A dispute outside the Van Asselt Community Center escalated into gunfire Saturday evening that hit the park building’s front entrance but didn’t cause any reported injuries in the busy neighborhood.
Seattle police at the South Precinct, one block east, rushed to the recreation center around 6:30 p.m. when they heard “multiple gunshots.” Participants and witnesses had scattered by the time officers arrived, said Detective Mark Jamieson, a police spokesman. Officers haven’t located suspects yet, but the area was full of evidence such as shell casings, and gang detectives joined the investigation, he said Sunday.
Two windows were boarded and three showed bullet holes Sunday morning, while park maintenance workers cleaned the damaged lobby and swept away smashed auto glass from the lot. The building was closed.
King of Glory Worldwide Ministries moved its service, about 30 worshippers, out of the building to congregate and cook Father’s Day lunch at the picnic shelters, said member Alonzo Monroe. Behind him, young families returned to the play structure Sunday. A Saturday night event was canceled at the nearby New Holly Gathering Hall immediately after the gunfire.
The park on South Beacon Hill is normally calm and safe, except for the noise of jet aircraft heading toward Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Children play soccer, ultimate Frisbee and baseball. But the vibe can change at night at the parking lot, next to a pair of basketball courts, said a neighbor who awoke Saturday night to see a half-dozen flashing police vehicles. “In summertime, once a week, they will be yelling and fighting,” he said. Squealing tires, and nearby car prowls, are common, he said.
The parks department started closing the parking lot at 8:30 p.m. and installed surveillance cameras, according to signs there. In January 2014, an 18-year-old man was shot in the chest and arm there, and police briefly detained two people after officers heard gunfire a few days later next to the rec center.