Community Post

Update on 23rd Ave Gun Incident

Here’s what we know about the gun incident that brought a number of automatic-weapon-bearing officers to 23rd between Marion & E. Columbia just after noon today.   The initial report we heard on the radio was that a man with a gun was kicking in a door just north of 23rd & Cherry.   I grabbed the camera and ran down to the scene, where I spoke to a witness that generated that call.  

The witness said that she had just gotten off the bus and was walking south on 23rd when she saw a car pull up to a house in the 800 block of 23rd.  A guy jumped out of the car and pulled a handgun out of his waistband and then ran inside the open front door of the house.   As she was watching this, another person in the car told her to mind her own business, and that the man with the gun was there to retrieve some stolen property.   The witness then reported hearing several muffled pops, which she thought were gunshots coming from inside the house.  Another pedestrian used her cell phone to make the 911 call.

Later the radio reported a separate call to 911 from a member of the family that lives in the house, saying that his nephew was the shooter.  Confusingly, he wasn’t at the house, but was calling from a work-release program somewhere else.   Two other conflicting reports said that the suspect shot at the house and then took off northbound on foot, while another said he shot at the house and then left in a car.

A 4-door sedan was pulling out of the driveway of the targeted house as police arrived.  An officer armed with a semi-automatic rifle stopped the vehicle at the corner of 23rd & Columbia, where the passenger was taken out, put in handcuffs, and searched.  He was questioned by police for about 20-30 minutes before being released and then driving away with the other people that were in the car with him.   Other observers at the scene said that he was related to the family that lives in the targeted house, but it’s not clear if he is the nephew that was described in the 911 call.


I spoke to an officer at the scene who said that she couldn’t substantiate any of the claims of guns or shots fired, and could only classify this as “a disturbance.”   No one was taken into custody.

The house that was the focus of this incident has had a long series of issues.  They’ve been cited repeatedly by the health department for the piles of junk and garbage that are periodically piled around the property.  Additionally, several residents of the house and relatives of the homeowners have long criminal records.   On June 9th of this year, six members of the family were arrested for on a variety of charges, including domestic violence and drug offenses.   That comes after a March 14th roundup where an even larger group of family members were booked into the King County Jail on similar charges.  We can also confirm that one son of the homeowner and periodic resident at that address was recently released from the Coyote Ridge penitentiary and is now assigned to the Northwest Region Work Release program.

0 thoughts on “Update on 23rd Ave Gun Incident

  1. Great, yet another shining example that the CD is not heading in the right direction. Situations like this typify this neighborhood and, consequently, contribute to its “ghettoized” image. Oh, some will argue that this is an isolated incident between family members. Well, dope dealers affect the entire community. I’d also like to point out that this is but one of many examples of this kind of shit. We need to quit fooling ourselves.

    I find this personally disturbing because I go out of my way to walk down Cherry almost everyday because I find it somewhat safer than Union. Wrong. The city needs to seize this house.

  2. Ah yes, crime in a major city, completely points to a “ghettoized” area. (What’s the emoticon for rolling eyes?) You’ve got to be kidding me, yes it’s a house with people with criminal records, and yes somebody had a gun. But please, enlighten me, what do we need to quit fooling ourselves about? That there’s crime in a major city? That poor economic conditions beget crime? That handguns scare people? What? And out of curiosity, please enlighten us as to one of the other “many examples” of this “kind of shit”?

    And finally, I’m trying to figure out where on earth you got the idea that these people are “dope dealers”? “Domestic violence” and “drug offenses” does not mean “dope dealer”.

    I really think there’s a disconnect (yes, CDNews readers included) between the crime levels here and the size of this city. I’ve lived in some pretty urban areas around the country (Atlanta, DC, etc.) and quite frankly, peoples notion of crime in this city is so out of proportion to reality, I can’t begin to explain it. Seattle-ites, listen up, you’ve got it good, there’s not alot of crime here. Keep working to keep it that way, but let’s not get out of hand and talk about “ghettos” or neighborhood stereotyping, this IS NOT A GHETTO, it’s not close to a ghetto, it’s not even in the same ballpark as a ghetto.

