A 24-year-old man was fatally wounded in a shooting Thursday night in Seattle’s Central District and died at Harborview. A young mother said Friday she’d heard gunshots, called 911, then ran to the man and held his hands as he lay in the street, gasping for air.
With her 1-year-old daughter propped on her hip, a young mother on Friday recounted hearing gunshots the night before, calling 911 and then running to where a 24-year-old man lay fatally wounded in the street outside her apartment in Seattle’s Central District.
The man screamed for help after multiple shots rang out around 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the corner of 26th Avenue and East Columbia Street, said the 28-year-old woman, who was too afraid to give her name.
By the time she reached him and checked his pulse, he couldn’t speak and his eyes weren’t focusing, she said. Surrounded by shell casings, she said she held his hands and listened to him gasping for breath as they waited for police and medics to arrive.
The man had been walking his dog — described by Seattle police as a black-and-tan shepherd mix — south on 26th Avenue when someone opened fire, she said. The dog ran west on East Columbia Street as soon as the shooting started, the woman said. When the gunfire stopped, she saw a silver, four-door sedan speed off, also heading west on Columbia.
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“I think he might’ve got hit in the back,” said the woman, who also saw a gunshot wound near the man’s right hip. “His eyes weren’t moving and he didn’t look responsive. Then he took this gasp for air. He started moving his hands, so I took his hands,” offering what little comfort she could, she said.
The man, who died shortly after arriving at Harborview Medical Center, is the 14th homicide victim killed in Seattle so far this year, said Detective Patrick Michaud, a police spokesman. There were 26 homicides last year, up from 23 in 2013, according to police data. Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said last month that the city has seen a spike in shootings this summer.
Michaud said police collected shell casings from the scene, but said he didn’t have any more information on Friday than the few details police already released.
An autopsy had not been completed Friday, so the man’s name has not yet been released, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Except for a short length of red crime-scene tape that was stuck against a curb, there weren’t any obvious signs Friday of the violence that had occurred there the night before.
Roger Howard, 19, was two blocks away at 27th Avenue and East Marion Street on Thursday night when he heard a gunshot and hurried home.
“I just kept walking,” he said Friday, a block from the shooting scene. “I’m not going to run over there and see. The best thing to do is stay away from it.”
Howard said he was good friends with Robert Robertson Jr., a 17-year-old senior at Cleveland High School who was fatally shot in a drive-by on Beacon Hill in March. Robertson’s killer has not been caught.
Howard also knew 20-year-old Muldhata Dawud, a casual acquaintance from school who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Federal Way on July 30. The next day, Zakariya Issa, also 20, was fatally shot near 44th Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street while walking home from Dawud’s funeral.
Police arrested a 21-year-old Tacoma man on Aug. 5 in connection with the shooting that killed Dawud and injured two other men, ages 18 and 19. Though he was initially held on investigation of murder and assault, he was released from King County Jail on Monday afternoon pending further police investigation, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
On Wednesday, Seattle police arrested a 20-year-old Seattle man in connection with Issa’s fatal shooting, according to prosecutors. Though a judge found probable cause on Thursday to hold him on investigation of first-degree murder, The Seattle Times is not naming the man because he has not been formally charged.
The 20-year-old suspect remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail, according to court and jail records.
For Howard — who has grown up in the Central District — living amid gangs and gun violence is nothing new, but it’s still scary.
“In Seattle, everybody knows in the summertime, that’s when stuff is going to start happening. That’s just how it is,” he said. “It just sucks.”
Howard said he always tries to make it home by 8 or 9 p.m. so he’s safely off the streets by dark.
“I’m more aware than anything. I’m more careful of my surroundings, especially in the summertime,” he said.