Community Post

Shooting Outside Garfield Community Center

A man in his late teens or early twenties was shot in the face a few minutes before seven tonight on the east side of the Garfield Community Center at 23rd & Cherry.  Seattle Police Spokeswoman Renee Witt said that a group of men were hanging out in the area when they were approached by a second group.  An argument ensued, and a member of the second group pulled out a gun and shot the victim.  The victim then entered the community center where he collapsed.  He was treated for a while at the scene before being taken to Harborview, where he was last reported to be in critical condition.

Witnesses reported seeing 4 teen-aged suspects running through the playfield to the south. A K9 unit was brought in but could not establish a track on the suspects. Police detained two of the victim’s friends for questioning, but they escaped through a window before that could happen. No further description of the suspects was available from official sources.

The victim was fairly well known among kids in the community.  We believe he lives with his family just a few blocks north of where he was shot.  I spoke to Saviour Knowledge at the scene who said he knew the victim and had actually spoken to him just earlier in the day.  I can also say that we were familiar with the victim’s name from listening to the scanner, but we don’t have any detailed information to put that in a specific context. (ed. note:  We got the right first name, wrong last name at the scene last night.  Seattle Times reports today that Harborview identified him as Donnie P. Cheatham)

Thirteen-Fifteen-year-old Quincy Coleman was shot and killed on Halloween just across the playfield from this event. We also heard that members of one of the two parties were wearing some sort of t-shirts memorializing Quincy. However, police couldn’t say whether this was a retaliation shooting or otherwise a part of the recent cycle of gang violence. 

We’ll add more as we get it.


Here’s the real-time log of information as it unfolded over the night:

At just after 7:00 PM a group of teens were involved in a shooting inside the Garfield Community Center. It is unknown if anyone was hit or if there are any injuries.

The suspects are black males in their teens wearing “Lil’ Quincy” (Quincy Coleman) remembrance T-shirts.

Witness saw four teens running SW through the playfield, one wearing a white bomber jacket, the other wearing a brown coat.

No suspects have been apprehended, but police are creating a containment zone.

Update: Officer has located three shell casings South of the Center

Update (7:26PM) : K-9 units are arriving on scene

Update (7:28PM): Police are requesting more units for Harborview, so at least one person was hit

Update (7:30PM by Scott):  I just got back from the scene.  There is one victim with a gunshot wound to the head, a black male reported to be 21 years old.  He was taken out by medic to an ambulance where we was treated for about 15 minutes before being driven to Harborview.  I spoke to residents who live across the park on 25th who said they heard 7 to 8 shots from inside their house.  A large group of friends of the victim had gathered near the scene.  Video coming soon.  

Update (7:35PM) : Two potential witnesses were being held in the Community Center and they escaped through a window

Update (8:27PM by Scott): I went back to the scanner recordings to see how it unfolded. The original call came in to 911 at 6:59pm from a resident on 25th who reported hearing shots fired. Multiple other calls then streamed in from others reporting shots fired near Garfield Community Center. A caller also reported seeing 5 black males running away from the scene, described as juvenile black males, about 15-17 years old. The victim was found around 7:01pm with a wound to the face. There was some initial confusion placing him in the Garfield gym complex instead of the community center on the corner of 23rd & Cherry. The gym was placed under lockdown as a precaution.

Also note jbatt’s first hand report:

I heard 5-8 shots outside my apartment at 23rd and Cherry at around 7pm. I went out to see what was what and 3-5 cops, fire, etc. is on site and literally running around, unsure of what is going on.

I walked up to the Garfield CC entrance and Officer states: “You need to get out of here, we are locking the whole place down.”


Update: 9:08pm – I went back to the scene and talked to SPD Spokeswoman Renee Witt, who said that the victim is in critical condition at Harborview.  She said the event started when two groups encountered each other outside the community center.  Words were exchanged, and one of them pulled out a gun and shot a man in the other group.  The victim’s group ran into the community center where the victim collapsed.