    And you wonder why people have such issues with gentrification…

  3. Wow DD, You need to stop and chill before your fingers hit the keyboard.
    I don’t know what Union Street you are talking about, but that long stretch of street Seattle calls Union is safe the VAST majority of the time.
    I echo kb and find your fear mongering silly and inflammatory. 99.9% of the people here are just trying to live their lives.
    If you had a salient point to make, it was lost in the contrived drama. Why don’t you try again a little more calmly? Why should the city seize the house?

  4. First of all, I’m not trying to compare Seattle or the CD to cities such as Baltimore, Newark, or L.A. I know we have it good in Seattle in comparison. Further, I’m not trying to classify the CD as a ghetto similar to those found in cities such as Compton, Inglewood, or Queens nor am trying to argue that crime rates are similar. Your point, good sir, is a red herring. I’m talking about SEATTLE, specifically the CD, and my post should be read in light thereof.

    To clarify, I referred to the “ghettoized” image (yes, those are quotes)that the CD has been known for. I know that CD is not a “ghetto”. Ask a Seattleite who lives in Capitol Hill, or Alki or Belltown to describe the CD, however, and you’ll likely receive such a description. My post was in regard to the increase in drugs, gangs, and crime in the CD –not Chicago or LA. There is really no argument that the crime rate has been increasing in this neighborhood (unless you ignore empirical data).

    And of course lower socio-economic status correlates with crime rate. However, does that excuse it? The CD is home to more under-represented minorities and lower-income families, per capita, than any other area in Seattle, save maybe for Rainier Beach. While many CD residents work hard and volunteer many hours to community programs and tutoring disenfranchised youth, this is a long-term solution.

    But wait, let me sit back and relish in the fact that I don’t live in Compton or Newark. Let me take solace in knowing that although criminals have been casing my house, and that last week it took the police over an hour to respond to the security alarm in my home, I live in a safe neighborhood. Let me relax with the notion that other neighborhoods in Seattle are receiving preferential treatment by the SPD. That’s the solution! (What’s the emoticon for rolling eyes?)

    And perhaps my statement regarding dope-dealing was far-fetched, and that there would be no reasonable inference between a house with an exhaustive history of crime, including “drug offenses”, and the inference of dope dealing. My apologies.

    Also, per your request, here is an example of a “similar crime”, if only in degree, courtesy of Seattle University:
    “Campus Public Safety monitored Seattle Police responding to a reported shooting at approximately 3 a.m. on Saturday, July 19 in the area of 14th and E. Jefferson St. An SPD officer reported a single gun shot was fired in the direction of his patrol car, which was not struck. The officer was writing a report while parked in the lot located on the northeast corner of the intersection. The Seattle Police are continuing to investigate the incident.”

    Oh but wait, someone will likely counter that someone shooting at a police patrol car isn’t similar to a man wielding a firearm and running into a home and that this is something that should be “expected” in a urban city the size of Seattle. Justify and legitimize the crime rate all you want (by comparing the CD to cities many more times the population of Seattle), but residents should be informed.

  5. Not quite sure where some of the posters live, but their attitude sounds pretty typical of people who DON’T live near where all the action goes down in the CD. That things are just peachy, and that people complaining of crime here are just racists, insensitive or blow things out of proportion.

    Sorry, but that isn’t the case.

    I see people dealing and doing crack EVERY SINGLE DAY, right smack in front of my house.

    I hear people dealing, screaming at each other and racing away in their cars at all hours of the night, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    I see prostitution EVERY SINGLE DAY right in front of me.

    I hear gun shots regularly, certainly multiple times per week.

    I pick up crack baggies daily, along with the ball point pen remains that they use to smoke it.

    This isn’t Capitol Hill, this isn’t First Hill. This is different. There is a very real and very persistent drug trade here which permeates everything. If you think we are all racists, then come live in our shoes for a bit and see how it is. It has nothing to do with race, it has a lot to do with crime.

