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Seattle council: Fatal downtown shooting ‘cannot become new normal’

The scene of a fatal shooting in downtown Seattle. (Getty Images)

Seattle City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Andrew Lewis issued a joint statement Thursday, in response to a fatal shooting downtown that killed one person and injured seven.

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“This morning our hearts are filled with grief for the loss of life that occurred as a result of last night’s shootings,” they said in a news release. “We are deeply saddened for all of the people affected by last night’s tragedy and by the recent spate of gun violence, downtown and in other parts of the city.”

Herbold represents District 1, which encompasses West Seattle and South Park, and is currently serving as the Pro Tem Council President. Lewis — newly-elected to Seattle City Council last November — represents the downtown area of the city, where Wednesday night’s tragic shooting took place.

Both emphasized the need for reform. Seattle police officers have long been vocal about the need for more staffing, while the city has been embroiled in controversy over so-called “prolific” repeat criminal offenders since early-2019.

The two suspects from Wednesday night’s shooting have dozens of arrests and felony convictions between them on their respective records.

According to the Seattle Police Department’s crime dashboard, the downtown core saw over 41,000 911 calls in 2019, as well as over 1,000 reported crimes. Both of those numbers represent the most of any neighborhood in the city.

SPD cites a “lack of police capacity, civility issues, aggressive panhandling, drug use in public, and assault” as the common causes behind that trend in downtown Seattle.

“This cannot become Seattle’s new ‘normal,'” Herbold and Lewis’s statement continued. “Seattle must be a place where everyone feels safe to work and play. Our downtown core is no exception and we share the safety concerns of businesses and residents alike. The Seattle Police Department is working to grow the size of our force so police can do more proactive policing.”

Seattle’s Congressional Representative Pramila Jayapal pointed to the need for stronger gun control in a Thursday statement of her own.

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“This incident is a devastating reminder that we need to do so much more to curb the scourge of gun violence in our state and nation,” she said. “Yesterday’s shooting was the third shooting in Seattle in just two days. This cannot be — and does not have to be — the reality for our children and our community.”

“I pledge to continue doing everything I can to fight the gun lobby and its Congressional allies who stand in the way of commonsense gun safety and gun violence prevention measures,” she added.

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