As a TikTok party at Golden Gardens Park in Ballard was winding down last weekend, two separate groups of attendees got into a road-rage incident that resulted in a drive-by shooting, injuring one man who was struck in the face by a ricochet bullet, according to King County prosecutors.
Darnell Lewis Jr., who was a back seat passenger in a silver Mazda, was charged Thursday with first-degree assault, and the driver, Leonte Hamilton, was charged with drive-by shooting, court records show. Lewis remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail while Hamilton was released Thursday after posting $50,000 bail, according to jail records.
Lewis and Hamilton, both 19, have last known addresses in Tacoma, charging papers say.
Court records do not yet indicate which defense attorneys are representing them. Both are to be arraigned June 30.
More than 50 uniformed Seattle police officers and an unknown number of plainclothes police detectives were at the park when gunshots rang out just before 9 p.m. on June 12, the charges say. Two detectives got in an unmarked car and followed a vehicle to South Lake Union, where SWAT and patrol officers stopped the car in the 800 block of Harrison Street.
Meanwhile, other officers confirmed that two people had been shot in the 7100 block of Seaview Avenue Northwest and that the shooter was a passenger in a silver Mazda, according to the charges.
During the investigation, police learned a man on a motorcycle left the park with two friends — one in a car, the other on a motorcycle — following behind him. The silver Mazda got in between the man and his friends, and the Mazda’s driver, apparently frustrated with the man’s driving, began honking.
The charges say the motorcyclist pulled over and rode parallel to the Mazda’s rear passenger side to see what the problem was, when the passenger rolled down the window and began firing a handgun with an extended magazine.
The motorcyclist was shot at, at least twice, once in the head and once in the shoulder. But his helmet and heavy riding jacket kept the bullets from penetrating his body, the charges say. One of the rounds apparently ricocheted off his helmet and struck his friend, who was driving a car behind the Mazda, in the face, according to the charges.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Larson noted in charging papers the motorcyclist’s helmet “is likely the only reason this was not a homicide.”
The man who was injured spent about five hours at Harborview Medical Center before he was released, the charges say.
After police pulled the Mazda over in South Lake Union, the motorcyclist was driven to the scene and positively identified the driver and shooter, according to the charges.
Seattle police shut down Alki Beach in West Seattle on May 29 after videos posted to the TikTok social media app went viral. Hundreds of revelers flooded the beach, where loud music pumped and partygoers climbed on top of police cars to dance, according to videos from the scene.
Officers made three arrests that night, investigated a strong-arm robbery and broke up multiple fights, Seattle police said at the time. One officer’s thumb was broken while breaking up a fight between two men.
A week earlier, thousands of people flooded Huntington Beach in Southern California after a 17-year-old’s TikTok video advertising his birthday party became a viral sensation. Police there arrested more than 175 people, the Los Angeles Times reported.