  6. While DD’s characterization of the neighborhood is obviously overblown, something definitely needs to be done about this house. The family there has been on a decades-long crime spree, causing real problems for anyone who lives within a few blocks away from them. It is multi-generational, starting with the now-departed dad, extending through to their kids who are constantly in and out of jail, and now to the grandkids and other assorted extended family members who are keeping up the family tradition.

    They have a long history of violent crimes, including assaults, weapons charges, and various hard drug dealing and use. And the whole property is a health hazard to anyone within breathing or rat walking distance.

    The matriarch, although old and nearly crippled, is well aware of what goes on around her. She supports the criminal lifestyles of all her family members and all the other assorted creeps who hang out with them and shack up in the house.

    Neighbors need some tools to deal with pervasive, long term criminal issues that surround them.

  7. What empirical data? Gut feeling because you now have a log of calls to police that happen during working hours?

    Where are any hard statistics from this year?

    I am positive that there are less than stellar, to put it nicely, families in all parts of town. Deal with the nuisance at hand and stop the generalizing unless you have hard numebrs to back it up.

  8. Perhaps part of the perception that the CD is a ghetto comes from people living in the CD calling it a ghetto. You consider my point a red herring, but in fact I only point out the city comparison because your reaction was that “situations like this typify the neighborhood”. I responded only to note that that typification is an overreaction to a crime incident that, need I remind you, resulted in no injuries and no arrests. I brought the economic argument to light for two reasons: 1. Seizing the house will have zero net affect on the crime, what do you think those owners are going to do, pick up and move to Tacoma? 2. Your stated opinion that the CD is not headed in the right direction. Again, is crime a symptom or a cause, because your implied cause-effect argument (crime incident = heading in wrong direction) would seem to indicate that you don’t recognize the underlying issue.

    And yes, “dope dealing” (whatever that even means) is not the same as “drug offenses”. That’s why we have different laws for the two situations. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the case here, but your implication that “drug offenses”=”dope dealing” would be incorrect. Apologies accepted.

    I agree residents should be informed, and I agree people should recognize that crime is an issue. What I found incomprehensible was the hyperbole of “ghettoization” and “typify the neighborhood” that your original post contained.

    As for the last responder, I live less than a block off Cherry, less than two blocks from Garfield, three blocks from the notorious AM/PM. I work at the corner of 23rd and Jackson and ride my bike everyday through parts of the Central District. I laugh when I see the inevitable 5:30pm report about youths “fighting in the Red Apple parking lot” because I’m usually walking by while those fights go on, and you know what? They’re the same kind of “fights” I had at age 14, 5 kids, hanging out, laughing about kung-fu movies and imitating Matrix moves. I’m always shocked when I come into work the next morning and see that some moron reported that to the police (FYI, this has happened three different times that I’ve noticed, where I’ve seen the incident in question, and it’s 12-16 year old kids shoving eachother around like 12-16 old kids do, it’s almost comical that this gets reported, if it wasn’t so sad…) Is crime a problem? Yes. Are we living in a ghetto? Not even close.

    Furthermore, nobody called you a racist, and I didn’t call you insensitive, but I do think you’re blowing things out of proportion. I see people doing crack everyday, racing by in their cars, dealing drugs, gun shots, baggies, and everything else where I live too. Your continued assertion that you’re not a racist when NOBODY brought up race at all makes me wonder what you’re defending yourself from. So please, if you’re that concerned by people of ANY RACE around your neighborhood, then might I politely suggest you work towards changing the situation instead of telling people to come live in your shoes or screaming at the top of your lungs that you’re not a racist.

  9. i love the dialogue about the neighborhood on here, but at some point this has got to stop being a place for venting and become a place for organizing.

    I think you could talk to Andrew Taylor and he’ll tell you the Madison Valley problem didn’t change overnight and got pretty bad even when areas around the core problem area were improving.

    I was just in Renton today for a meeting with some community leaders there and they told me about an Improvment Committee to help organize their asks and come to city leaders with one voice rather than 20. In the end, an Improvement Committee (think CDIC or even something smaller) can be one voice for action and change and prioritize our many asks into just a few, accomplishable goals. The IC in this neighborhood in Renton was the driving force behind the 4 lane to 2 lane changes on Rainer ave, which has meant a great deal in terms of traffic and the walkability around that area. We’ll never, ever get that done at 23rd or make any of the changes people complain about unless we have some formal entity that speaks with one voice.

