Mayor, SPD chief stress need to hire more officers in wake of weekend shootings

Jul 26, 2021, 11:36 AM | Updated: 1:34 pm

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz spoke Monday to address a string of shootings over the last 36 hours.

Gun violence in King County continues rise to ‘crisis’ levels

A total of 10 people have been shot since early Sunday morning, spanning six separate incidents across the city.

While Durkan and Diaz pointed to a variety of factors at play — including a larger nationwide spike in gun violence across several major cities — both stressed challenges presented by the departure of 250 SPD officers over the last year and a half.

“I’m down a remarkable number of officers on a reduced and restricted budget,” Diaz said, pointing to recent difficulties in ensuring there are enough officers to adequately respond to 911 calls.

Durkan echoed that sentiment as well, stating that the city “cannot continue on this current trajectory of losing police officers,” and blaming it in part on calls to defund the department last year.

“When city leaders talk about cutting a department by 50%, you will lose employees,” she said.

Mayor Durkan also touted a series of recent measures the city has undertaken as part of a community-driven response to gun violence, including a $10.4 million investment in violence prevention, $2 million for King County’s Regional Peacekeepers Collective, work to provide a variety of 911 response alternatives, and ongoing efforts to get guns off the streets.

Beyond that, she stressed the need for a “comprehensive approach” long-term that addresses gun violence at its roots.

Weekend shootings

Officers responded to the first shooting shortly before 2 a.m. on Sunday in the 2200 block of First Avenue in Belltown, where one man was shot and killed following a fight in a parking lot.

Police were then called to another shooting near Occidental Square in front of Trinity Nightclub around 2:30 a.m. One victim in that incident was transported to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition, one died at the scene, three others were transported in personal vehicles to nearby hospitals, and one other died at Harborview.

A third shooting was reported near 12th Avenue South and South Main Street. This shooting actually occurred around 1:40 a.m., but the female victim did not arrive to a Bellevue hospital until about 3:30 a.m. She experienced a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to the stomach.

Another person shot Monday after weekend of gun violence in Seattle

The fourth shooting was reported around 4:40 a.m. when several people heard gunshots at Cal Anderson Park. A man arrived at Harborview Medical Center with a gunshot wound. He said he had been shot at the park after playing in a basketball game, and then took a rideshare car to the hospital.

Then, on Sunday night, a 28-year-old man was shot and killed after a vehicle drove by and opened fire in front of an apartment building in the 12700 block of 33rd Avenue Northeast. That was followed by an additional shooting Monday morning, where a 39-year-old man in a Yesler Terrace homeless encampment suffered multiple non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.

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Mayor, SPD chief stress need to hire more officers in wake of weekend shootings