Dori: The life of Seattle’s 50th homicide victim – not just a stat

Oct 20, 2022, 4:41 PM
Local residents honored Pickett and his store with flowers and cards Thursday morning (Darren Dedo)
(Darren Dedo)

With Seattle crime incidents at record highs, it might be easy to dismiss the reports of a man killed Wednesday evening in the city’s Central District as just another shooting.

But something about the early, almost generic details about this fatality near East Union Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way captured my attention. With more digging, we found the victim was D’Vonne Pickett Jr. – father of three young children, married to his Rainier Beach High School sweetheart, and Central District business leader.

Those who frequented his startup business – The Postman, a packaging/mailing shop named in honor of his great-grandfather, a 37-year U.S. Postal Service employee in the same neighborhood – knew Pickett Jr. as a success story. Online posts call him a “champion” and “youth mentor.” He wanted to be a force for positive change in the Central District.

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I first knew of Pickett Jr. during his Rainier Beach High School basketball career, where his team won a state championship. Despite blowing out his knee, Pickett Jr. came back and later played for Seattle University. The game took him overseas and then back to Seattle’s Pro-Am Summer League where he was named MVP.

But Pickett Jr.’s devotion to his community drew him back to his family’s five-generation roots not far from where he opened his business.

Recordings from podcasts and media interviews carry his voice, describing how important it was for him to “create legacy, build on a legacy,” with a business that was committed to everyone “from street people to corporate.” In one magazine interview, he credits his wife, KeAnna, with The Postman’s success.

Pickett Jr.’s short-term goal: to build two more stores in the Central District. His longer-term vision: “to build the new Central District, build with the builders.”

Seattle Police and King County SWAT arrested a suspect on Thursday. Authorities say they believe the shooter is connected to other criminal investigations in the area.

It’s still too early to know all the details, but what I do know is that a husband, father, and business owner with passionate eye on the future of his family and community was taken Wednesday night. A 50th homicide victim. That’s not just a statistic. The 50th victim was D’Vonne Pickett Jr. and his was a life worth living.

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

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Dori: The life of Seattle’s 50th homicide victim – not just a stat