A flurry of south county shootings prompts unease — and resolve

Gunfire this week injured four people, and there will be more security at a football game Friday.

LYNNWOOD — In one night, four people were shot in three apparently unrelated attacks across two cities.

Wednesday night’s violence was the latest cluster of recurring gunfire from Lynnwood to south Everett.

Last week, gunfire erupted on Fourth Avenue W, not far from a rivalry football game between Kamiak and Mariner high schools at Goddard Stadium. Word of the shots spread quickly, with hundreds of spectators and students evacuated. There were no reported injuries from those bullets, but one person reportedly suffered a leg injury in the mayhem.

As a result, there will be increased security at Friday night’s football game between Mariner and Monroe.

An attempt by some Kamiak students to organize a peace rally scheduled for Sunday was scuttled due to what was described by one student organizer as “a lack of Mariner staff involvement and support.”

No arrests have been made in any of the past week’s gunfire.

All of this has happened since the City of Everett launched new programs aimed at gang and gun violence prevention. Violence does not adhere to city limits or school district boundaries, however. Over the past several years, there have been attacks in Edmonds, Everett, Marysville, Mill Creek and Mukilteo.

Wednesday in Lynnwood, a 19-year-old woman and a man, 22, were in a vehicle around 8:30 p.m. when they were shot. Originally reported as a drive-by shooting near the intersection of Olympic View and Blue Ridge drives, detectives now believe the gunfire occurred in the parking lot of nearby Lynndale Park. Investigators also believe there were at least two shooters and the two parties had arranged a drug deal.

The suspects drove off in what was described as a silver car. At least one other person may have been in the car. The woman was shot in the neck. She originally was reported to be in critical condition, but her status has improved, Lynnwood police Cmdr. Sean Doty said. The man was shot in the arm. Both were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Sgt. Doug Teachworth at 425-670-5616, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Later, around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, about a mile away near 173rd Place SW and 60th Avenue W, a 23-year-old man looking for his dog was shot in the back by someone in a vehicle, Lynnwood police said. He was taken to a nearby hospital.

He told police that he and his sister were driving around looking for their lost dog.

According to his account, he ended up passing a tan or brown car, possibly a Honda, near a dead-end road behind the Meadowdale High School football fields. He reported that someone inside that vehicle shot at his car unprovoked. The bullet grazed his back; his sister was not injured. Police were told that four people, described as young and male, were inside the car that drove off.

South of Everett, shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday, a fight involving four men outside a mini mart in the 300 block of 112th Street SW left one man with a gunshot wound and life-threatening injuries. The 22-year-old man was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

Two suspects drove off in a passenger vehicle, the sheriff’s office said. Detectives believe the shooting was gang-related but not related to the shots fired last week on Fourth Avenue W.

The shootings have created unease among some and a spirit of resolve in others.

During a City of Everett meeting earlier this week, the shooting near Mariner was one of the main concerns people asked about.

Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said the city saw a spike in youth gang and firearm violence in 2017. That motivated her to direct a citywide response to gang and firearm violence as a public safety issue. The response had two prongs: one was getting people together from the courts, law enforcement, youth clubs, schools and affected neighborhoods to come up with ideas for intervention and prevention; the other was gun safety, such as offering free gun locks to combat firearm theft.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office had not determined if the shots fired last Friday were gang-related, but that mattered little to the people cowering and taking cover.

“Last Friday, there was obviously a lot of mass panic really quickly because we didn’t know what was going on,” said Kamiak senior Jordan Smeby, who was there as a member of the school band.

The 17-year-old was one of the organizers of the now-canceled peace rally, saying assembling is a way to celebrate each other and help their neighbors.

“After we all went through that together, one thing I think we all want to do is bring the two school communities together,” she said.

Smeby said she and other Kamiak students had planned a simple get together, one where food donations would be accepted and delivered to area food banks.

She said she had asked students at Mariner to spread the word and help organize, as well.

The Mukilteo School District hired an additional sheriff’s deputy to patrol the parking lot and perimeter during Friday night’s football game at Goddard Stadium, between Mariner and Monroe. That’s in addition to the regular two-deputy detail.

School staff and volunteers will wear more visible clothing and have walkie-talkies.

“We want our students, community and faculty to feel comfortable and safe attending events at Goddard Stadium,” said Mariner High School Principal Nate Duchesne in a news release. “We are working closely with the sheriff’s office to assess last week’s incident and we continue to add extra safety measures to improve our response to an incident of this nature.”

Detectives believe the shots last Friday were fired from a car driving on Fourth Avenue that had left the school parking lot seconds earlier, according to the sheriff’s office and school district. Detectives found evidence of a bullet strike in a vehicle parked in the school parking lot.

Multiple casings were recovered by detectives in the roadway near the 12200 block of Fourth Ave W.

“Individuals who are aware of a possible suspect(s) have not been cooperative with investigators,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Mariner is south of Everett, in unincorporated Snohomish County.

“It’s not a south Everett problem,” Smeby said. “It was an entire Mukilteo School District problem that evening.”

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

This story has been updated to reflect the planned peace rally has been canceled.

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