Authorities in Seattle are investigating the fatal shooting of a man in the Lake City neighborhood on Sunday — the fourth gun homicide in the city in 24 hours.
Seattle police spokesperson Valerie Carson said witnesses saw the victim returning to his apartment when a vehicle pulled up and multiple people opened fire. Earlier Sunday, shootings over three hours in four Seattle neighborhoods left three dead and five injured, The Seattle Times reported.
The shootings continue an ongoing uptick in gun violence that’s already killed or wounded more than 200 people in King County this year. The unrelated shootings Sunday happened in the Belltown, Pioneer Square, Chinatown International District and Capitol Hill neighborhoods.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement that Sunday’s shootings were part of a national epidemic in which more than 900 shootings happened just last week in cities across the country.
At a Monday news conference the mayor called the violence “unacceptable.”
“Tackling gun violence has no easy solutions,” Durkan said. “This level of gun violence in Seattle and our country cannot become our new normal, which is why we are moving forward with a multi-prong strategy in our region to take guns off the street, invest in community-led solutions, create a comprehensive support system for young people at risk of gun violence, and appropriately hold individuals accountable for acts of violence.”
Last week, Durkan and other city officials said they plan to create an additional response unit for 911 calls that don’t require typical, armed police officers. She and Interim Seattle police Chief Adrian Diaz also have announced $10.4 million toward resources for violence prevention and $2 million for a King County pilot program that approaches gun violence from a public health perspective.
The police chief on Monday said officers are struggling to handle the increase in gun violence because the Seattle Police Department has 115 fewer patrol officers and 38 fewer detectives than a year ago. About 270 officers had left the department over the past 18 months as of June in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and social unrest.
That has resulted in officers multiple times a week only able to respond to calls that take top priority, he said.
“I need more officers,” Diaz said at the news conference, adding, however, that police can’t do everything.
He urged legal gun owners to make sure their weapons can’t be stolen and asked everyone to encourage friends and family to put down their weapons and find other ways to address concerns and resolve their issues.
“Make no mistake, this is a gun violence crisis,” he said. “This is something we all need to do together.”