  10. “Again, is crime a symptom or a cause, because your implied cause-effect argument (crime incident = heading in wrong direction) would seem to indicate that you don’t recognize the underlying issue.” – kb

    i believe his argument does not only involve this particular incident, but the culmination of events. crime is the underlying issue and I believe he addressed that rather well.

  11. This is turning into a bit of an argument as to what a ‘ghetto’ is. I think that kind of misses the point.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love this neighborhood, I love the diversity here, I love that it isn’t cap-hill. Ghetto is indeed too harsh, I lived in Chicago, this doesn’t compare (nor does any place in Seattle for that matter).

    However, that said, you seem to think things are just dandy, and on that I disagree. I’m not ok with having bullet holes in my car. I’m just not. Nor am I ok with having prostitutes constantly hanging out or being awoken every night by people dealing.

    The good news is that the CD as a whole is moving in the right direction. 23rd+Union in my opinion is the center of it all, I wish we could get Tom to do something a bit more dramatic to address it, maybe the new development there will help, but we’ll see.

    There are very much tiny little micro-climates of extreme badness in the CD, you can walk two blocks in any direction off 23rd and Union and things seem pretty nice. Any less than that and you are back into the daily prostitute, shootings etc..

    As for the racist stuff, what can I say, maybe I’ve just grown tired of being called a racist on here for giving my side of the story, so I jumped the gun. Please accept my apology.

    Want to talk it over further? Come play chess at Thompson’s on Wednesday. I’m usually there.

  12. Gun violence is a part of fancy NE seattle too:

  13. I would have to say that the CD is definitely not in the ghetto or hood category. But, some of the area youths wish that it was. It seems that their mentality is: If I live in a tough place where people get robbed and shot, that helps give me a tough-guy persona. Its an archetype in rap. These kids see the thug lifestyle and want to be that tough guy so bad they’re willing to do whatever it takes to obtain it. Its all about the perception of respect. If you don’t respect them, they show you how tough they are by shooting at your house and running away. The more crimes they commit, the more “hood” the CD becomes and more tough guy cred.

  14. Lets set a time and date and organize something. For years we had the CNA(Central Neighborhood Association) We did lots of things including getting the grant money for the Union Street Improvment Project. As the area became safer and calmer with fewer incidents, interest in the organization waned. No one had any interest in taking on leadership roles and those of us who had were tired of being the only ones doing it. Well things have changed alot over the past couple of years. On this site I see alot of comments coming from folks who can LEAD!Lets do it. Time, date and location and I’ll be there.

  15. I always came to meetings; then suddenly the leaders no longer called meetings or organized to see who was interested in continuing. Board meetings stopped as well. Someone must know the location of the bylaws and of original organizing papers. Organizing means sharing. I’m willing to organize a meeting if that information is shared. Otherwise, we will have to start all over, not altogether a bad idea.

  16. In light of the shooting fatality last night, I say we put this bickering aside and concert our efforts into organizing a meeting. We’re all CD residents here (well, most of us anyway), and I believe we all have the same goals in mind.

    I apologize if my comments seem a bit abrasive. I, like many of us, have been frustrated. Now its time to channel that frustration into proactive organization.

  17. I’m not even going to address this inherently flawed attempt at a “counter-argument”. Next time, try responding to the substance of my argument, rather than positing semantical nonsense and blatant evasion. Sarcastic “apology” redacted.

  18. Ditto. I totally agree. I’ve taught in Baltimore and outside of D.C. When I moved here people told me that the C.D. was the bad neighborhood. When I asked why, they whispered, “well, it’s where all the black people and drug dealers live…you know.” Why do we focus on all the negatives of this community? Don’t you see that the C.D. has a richness of community and flair that no other community in Seattle has?

    If people can’t handle the fact that poverty often brings hardship, addiction and violence, then they are not prepared for urban life. I want my neighborhood to be safe, just like anyone else, but I recognize that none of us are safe until we all have the resources we need to live healthy productive lives.