A local group of moms who have lost their kids to violence were also on the scene to drive home their message that the string of violence has to end.  They were actually at another event in Columbia City when they heard about the shooting, and then moved the event up here.  Saviour Knowledge was there with them, and he told me that he had actually spoken to the victim earlier in the day. He and the other people at the scene were all upset that the recent cycle of violence was continuing and might end up taking another life.

Update: 9:46pm – Added video of SPD Spokeswoman Renee Witt explaining the circumstances around the shooting

Update: 10:45pm – Added interview with Wyking Garrett

0 thoughts on “Shooting Outside Garfield Community Center

  1. 1. Be careful out there, Scott (and Jonas)!

    2. There seems to be SPD confusion about the various buildings at the Garfield complex – a similar-sounding situation was mentioned when Quincy Coleman was killed. This may be a result of understandably careless reporting from witnesses calling 911 from the scene, but if not, it seems some logistical updating for EP officers might be in order, especially after the recent remodeling.

  2. just sad. there are about 10 people outside with signs, folks i’ve never seen before, and then kids milling around like they just saw Michael Jordan, laughing, texting, joking.

    here is a video from back in the day that pretty much sums it up. too bad it was made in ’89, but these guys were ahead of their time.

  3. I really really hate the waste of human life, of human potential. I hate the stupid, stupid, stupid culture that drives these children to kill each other. But every time I try to express my sadness and frustration, I get pigeonholed as a racist, so I’ll just STFU and go about my life.

    But dammit. These kids never had a chance. And we – all of us, black and white – let this sad story continue, generation after generation.

  4. Are there any video cameras in the area that might provide the eyewitness account? I know our fair city has some prohibitions on these but it seems as though the police would be able to get some solid evidence if there were some in the area – and down at Othello Playground.

  5. A direct quote, “No suspects have been apprehended, but police are creating a containment zone.”

    They already have, three decades ago, and this is the continued results!

  6. Thanks carolyn; I try to stay low and small when I am outside my apartment building’s courtyard.

    Honestly, I feel safe (want to feel safe?) in my neighborhood, but the reality is, at 23rd/Cherry and in the surrounding area, all bets are off. However, I know that my new house, seven blocks North of the shooting, is helping to take back a corner that had been a haven for drugs and prostitution in the last 5 years.

  7. i was at the pool with my 3 year old… was awfully fun being on police lock down at the medgar evers indoor pool with a toddler ….NOT!!! Any pointers on how to answer the questions “why are there so many police cars” “what are those people doing?”. The way for these type of things to change is for people to actually be out of there houses and cars once in awhile involved in the community. Why is this area so quiet in the streets? Where are all the “community oriented people” when the community center is in need? Toys for tots, etc. uuuurrrrgh. this violence just stems from neglect/anger in so many ways.

  8. Welcome to our corner! I live three houses from your new location and look forward to meeting you when your construction work is done and you can move in.

  9. Once again you’ve done a wonderful job keeping us updated about (sadly) yet another tragic event in our midst. My thanks for your wonderful efforts.

    I appreciate that you’ve done all this in a very short time frame. The video provided a very real immediacy and confirmed the “circus” atmosphere in some of the onlookers reported in a comment.

    I found it uncomfortable looking at the video of the victim being wheeled out to the ambulance. Am I alone in this? I’m wondering if such scenes are a necessary part of the narrative?


    BTW: more information at:

  10. I felt horribly uncomfortable too, even fighting back a hard lump in my throat watching the video on my ancient laptop. But I thought about it and I think it’s the right reaction. I am OK with being uncomfortable with this level of violence in my neighborhood. What are the alternatives: Acquiescence? Acceptance? Ridiculous.

    I am interested to see how the other “media” deals with another CD teen shooting.


  11. someone was shot. your discomfort is with the reality of the victim’s state. this is not a “narrative.” this happened.

  12. this is not a “narrative.” this happened. The CD News report is a narrative account of what happened. I’m questioning whether pictures/videos of a live, suffering victim are a necessary part of the report. I feel that broadcasting them invades the victim’s privacy and would be most disturbing to his family/friends.

