DORI MONSON

Kent mayor: After rash of shootings, ‘my residents are scared (but) I’m not giving up’

Nov 30, 2021, 5:00 AM | Updated: 11:03 am
crime, shooting, offender...
(Getty image)
(Getty image)

Tacoma, Everett, Tukwila. Multiple shootings marred a four-day Thanksgiving weekend for many cities in the Puget Sound area, but few more so than the city of Kent.

Three cases – including one the night before Thanksgiving and one that proved fatal – are “the hardest parts of the job,” said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph.

As a South King County mayor, Ralph told Dori Monson Show listeners Monday that it’s personally painful for her on many levels. She also says that she and other officials are aware of the causes behind the violence, and that she and fellow mayors are working for solutions. Ralph also noted that she believes the shootings are related to regional de-criminalization of drugs and King County’s “very lax” prosecution of offenders.

“It’s been a tough few days, for you and your city,” Dori sympathized with Ralph. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the mayor of a city that goes through this many shootings in just a few days span. It’s got to be just brutal.”

“My heart goes out to families involved,” Ralph agreed. “But it also goes out to my residents who are honestly scared, all the way up through the patrol officers and detectives who have literally been working round-the-clock through the weekend. It’s not acceptable and it’s hard.”

After three separate weekend shootings and a single fatality in Kent over four days, Dori told the mayor that his sources point to gangs, drugs, and retaliation. Is it true?

“I think it’s fair to say that the groups are known to each other, and more than likely it’s a turf war” over a corner bus stop, Ralph agreed. “[It’s] not a surprise to anyone.”

“King County has been, by choice, very lax in prosecution,” Ralph said.

Decriminalization policies set in place by county leaders have created a “perfect storm of making drug crimes off the charts and the violence that goes hand-in-hand with that,” she added.

The county’s “grand experiment” of turning drug crimes into misdemeanors is not working, the Kent mayor told Dori’s listeners. She says we “need to have juvenile detention” that is part of our criminal justice system alongside youth and police partnership programs, like those Kent promotes.

“I feel like we’re finally starting to see the silent majority” call for these kinds of things, she added. “People are tired of living this way. … All of us need to do our part. I’m not giving up.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Kent mayor: After rash of shootings, ‘my residents are scared (but) I’m not giving up’