Community calls for ‘immediate action’ in wake of Seattle shooting

Jan 24, 2020, 7:17 AM | Updated: 4:12 pm
Seattle shooting rally...
Speakers at a downtown rally in Seattle. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

After the Wednesday night shooting of eight people in the heart of downtown Seattle, business leaders gathered Friday to take a stand against further violence.

Seattle Police Chief: Fatal shooting in Seattle ‘unacceptable’

“We are committed as an organization on working with our public officials for immediate action that will ensure that the heart of our city is safe and welcoming for us all,” said Downtown Seattle Association head Jon Scholes.

A woman was killed and seven other people were injured when gunfire broke out in front of a McDonald’s on 3rd and Pine during the height of rush hour. One suspect is in custody, but two others remain at large.

Because some now worry that anyone walking in the area could be a victim, business leaders and others rally at Westlake Park Friday morning to call for an end to the crime they say has run rampant.

Even before the shooting, some business owners called the area a hotbed for crime and felt that not enough was being done to stop it.

“Enough is enough — this is not new; we all have the same stories,” said downtown Seattle property owner Sabrina Villaneuve.

KIRO 7 Reporter Ranji Sinha spoke to a commuter, Annalisa Murphy, who said she now felt vulnerable on the street just waiting for the bus, like she was when the shooting erupted. Murphy and other commuters ran for cover inside a Walgreens when the gunfire started.

The Downtown Seattle Association, which organized Friday’s rally, said downtown residents, business leaders, affordable housing providers, neighborhood groups and others are attending with the message, “enough is enough.”

The hope is to get people engaged in calling for the city to act.

“Our work here has just begun,” said Scholes. “This will not be easy, but it’s essential.”

Since the shooting, the Seattle Police Department has come under fire for not handling downtown crime better, especially in the area where the shooting took place.

As a result, the department said it’s adding more gang detectives to that unit. It’s also positioning a mobile command unit in the area of Third and Pine.

But Seattle Police Guild President Kevin Stuckey said that’s not a sustainable solution because of the department’s decades-long staffing problem. Stuckey told KIRO 7 he’d like to see 200 to 300 more officers in Seattle, and that others further up the law enforcement chain need to do more to help them.

Witnesses describe ‘chaotic’ scene

Both suspects in Wednesday’s shooting remain at large.

The suspects named by Seattle Police are Marquise Latrelle Tolbert (age 24, 6’1″ 200 pounds) and William Ray Tolliver (age 24, 6’0″ 145 pounds). Both men are considered armed and dangerous. SPD is encouraging anyone who sees them or knows where they are to immediately call 911.

Arrest records reveal both are documented gang members with extensive criminal histories. Tolliver has previously been arrested 44 times with 20 convictions, for offenses including unlawful possession of firearm, theft, malicious mischief, and assault. Tolbert has been arrested 21 times with 15 convictions, including robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle, discharging a firearm in a public place, theft, and harassment.

KIRO 7 staff contributed to this report

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Community calls for ‘immediate action’ in wake of Seattle shooting