On a sunny, Monday afternoon, it was a serene time at Rainier Playfield. But that serenity was broken by the sight of two memorials for recent drive-by shootings that killed two young men.
On this sunny, Monday afternoon in Seattle, the temperature hitting 77 degrees, Omar Johnson knew he had to make it to Rainier Playfield and pay his respects.
He tried to mentally process the shootings by this beautiful park. He couldn’t.
“You never know until it happens” is the reason he came up with.
There were two memorials with flowers, teddy bears, notes, an empty Remy Martin, Grey Goose and other liquor bottles, and CDs containing specially recorded music. The memorials were pretty much across the street from each other.
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One was behind a bench facing the kids’ playground, a lawn area and tennis courts a short walk below. It was for the latest shooting victim there, near 37th Avenue South and South Oregon Street. A man in his 20s was killed just before 7 p.m. Friday in a drive-by shooting. The Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet released his name.
He had been standing with a group in front of the first memorial that had been set up a week earlier, police said. One car, maybe two, drove by the group and shots flew. The man in his 20s was hit. Homicide, gang and CSI units are investigating. There are no updates.
The first shooting occurred a week earlier, on July 7, also around 7 p.m.
Shamar Curry, 32, died from multiple gunshot wounds. A second man, also struck by gunfire, was taken to Harborview Medical Center by an acquaintance.
Johnson, 30, now lives in West Seattle. He works for a temp agency doing construction.
“I used to live right around here. I think I knew him,” Johnson said of the yet-identified recent shooting victim. “You know how it is, somebody is always talking. His name sounded familiar. … He was a stand-up guy.”
Johnson sat on the bench and looked down at the playfield. In the afternoon serenity, it seemed incongruous.
After a while, a couple of police officers in an SUV parked, walked around, went back into their vehicle and watched.
At the other memorial, the one for Curry, bouquets of flowers had begun to wilt. One note read, “Da Real Ones NEVER DIE.” Another said, “Shamar, This hurts bad bruh … I was just with you the day before and now you are gone. Things are rough now, but you can rest easy now bruh. No more drama.
You will be forever missed. Rest easy to a Seattle legend …”
A neighborhood woman walking her dog stopped by. Kerri Eden has lived in the area for five years. She said she heard the shots from both incidents.
Her plea was plaintive. She said, “I want it to stop.” She said she loves her neighborhood and wondered whether police would pay more attention “if the people were white, if the kids were white.”
Two young women and one young guy walked down the street to the latest memorial. They brought flowers.
Andre Brewer, 17, grew up in the neighborhood and said he had known the recent victim. His frustration showed. There he was, a high school senior next year at Franklin High, cop car across the street, two memorials nearby.
“Nothing’s going to change. It’s still the same street.”