The intersection of Third Avenue and Pine Street is secured with caution tape following a shooting that left multiple victims injured and one dead on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, in Seattle. 
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The intersection of Third Avenue and Pine Street is secured with caution tape following a shooting that left multiple victims injured and one dead on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Morning after shooting in downtown Seattle, some scared, others not surprised

Seattle commuters walked past the the corner of 3rd Avenue and Pine Street Thursday morning as life returned to normal less than 24 hours following a fatal shooting.

For some, it was business as usual. For others, it rattled their community.

One woman who spoke with KUOW is familiar with the corner of 3rd and Pine. Through tears, she told KUOW that she didn't know the victims, but was worried about the tight-knit community that has grown around the McDonald's restaurant there.

RELATED: Seven injured, one dead in downtown Seattle shooting

"McDonald's is kind of where people hang out ... to get warm and eat," she said. "....it's a tight-knit group of people ... that are homeless. And the way the news portrays it is drugs and gangs. It's not. We really are like a family, good people."

She said that the energy around the corner Thursday morning was "death and hopelessness." She fears that the homeless community will get blamed for the shooting.

"It's hard," she added. "It's a lot of beautiful people, a lot of hard working people, it's tough down here, it's not really gangs. There is a drug problem, there is a drug problem in a lot of inner cities."

David Carey regularly uses the nearby transit stops.

“This is my normal, daily commute, and I was wondering how I would feel when I came up and saw what was going on," Carey told KUOW. "And it appears to be business as usual right now. I’m seeing as many transit police as I’ve seen before. Honestly, the people that I met in the bus tunnel, coming up to the sidewalk, you couldn’t tell that anything had happened."

“I’ve been working downtown for 30 of the last 40 years, and I find myself less enthused to come to downtown, working at home more frequently," he said.

Wednesday night shooting

Seattle police report that at least two men pulled out firearms during a dispute at 3rd Avenue and Pine Street, in front of the McDonald's, around 5 p.m. Wednesday. They fired on each other before fleeing the scene, striking others in the immediate area.

Seattle police are searching for two 24-year-old male suspects who detectives consider armed and dangerous.

One person was struck and killed during the shooting. Harborview Medical Center reported that it treated seven people from the scene Wednesday night with wounds to their legs, stomach, and buttocks. By Thursday morning, three were still being treated at the hospital:

  • A 55-year-old woman in serious condition
  • A 9-year-old boy in satisfactory condition
  • A 32-year-old man satisfactory condition

Derek Smith says he was at a nearby Starbucks that went on lockdown when the gunshots erupted Wednesday night.

"I was quite terrified, I was hiding for hours," Smith said, noting that he heard people screaming and shouting as they ran from the scene. "....I had to talk to some of my loved ones and family, if I couldn't make it, they should understand this is what happened."

Smith said he didn't talk to anyone in the area afterward, fearing that the shooter could still be among the crowd. He added that he had previously experienced shootings in Nigeria.

"There are procedures to a shooting event; you have to duck, or crouch, or lay flat or play dead," he said. "You can't be running around because that leaves you vulnerable to the bullet ... people have to learn and be educated how to survive in a shooting event. You don't run helter skelter, you just play dead or crouch to avoid a stampede or avoid injuries."

Seattle police detectives are asking for public help in the case. They are seeking any video or photo evidence from the scene. Witnesses can submit photos and videos via this website.

Citywide text messages warned people to avoid the area Wednesday night and urged people to call the tip line with any information: 206-233-5000.

It was the third shooting in two days in the same area of downtown Seattle. Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said that there is nothing to suggest that the three incidents are related.

Seattle reacts to shooting

Other early-morning commuters told KUOW that the corner of 3rd and Pine is known for crime as much as affluence. The McDonald's is not far from a Nordstrom store. Mass transit lines connect in the area.

Workers the stretch of 3rd Avenue reportedly have called it "stab alley" in the past. And Seattle police have previously conducted emphasis patrols in the area -- it was also targeted in the 9.5 blocks strategy in 2015.

“I used to live at 2nd and Pine in an apartment, and 25 years ago this corner on 3rd and Pine was where all the crime was then and it’s still like that," one woman told KUOW Thursday morning. "The McDonald’s corner is notorious. It’s amazing to me that this can’t be cleaned up."

Another man walking past the corner said that guns are a concern.

“One thing I can say as far as gun control is concerned, it’s too late for gun control," he said. "Everybody got a gun beside me and you. It’s too late for that. People got 13-15 guns, homes being broke in … it’s too late for gun control.”

Bryn Anderson was at work a couple blocks away when Wednesday night's shooting happened. She said co-workers heard the gunshots. Then police cars started showing up.

"The good thing is that Nordstrom sent out an email to everybody so we knew what was going on," she said. "When I was reading on Twitter this morning, knowing that there was going to be police officers here for an extended period of time, it made me feel more safe. Because I get off the bus at 3rd and Pine. It's scary."