene approx. 3 weeks before this. It was his closing time and he stayed open just so we could come through the drive thru and get our sandwiches. He smiled and I told him to have a “blessed night”, he said “thanks” and smiled. That was the last time I saw him. Approx. about 3 mos. ago I was in his restaraunt with my 9yr old son.. I remember telling Degene how I was proud to see a young black man with his own “legit” business being such a good example for our children and our community. Again, he said “thanks” and smiled. There was something about his smile that was unforgettable.

    R.I.P. Degene

  33. I was in Goodwill on Lane Street and suddenly a group of paramedics and firemen cleared the aisle to move in a gurney and as two of them were putting a man on the gurney, one exclaimed, (I caught it mid-sentence) “23rd and Union, the guy fell FLAT and it was AWESOME!!” Then he said it wasn’t on YouTube yet because (something about the one responding at the scene) had to upload it. They were all laughing and talking about other YouTubes they had uploaded.

    I was shocked, too shocked to say anything to them. Their cavalier attitudes and jokes were disgraceful. I have lost all respect for the paramedics and firemen. The following was taken from today’s logs:

    2/20/2009 1:21:19 PM F090015571 E25 1400 S Lane St Aid Response