Two people were shot Thursday morning at a homeless encampment in the South Park neighborhood, Seattle police said.
Police were searching for a suspect, described as a man in his mid- to late-20s, who they said walked into an encampment and opened fire into a car around 8:30 a.m. in the 6800 block of Second Avenue Southwest.
A 20-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman were shot and taken to Harborview Medical Center. Police said the man was initially in critical condition and the woman was listed in serious condition. Both were in satisfactory condition by the afternoon, according to a hospital spokesperson.
The suspect fled, possibly in a white Dodge sedan, police said.
The man who was shot is a “wonderful guy,” said Imra VanWolvelaere, who lived in the encampment for several months and then moved across the street. “He had bright eyes and a great smile, and he was always trying to help people.”
He said he didn’t know what could have led to Thursday’s shooting, but the encampment — and the homeless population in general — are often targets for violence and anger, not from people within but from the community outside, he said.
The people living in the encampment called it Recovery Park, VanWolvelaere said, because everyone there was trying to recover from something, whether divorce, addiction, COVID-19 or job loss. Due to Thursday’s violence, he said he expects the encampment might be cleared and he and his wife would have to pack their belongings and move.
“There’s no simple solution, but the community — if they could look at homeless people a little bit different and realize that they’re humans too,” he said, “they might join together and see what they could do to help.”
Seattle Times photographer Bettina Hansen contributed to this report.