EVERETT — About 50 people had crowded into a small slate gray house on Oakes Avenue before midnight Saturday when Everett police took a noise complaint.
Officers gave a warning and left.
Across the street Luke Larson, 18, was playing the video game Fortnite with two other Everett High School seniors in an upstairs bedroom.
Around 12:45 a.m. they heard crackling on Oakes. Luke thought it was fireworks, but then he realized it didn’t have a pattern. He counted 10 or more bangs. Outside in the dark, people scattered in the confusion. One of them was limping.
A boy, 17, and a man, 23, were wounded by gunfire, Everett police officer Aaron Snell said. Just as patrol cars were rushing back to the house, the wounded were arriving at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in private vehicles. The injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.
As of Monday police hadn’t identified who opened fire. No information had been released about what led to the shooting.
Luke Larson watched as officers with military-style rifles ordered people lingering in the house to come out. Police found “numerous” ammo shells at the scene, Snell said. Investigators believe the shots were fired out on the street, not in the house.
At least four cars were hit as gunfire sprayed along the sidewalk, according to police. One bullet appeared to have passed through two windshields before it hit a 2016 Nissan Leaf that belongs to Luke’s father, Stan Larson. The rounds came within 30 feet of the room full of gaming teenagers.
“It’s a terrible thing to be shot at, or nearly being shot, when they’re on the cusp of being adults and starting their future,” Luke’s dad said.
For Larson, 54, a financial administrator for the city of Seattle, it’s another frightening and exasperating episode in a neighborhood that has been plagued by opiate abuse, open-air drug dealing and — in the past year or so — three shootings, by his count. Larson started working to create a block watch about a year ago. He had to get six people in the block to join. Some told him they’re fed up and ready to move.
“Everybody’s at the same wits’ end as me,” Larson said.
He has raised his kids here for 17 years. Many of the problems, Larson said, are related to the homeless people who wander through the neighborhood and gather outside McDonald’s and QFC. In recent months he has called 911 about a dozen times about car break-ins, burglaries and people openly shooting up heroin. Often, he said, police told him there isn’t much they can do, except to take a report and give him a case number.
“So we pay the price for living in that neighborhood,” Larson said.
He spent part of Monday expressing his frustrations to the police. By evening, after talking with a sergeant, he felt the Everett Police Department was taking his concerns more seriously. The officer told him that to get a clear picture of a neighborhood’s policing needs, it helps to have a report of each and every incident. So police told him to keep calling.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.