    The mainstream media seem in general to avoid pictures of wounded/dead Americans (though seemingly not of foreigners caught up in our wars). We can all appreciate the sadness/cruelty/injustice without seeing the living (dying?) victim. Does the clip add appreciably to our understanding of the situation?

    As I noted above, the reporting was done in haste during the ongoing event. I was wanting us to reflect, and perhaps offer our thoughts.


  13. RE: “what can be done about this all?”

    Don’t wait for your government or your neighbors to resolve this. The kids doing this stuff have no regard for those around them and the city isn’t willing to acknowledge it’s a major problem, because the moment they do, it becomes a blemish on their record. Better to sweep it under the carpet, so we can keep business, tourists, etc rolling in.

    Ultimately, you’ve got to look to what YOU can do to make a difference. Don’t ask what others / the city can do. If you see graffiti near your house, clean it up. Don’t complain. If you feel unsafe, buy a firearm and take lessons. The good old government clearly isn’t going to protect you (not in this neighborhood, at least).

  14. all these young kids hang out on the same 8 blocks. how about more patroling. seattle gang unit is horrible. they cant even solve the quincy murder when everybody is talking bout who did it. how about metal detectors at the doors of the community center. these kids all hang out there and there obviously in gangs. that woulda prevented this shooting. step up and spend the money on our f in youth, not the damn pot holes on 23rd

  15. buy a firearm and take lessons.

    why so these same kats can rob your house take your gun and go smoke somebody with it.

    you think they buy these guns in the stores?

    no you do. then they get em and get away with murders.

    cuz seattle is a f in joke.

  16. I’d like to see them rob my house. They’d have a surprise waiting.

    And, for the record, I love your rationale for gun control: impose additional laws on those who obey the law to attempt to stop those who will stop at nothing to break the law. That really makes a lot of sense. In fact, it’s pure genius. I’m going to just give up my guns and allow the criminals to own the night, because they could potentially rob me. Makes total sense to me.

    FYI– I lock mine up. I have a serious alarm. And I’ll damn sure shoot the first person that comes through my door illegally. Good luck getting your hands on my shiznit.

  17. Thanks for your concerns about the video.

    We try to be about reality here. This death and destruction is happening in our neighborhood, practically on our front doors. The video isn’t pleasant, but we don’t think it would do anyone a favor to sanitize the reality of what’s going on on our streets.

    We do draw lines. We don’t publish names, addresses, or other personal details unless they’ve been officially released by authorities or charged with a crime. And we would never show a victim’s face or show blood and gore for its own sake.

    But we will always try to give you an accurate view of what’s happening around here.

  18. I go to garfield high school and was one of quincy colemans best friends. that kid changed my life more than any human being i have ever known and he got set up to be murdered at 15. these last few months have been nothing short of insanity. there is actual war going on in our city over the area in which a particular child rests their head to sleep. something needs to happen. this will not stop

  19. Scott, for those of us whose laptops refuse to play videos (maybe mine is the only one?), could you print a summary of the interview with Wyking?

  20. Seems to me that you’re doing a lot just by going to school and making progress, day by day. Good luck to you.

  21. Big question as a Mom of four, “Your room is my room, your stuff is my stuff!” I know exactly what my kids are doing – lets hold parents responsible for there childrens actions. Quickly parents would come down on these kids, if you thought you were going to jail with your kid you bet you would clean house. Scared of them, then lets do what happened to us in the day take them back. It is going to be alot of work, and a hell of alot of screaming.

  22. …is the amount of chaos directly around the cops during these times. And why does Scott and his team always get hassled by the kids?

  23. Motu and Ryan, What can we do to help you succeed in life? This is our chance (the community) to step in and make a difference. What can we do to make a real difference in your future? Do you want to go to college or technical school? Do you need help with homework? A job, internship, reference? Help with Financial aid forms? A support network? Are you gang affiliated and want to disaffiliate? Do you have a warm, safe secure home with plenty of food?

    What can we do? Be honest. What is it you need to dream and achieve? Are you willing to choose a different path? To work hard? To take advice as well as resources to help build your future? Tell us. Give us guidance Let us help. I know it’s hard but possible.

