At least 12 people were shot Saturday afternoon in the 23200 block of Pacific Highway South, a Kent Fire Department spokesman said.

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KENT — At least 12 people were shot at a crowded lowrider car show in Kent on Saturday, creating chaos as cars sped away from the scene before police arrived.

Patrons and employees in nearby shops and restaurants locked the doors and crouched in back rooms as the shots filled the air.

“First I heard like six shots, then they kept going,” said Alejandro Lara, a witness. He said he saw a single gunman firing from the front of the shopping center into the parking lot full of people.

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Police did not know Saturday evening how many shooters there were, and they were continuing to interview victims and witnesses. Kent police Sgt. Jarod Kasner said a fight broke out just before the shooting.

“People were leaving as we were coming, and victims were our first priority,” Kasner said.

Ten wounded people were transported or took themselves to hospitals, said Kasner.

Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said eight people — six men and two women — were admitted to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

“They’re all in satisfactory condition,” she said.

She said their ages ranged from 14 to 32.

He described a chaotic scene as cars sped away from the La Raza lowrider show after the shooting at about 4:15 p.m. The incident took place at the La Plaza shopping center.Erica Parker said she was working at a Subway shop near the car show when she and other employees heard gunshots. People started running in, she said, screaming, “He’s got a gun!”

Witnesses said the La Raza car show had been going on in the parking lot during the weekend. About 50 souped-up cars were on display, and the event had been crowded all day.

A poster for the event said it was a free, all-ages lowrider show sponsored by Lokos music store. Besides a car show, several music groups were scheduled to perform.

After the shooting, drink cans and bottles were left scattered as people rushed from the scene. Within an hour, all the cars were gone.

At Pro Nails near the scene, employee Tran Tran said she heard a couple of pops, which she thought might be gunfire or firecrackers.

Shortly after, a mother with two children went into the store and said she was scared and had been standing right next to a gunman.

About 10 people rushed into the back restrooms of the nail shop after locking the front door, Tran said.

The owner of a nearby restaurant said an off-duty police officer had just finished a meal with his family when the shooting started. He left to go to his car, but returned to the restaurant and told everyone to get away from the windows.

The restaurant owner, who did not want her name in the paper, said she had been intimidated throughout the weekend by the rowdy crowds at the car show.

Before the shooting, she said, she saw two men fighting on a corner at the edge of the plaza.

Seattle Times staff reporters Emily Heffter, Mike Lindblom and Dominic Gates contributed to this story.

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