Boys & Girls Club aiding Rainier Beach’s ‘traumatized’ community after shooting

Aug 11, 2023, 3:54 PM

rainier beach shooting...

Community gatherings will return after tragic shooting at Rainier Beach Safeway. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

Leaders of the King County Boys & Girls Club stated “they will not be deterred” after members of their team were wounded in a mass shooting in a Safeway parking lot in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood July 29, and will continue its community gatherings. Two of the five victims injured by the gunfire were a part of the community’s safety outreach program hosting a “community healing” event meant to oppose acts of violence.

Marty Jackson, Executive Director of The Boys & Girls Club’s SE Network SafetyNet Program, said this was the first violent incident since the organization started holding events in the parking lot during the pandemic three years ago. The club started holding community healing events in the Safeway lot in the summer of 2020 after two other young men lost their lives to gun violence there.

“I wish we could have known whatever it is you’re going through that caused you to spray this whole parking lot and not have any regard for these people behind me and other people in the space,” Jackson said publicly during the meeting. “Our community has felt troubled. We have been traumatized by everything is not just has taken place in our neighborhood but the traumatic events that have taken place all over the city of Seattle.”

More on the Rainier Beach shooting: Residents rally for safety after mass shooting

Jackson and other SafetyNet Program team members are at the Rainier Beach Safeway every Friday from 6 to 10 p.m., a place Jackson emphasized being a “sacred space” for the community, claiming residents of Rainier Beach know it well.

Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz attended a community meeting in the Rainier Beach area last week to address the community’s safety concerns, relaying the message that the department is taking action.

“I want people to feel comfortable going about doing their work and really trying to bring the community together,” Diaz said at the safety meeting last week. A mobile precinct is now on site.

The percentage of nightlife-related shootings and shots fired nearly doubled in 2022 compared to 2021, according to Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) 2022 crime report. In 2023, Rainier Beach has seen 48 violent crimes through June, including 15 in May alone — the most in a single month since October 2018, according to SPD data.

More crime news in Washington: Skagit County pastor sentenced after continuing to run elaborate drug ring from jail

There were 106 instances of violent crime in Rainier Beach in 2022.

There is still no information about who the shooters are or why they chose to target the group, according to Seattle Police Department.

“We have parents burying their children,” Jackson said. “I have four children and two grandchildren. It breaks my heart to see mothers crying, siblings crying.”

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Boys & Girls Club aiding Rainier Beach’s ‘traumatized’ community after shooting