    The fact that you’re here and posting as part of our community is so positive. Thank you.

  24. Blessings on you, Ardith! A lot of work is already being done on this (see umojafest peace project at 24th and E Spring, for instance, as well as Central Youth and Family Services and many others) but it is not enough. We need to reach a tipping point – and definitely need more info from the kids themselves.

  25. First of all, I want everyone to know that the shooting did not happen -IN- the community center. The victim came to our front doors for help. Yes, some of the teens that know the victim were in our center. They were there the whole time. Before the shooting happened. The only person that came into our building after it happened was the victim. I’m tired of people always reporting that the shootings are happening inside our center walls, when we are the place that helps them. So many positive things happen inside our walls. So many positive things happen in our community.
    I also want everyone to know that the victim is going to live. If you want to do something about it, be a mentor. Quit giving teens the cold shoulder. Just because they dress a certain way doesn’t mean that they are something to be afraid of. Its a front. You would dress the same way if you had that kind of fear every day. Smile at them. Say Hi. Make them feel welcome in our community. It takes a village…

  26. I echo Ardith’s questions. MOTU & Ryan: let the community know how we can help you achieve your dreams. Are you willing to leave violence behind (I don’t assume that you are involved in violence or gangs, but if you are…)? I believe this is a committed community. We care. Don’t let these shootings be your destiny.

  27. It’s apparent that the block between 23rd and 25th that starts with Garfield High School and ends with Garfield Community Center is the center of the violence for the last 3+ months, so there’s no reason to pretend that the center isn’t an area of concern. That said, as a resident of 24th who walks this neighborhood daily, of course positive things are happening inside the center. But that alone won’t end this streak of violence by a few pathetic cowards.

    Is the community center requesting more security resources for their corner? Are the directors and center management petitioning the SPD for more patrols and a much more visible presence? Everyone in the neighborhood would love to hear what is being done on the part of the Community Center to deter this violence and get it off the 23rd and Cherry corner.

  28. I’d be the first to agree that we need more police on the street (not in cars) in areas like this. But here’s a bit of a reality check: an SPD officer was actually just a block away at the Garfield gym complex when this happened. We’ll never be able to put officers on all 4 corners of every park and school campus in the neighborhood.

  29. 100% agree with you, Scott, but with the core of this violence being centered in these few blocks there has to be something in-between ‘never enough’ and ‘doing more’, especially in the short term. One officer that just happens to be close by shouldn’t somehow mean everything that can be done is being done. I drive by the drop-in center a few blocks away at Union and 23rd 2-3 times a day or more and rarely notice anyone dropped in or cars out front. What’s the point? No one is ever going to rent those retail spaces and bring more positive change and development to this corner if people are being shot and killed every two or three weeks.

    Where I am coming from is that it is obvious this area around the center and the school are targets/hubs for this garbage. Residents of the area should be able to visibly witness effort on the part of law enforcement to deter the violence. What is this? The 4th incident in 8 weeks?

  30. Garfield HS is not on Cherry between 23rd and 25th. The incidences have taken place in the area east of Garfield HS along 25th and 26th and then along Cherry, right? I don’t believe that so far there has been any indication that Garfield HS serves as HUB for this type of activity. After being injured one teen went to the Teen Center because it was open.

    I’m not sure if there is a regular crowd hanging around outside the Community Center, but if there is regular narcotics activity there, I would hold the city accountable to be more vigilant. If it is true for any area that directly borders Garfield HS contacting the District and the Garfield administration is important. While there are many who need help we cannot let violence and fear overtake the neighborhood and spawn even more violence.
    The Teen Center is not an official part of Garfield HS as it serves an area not one HS.

  31. To deny liquor licenses in this area to legitimate businesses (Twilight, etc) which will increase pedestrian traffic is pure stupidity. I believe that businesses that our community wants would only improve safety in the area.

  32. yeah, that is the location of the high school.
    I am a teaher there. The community center is connected literally 50 feet to the north.
    Its all the same place. The school is great… the area around it is the troubled part.

