Some called Donald Chin the face of Seattle's Chinatown. Others called him its protector.
Chin, 59, was fatally shot early Thursday morning in the neighborhood that was the focus of his life's work.
He operated the International District Emergency Center for decades. Many gathered for an improptu memorial Thursday to mourn together and remember his life.
Two fire trucks were parked nose to nose with their ladders extended in a steel arch just outside the International District gates, in a tribute of Chin. Flowers were piled at the center's door on Thursday.
Seattle police said Chin was shot just before 3 a.m. Thursday near South Weller Street and Eighth Avenue. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center but did not survive.
“He's a much-beloved person here,” said Ron Chew, director of the International Community Health Services Foundation. “He was a medic down here and he was our first point of contact for any kind of emergency situations that came up.
Now, he said, “There’s nobody to call, there’s a big gaping void.”
“I just saw him on Sunday at the Chinatown parade,” said Connie So. “You always see him, he's a guy who's picking up the garbage people leave. He’s a guy when people are having heat exhaustion, because Sunday was so hard during the Chinatown parade, he was there tending to people. I mean, he is always there, tireless, selfless, humble.
"It’s such a loss to the community. It’s shocking."
What an incredible legacy Donnie Chin leaves behind. A community leader, a hero, & and a friend to many.
— Heather Graf (@HeatherGrafK5) July 24, 2015
Correction, 7/24/2015, 11:10 a.m.: In an earlier version of this story, Ron Chew's last name was misspelled because of an editing error.