Responding to three recent fatal shootings in Seattle, community leaders called on the city to install surveillance cameras in “hot spots” where violence has occurred.
“We owe it to our children to stop the violence,” the Rev. Harriett Walden, a founder of Mothers for Police Accountability, a social-justice and advocacy organization in Seattle, said during a news conference this afternoon at Powell Barnett Park. “We have to raise the level of what we’re willing to do.”
She said community leaders have asked the City Council to look into the installation of cameras as a way to combat violence in the Central District. Walden said the cameras should be installed with a “sunset clause,” so that their operation would be for a limited time.
She also urged parents to reach out to their children to gain a better understanding of what is going on in their lives.
Capt. Pierre Davis, of the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, said the department needs to have “all hands on deck” to get to the root of the problem. He said police will deploy more foot and bike police at hot spots: 23rd Avenue and East Union Street; and 28th Avenue South and South Charles Street.
Other speakers also said more job opportunities need to be made available to young people.
There have been three fatal shootings in the Leschi and Central District neighborhoods since April 19. The city had 29 homicides in all of 2013.
In addition, there have been several nonfatal shootings over the same period, most recently yesterday when a man in his 20s was shot in the leg by a gunman who opened fire on a passing car near the Mount Baker neighborhood.
Police have said they don’t know if the shootings are related, and they are not ruling out gang activity. Davis said there have been witnesses to several of the shootings, but no one has come forward to police.
A list of the recent shootings:
April 18: Seattle police responded to a “shots fired” call at 23rd Avenue and East Union Street around 7:30 p.m., where officers arrested an 18-year-old man on a firearm charge and outstanding warrants.
April 19: Kevin Brown, 24, was fatally shot about 2:30 a.m. near East Union Street and 22nd Avenue. According to court records, Brown was a self-proclaimed member of the Deuce 8 street gang.
April 24: Deszaun Smallwood, 20, was fatally shot in the Leschi neighborhood, near 28th Avenue South and South Lane Street at 7 p.m.
April 25: A 36-year-old man was shot once in the chest during an attempted robbery in the 2500 block of East Columbia Street shortly before 1 a.m. Police could not locate three suspects involved in the incident.
April 25: Ronnie Brown, 36, was fatally shot just before 11 p.m. in the Leschi neighborhood near 28th Avenue South and South Charles Street. Several cars were seen leaving the area as police arrived.