Detectives are looking for witnesses and a suspect in an early-morning shooting in Ballard that reports say left the 29-year-old brother of NFL player Budda Baker dead.

Share story

Police are looking for a suspect in the shooting death of a 29-year-old man on a Ballard street early Sunday.

News reports and social media identified the victim as Robert Baker, the brother of former University of Washington Huskies safety Budda Baker, now playing for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

In social-media posts, Budda Baker thanked people for their support and requested respect and privacy for his family “during this extremely difficult time at the passing of our dearly beloved son, brother and husband, Robert Baker.”

“Love you, brother,” Budda Baker signed the Instagram post.

Most Read Local Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Budda Baker was in Seattle this weekend and attended the UW football spring preview Saturday at Husky Stadium, where he was seen clowning around with his former coaches and teammates.

It was not immediately known whether he was present when the shooting occurred.

Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson would not confirm the reports, saying the identity would be released by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office after formal identification and an autopsy.

In a story published last year, before Budda Baker was taken in the second round of the NFL draft, Robert Baker told The Seattle Times that he had seen his brother’s potential from an early age.

Robert Baker’s path was different. According to the story, he spent seven years in prison for a home-invasion robbery, to return to society last year, busing tables in a Bellevue restaurant.

“You know,” Robert Baker said at the time, “a lot of times I beat myself up about what happened, but I don’t sit here and go, ‘What if?’ I’ve stayed focused. At the end of the day, I look at [Budda Baker] and I’m just very thankful. I don’t try to make my situation about my brother, but he’s learned and he’s seen what to do and what not to do because of what I went through.”

Jamieson said the bars were closing in Ballard when officers were dispatched to a report of gunfire at 1:45 a.m. in the 4900 block of Leary Avenue Northwest.

Officers responding found a man lying in the street nearby, in the 4900 block of 17th Avenue Northwest, with a gunshot wound to the chest. Officers performed first aid until relieved by the Seattle Fire Department. The man died en route to the hospital, according to the police department.

Jamieson said homicide detectives are asking that anyone with information on the shooting contact the Seattle Police tip line at (206) 233-5000.

In a 2016 interview with Sports Illustrated for a story about his brother, Robert Baker — the eldest of five children raised in Bellevue — said he had hoped his mistakes provided the lessons that Budda Baker would need to succeed. He said he was brought to tears when he came home from prison and found his little brother’s walls decorated not with posters of NFL stars, but with letters he and Budda had exchanged over the years he was incarcerated.

“Let me be the prime example,” Robert was quoted in the story as telling his brother, “of why you need to do it the right way.”