  33. I second that emotion. Better development will definitely enhance the neighborhood and deter crime.

    In the 2+ years I lived here before Garfield High School opened, I don’t recall any crime on the scale of what I’ve seen in the neighborhood since this school year started. Buildings vandalized by taggers, tons of litter, a few attempted murders here and there (some successful), break ins. It seems like any positive advances that have been realized in the last 3 years or so are close to being completely reversed and the influx of kids is something people would have us believe is just a coincidence?

  34. Before anyone can get all bent out of shape…

    by ‘influx of kids’ I mean Garfield students and the people they bring to the area. Esteemed colleagues?

  35. Last night in the early evening a group of males were standing outside and behind the Garfield Community Center. Early information is that they were approached by other males. There were shots fired and all parties ran, the victim and a couple others ran into the community center. Seattle Police were called and Seattle Fire Medics responded to treat and transport the victim who received a very serious gunshot wound to the head.

    The witnesses did not remain at the scene and suspect information was minimal.
    An area search for the suspects was conducted by patrol, detective and canine units but the search was unsuccessful.

    The Seattle Police Homicide and Gang units responded to the scene and the investigation continues. We ask that anyone with information regarding this or any other shooting please contact the Police Department Homicide or gang unit.

    Captain P. McDonagh
    East Precinct Commander

  36. to be honest school and everything is fine. i think we just need a safe environment around school so we can be more comfortable and concentrate on school and stuff

  37. I agree with you. There seems to be a lot of face-turning when it comes to being involved in the central district community. I appreciate this blog for keeping me up to date, but i also go to the community center to see what’s going on every now and then, i walk the streets, go to the library, eat and shop nearby, take the bus, etc. ALL residents need to band together and show that we won’t take any more of this violence.

  38. I don’t want the “citizen of the month and year” entry to be the lasting image of the young man that was shot. I am a very vocal advocate against the violence in the Garfield Community and was outraged at the shooting on Tuesday night and then horribly saddened when I learned within 20 minutes who the victim was, a young man I have known much of his life. Often these victims wear a face that we don’t know and only can conjecture what they might have been about when we view their My Space page. I have come to believe that “My” Space and “You” Tube are just about what their titles suggest for the generations that are using it, because it is all about them. A chance to be whatever they want to be, for the shock value, which gains them instant recognition and internet fame. It is a distorted view at best of the actual person more driven by fantasy than reality. I say that because by now you have read the myspace and seen the video but there is more. You have undoubtedly seen the news articles regarding his achievements on the basketball court, but there is more. What about his academic prowess (how about a 4.0), his amazing tap abilities when he was younger (so outstanding that Savion Glover saw him as one day being even greater than himself), the 999,999 friends he has, but most of all the family that has loved him even when he couldn’t love himself. There was a comment asking, where are the parents, in a previous post and I ask, at what point do parents have responsibility over a 21 year old man? I certainly found out through parenting that 0-18 years are not the hardest part of parenting. It is the period from 18-100 years when you pray that all you have taught and instilled in them will kick in when they make sometimes bad and reckless decisions as adults. You can tell them what to do, but you can’t make them. There are dangers in society and the streets that are often stronger than the parent’s voice in the back of their minds. I hope that we can stop focusing on the victim and instead focus on the apprehension of the person who recklessly fired 7-8 shots outside a busy community center. It sometimes seems that if we make the victim look bad enough to deserve this, then we don’t necessarily have to do anything to make it better. The problem with violence in the youth today will not easily be resolved overnight and it will take a very concerted effort on the part of everyone to start chipping away at it.

  39. Hi Motu, Do you have ideas about how to make the area around Garfield safer? I have a couple that we could talk about, and if you have some maybe we can affect change together. When you don’t feel safe is it primarily from the gun/gang related violence? Or is it more subtle than that? Is it other teens that make you not feel safe? Or the general community around the school? Do you feel safe once you are inside school, during the day?
    Please keep talking to me. I am listening.

    Ryan, are you still out there?