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May 26, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Man shot outside Seattle Center; witness sees gunman flee

Witnesses say a man was shot outside Seattle Center at about 7 p.m. as crowds had gathered for the first full day of  the Folklife Festival. While medics responded to the scene at Fourth Avenue and Broad Street, the victim was on the ground and seen making a cellphone call, the two witnesses said.

Seattle Police cordoned off an area of the Seattle Center where one person was wounded by gunfire Saturday evening. Police chased the suspect into the Center House where he was taken into custody.

The man was shot in the calf, according to police. His injuries appear to be not life threatening. Witnesses said they heard five or six shots being fired.

Patrick Sage of Issaquah said he then saw a man with blood on his face running toward the crowds at Seattle Center with a gun in his hand.

Seattle Police Deputy Chief Nick Metz said two men appeared to be fighting before the gunfire was heard. After the shots were fired, the suspect ran into the Seattle Center House. An officer was nearby and pursued the man. He was captured inside the Center House and a gun was recovered, Metz said.

The man who was shot in the calf was taken to Harborview Medical Center.

It was “a very scary endeavor,” Metz said, explaining that the gunman had run into a crowd of hundreds of people who were there for Folklife.

The police department’s gang unit has taken over the investigation, but Metz did not say the shooting was necessarily gang related.

This is the second time in recent years when there has been a shooting at or near the festival. In 2008, a 22-year-old Snohomish man got into a fight at the festival. A gun he was carrying in an ankle holster discharged during the scuffle. The bullet grazed one man’s nose, and then struck another man in the hand and a woman in the leg.

Following the shooting, then mayor Greg Nickels vowed to outlaw guns in city buildings, parks and beaches “frequented by children.” But the ban was struck down by a King County Superior Court judge and a second time in 2011 by the Court of Appeals of Washington State.

A Seattle Times reporter is on the scene. Check back for more information on this breaking news.

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