Family and friends stood vigil Saturday night where a 19-year-old was fatally shot Friday afternoon in Seattle’s Central District.
Royale Lexing was killed and two other men were wounded when, according to the Seattle Police Department, at least one person opened fire at a group of people on East Union Street near 21st Avenue.
Bouquets of roses, daisies and tulips were laid next to the sidewalk Saturday. Red, white, pink and green balloons were tied to signposts, and candles flickered at dusk. Dozens of people paid their respects.
Wiping away tears, Laura Walker tried to describe her emotions on the eve of Mother’s Day.
“I’m numb. I want answers,” Lexing’s mother said. “I want [the shooter or shooters] found and I want them to be held accountable.”
She could barely bring herself to talk about her son. “He was a good kid,” she said.
Posters taped to the wall outside a market at Union and 21st read, “We love and miss you, Royale,” and “One Love,” alongside a framed photo of Lexing beaming in a sharp three-piece suit. Relatives said he had attended Redmond High School.
Some wore T-shirts with a photo of Lexing on the front. On the back, “Rest in peace, brother.”
“What can we do as a people, as a society?” to prevent such tragedies, Lynnet Mitchell, an aunt, asked in between hugs. “We need to figure out a way.”
“We need to let the kids know their video games are virtual reality. In real life, they don’t get up [after being shot].”
Tragedy has struck the family before, relatives said. In 2015, Lexing’s 1-year-old niece was killed in a drive-by shooting in Kent, they said Saturday.
Mitchell said she hopes the conversation about gun violence is sustained beyond the typical day or two of news coverage.
“This is a story that needs to be heard, that needs to be seen,” she said. “When do we stop and say enough is enough?”
After the barrage of gunfire around 3:15 p.m. Friday, Lexing was driven to Swedish Medical Center’s Cherry Hill campus, with two others who had been wounded. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“He was sweet. He was a good man,” for whom football was a passion, cousin Danielle Grant, 18, said at Saturday night’s vigil. “Now he’s looking out for everyone out here.”
“Out of all people … ,” added another cousin, Jailen Herring, 18. “When I was thinking negative, he told me to stay positive. He had an impact on everybody.”
The other victims, a 20-year-old man and a 46-year-old man, had injuries that were described as not life-threatening.
The older man was in serious condition Saturday and the other in satisfactory condition, according to Susan Gregg, a spokeswoman at Harborview Medical Center, where the men were taken later Friday.
Police were searching for suspects Saturday and had yet to release detailed descriptions.
Chang Sunwoo, the owner of Union Teriyaki and Market, said Friday he heard what sounded like 15 to 20 shots. When he looked outside, he saw shell casings but no shooters or victims.
Gunfire erupted in the Central District and elsewhere Friday night.
There was a shooting around 11 p.m. at 46th Avenue South and South Eddy Street in Rainier Valley. Police who responded found an 18-year-old wounded under his arm and another man who was unscathed.
Police said the men told them they were walking in the neighborhood when a gray van and a blue car started following them.
People from both vehicles began firing at the men, one of whom pulled out a handgun and fired back. He was the man who escaped injury. Medics took the 18-year-old to Harborview.
Around midnight, near the Central District fire station at South Jackson Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, a group of people playing cards and barbecuing outside was fired upon, they told police.
Multiple shots hit a 40-year-old, who fled to the fire station. Medics took him to Harborview, where he was rushed into surgery.
Neither of the men wounded Friday night was in life-threatening condition Saturday, Gregg said.
Police were investigating both incidents Saturday but had not announced any arrests.
Detective Patrick Michaud, a police spokesman, said he had no information suggesting the shootings were related to Friday afternoon’s deadly shooting. He said police, in such situations, always look into the possibility of retaliation.
A week before Friday’s shootings, also in the Central District, a woman was shot at Cherry Street and 23rd Avenue, near Garfield Community Center. She was taken to Harborview in stable condition.
The number of person (nonproperty) crimes reported in the Central District has increased in recent years, from 98 in 2015 to 115 in 2016, 119 in 2017 and 141 last year, according to the police department’s online dashboard. There were no homicides in the neighborhood last year, however.