Police still seeking public help to find Ferrari’s shooter

Seattle Police have no new updates to divulge in the “active and ongoing” investigation into the tragic shooting death of Justin Ferrari at MLK and Cherry May 24. The suspect fled the scene on foot and has not been identified.

Initially, police described Ferrari as being caught in the crossfire of a street dispute, and a detailed description of one suspect was posted to the SPD’s blotter web site. Police were looking for “a black male, light-skinned, late teens to 20′s, six feet tall, 170 pounds, hair in corn rows, possibly wearing a dark hat, red jacket with gray or dark-colored panels on it, shorts and red shoes.” This description was also told to CDNews at the scene by an alleged eyewitness.

Now, police say they are looking for one shooter from the incident and described the suspect as only a black male in his 20s. When asked about the change in suspect description, police said that details sometimes change as the investigation progresses.

“Near the intersection of MLK Jr. Way and East Cherry Street the suspect began firing a gun at individuals that he was in a verbal altercation with,” SPD’s description of the incident reads. “The victim was struck by one of the bullets fired by the suspect, killing him. The suspect then fled the scene on foot.”

Ferrari’s two children, 5 and 7, and parents were in the vehicle with him when he was shot in the head. No one else in the van was injured. Ferrari died in his father’s arms.

Last week, community members packed the multi-purpose room at the Garfield Community Center for a forum to discuss recent gun violence. Unbeknownst to EastPAC, the event’s planners, the forum would be preceded by another terrifying day of gun crime. Ian Stawicki went on a shooting rampage that killed four people inside Cafe Racer in NE Seattle and one woman on First Hill. He shot and killed himself hours after the shootings, but not before purchasing a blueberry plant from a West Seattle flower shop and giving it to an acquaintance. Family members describe Stawicki as mentally disturbed.

The rampage put the city on track to double it’s annual homicide totals. The Seattle Times has put together brief bios of all 21 victims so far in 2012 along with a map showing where the shootings occurred.

The evening community forum featured weary city officials and police who said they were there to listen. Community members expressed anger, fear, sadness, hope, and frustration. After one of the worst weeks of violence in the city’s history, people had a lot to get out.

“We have to find a way not just to stop shooting, but we have find a way to stop hating,” said SPD Lt. John Hayes. “I was disheartened by some of the things written in the CDNews,” he said of some comments on our Ferrari coverage. “This isn’t Seattle and this isn’t the CD, but they were words of hurt and words of pain. We need to learn to know each other.”

The conversation quickly turned to issues of gentrification that have left some longtime residents feeling like outcasts in their own neighborhood.

“I don’t know anybody on my streets anymore,” said one speaker. “That breeds tension.” He suggested neighbors try to get to know the youth near your home.

A man with a walker, who had to “go AWOL from the hospital” to attend the meeting said black youth are treated differently, and that youth crime will not go away without improved access to education.

“How the hell are you gonna take the guns out of these kids’ hands and don’t put a diploma in it? That is not their job,” he said of the police and the mayor. “If you folks are sitting here and expecting them to do what you’re supposed to do, you’re bullshitting yourself.”

When it came to the role of the police in solving violent crime, people were split. While some people applauded SPD for their work during a very hard week, others protested police violence like last year’s shooting of woodcarver John T Williams.

People have expressed fear that the conversation will stop once the news of Ferrari’s death fades from the headlines. While CDNews will not stop pushing for new details in Ferrari’s case, we will also do what we can to help keep the conversation alive. As one speaker put it, we cannot move forward in creating a stronger community until we all acknowledge each other’s concerns. That means talking about hard subjects like fear, alienation and gentrification. In this editor’s opinion, we need more chances to discuss these issues face-to-face. Not just so we can try to find solutions, but because the circle of violence in the community hurts everyone in the neighborhood whether you know the victim or not.

13 thoughts on “Police still seeking public help to find Ferrari’s shooter

  1. “I don’t know anybody on my streets anymore,” said one speaker. “That breeds tension.”

    Ok, I really don’t mean to be insensitive, but how is this an excuse for violence?

    I grew up in a lower middle-class neighborhood in a small, lower middle-class Midwestern town. My mom still lives there. When I go home, it’s a lot more racially diverse than when I lived there (when it was Lilly white) . I can say that “I don’t know anybody on my streets anymore”, but that doesn’t make me tense or violent.

    I lived in the Pike/Pine corridor, from when it was nasty until I got priced out of the rental market. I was one of the people who helped make that neighborhood “respectable”, and my reward was being forced to move when I was out priced. I can go back there and say “I don’t know anybody on my streets anymore” but I really don’t resent it. That was a time in my life that has passed.

    Times change, neighborhoods change. My mom has made friends with her Latino neighbors. I can walk down East Pine and smile and nod to the young families with strollers. What is the big deal?

  2. He wasn’t saying that it made him want to be violent. He also wasn’t really bemoaning the fact that people move and things change. He was saying that people used to talk to each other and know each other, but now people keep to themselves or don’t try to get to know him. If neighbors don’t know each other, how are we supposed to help each other out?

    The talk wasn’t all about violence and gun crime. But if we aren’t even listening to each other, how are we supposed to ever solve a problem as difficult as youth violence?

  3. Most violence is committed by persons known to the victim. That said perhaps we don’t want to know or interact with the folks down the street. Certainly reaching out to help where you are not wanted creates a target to be taken advantage of and eventually a climate of ill will on both sides, where it may have been only one sided before. Best to mind your own business.

  4. Yeah, what’s with these people whining about gentrification? I think we all know that this is code for something else.

  5. It means we don’t want whitey here. We don’t want anybody mowing the lawn or painting the house. We don’t want any of that upity high faluten stuff. No sushi, no vente americanos, no vegan stir fry, no advanced placement math students. We don’t want any of it.

  6. Please call Detective Russ Weklych at the SPD homicide unit, 206-684-5567. Thank you for your help.

  7. Police have seen comments from these posters in the CDN blog;
    Mark, Bo, Lily 31 and Cherry, Harvey, Beverly.
    Please call Detective Russ Weklych at the SPD homicide unit, 206-684-5567. Thank you for your help

  8. Um, was just kidding there. Description was of a black male. Yup pretty sure I saw a black male in the CD.

    Sorry, was trying to be funny. Thank you for the great work SPD is doing. If I ever know anything about it you will get a call from me.

  9. I am nearly 50, grew up in the CD, have lived in the CD my whole life, am of mixed race but apparently appear white to my neighbors. Grumbo, I love you. Your posts are always seriously right to the heart of the matter. The CD was a different – still very violent and one got robbed constantly – place in the 70’s. At least then though folks didn’t blame violence and robbery and such on “gentrification.” Same hood all these years later, but now it’s the fault of newer white neighbors moving in and – gasp – fixing up their houses. It’s such an odd, victimizer as victim bunch of bull. And tiresome, too. And back then, people called the police. They just didn’t come.

  10. Thanks Del. Of course in real life I am only half grumbo and may not appear to be so most of the time.

    My bit about race is that I think it is better to express our racist views rather than cover them up as if they don’t exist.

    There is just too much hiding head in the sand on all sides. People who want to blame everyone else are empowered by the the guilt and appologist movement. The folks who sit around listenning to NPR and believing they are helping because the listenned to a liberal message followed by depressing music.