Four University of Washington students are expected to survive injuries sustained in a shooting outside of a popular bar near campus early Sunday. In reaction, UW and Seattle city leaders and students are decrying a general increase in crime in the University District.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce on Sunday called gun violence a “public health crisis” in a news release and said UW is working with the city of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department to address “root causes behind the increase in personal and property crime in the University District.”

“No one should have to fear for their safety as they go about their daily lives,” she said.

The shooting occurred around 1 a.m. Sunday in the 4300 block of University Way near the popular Flowers Bar & Restaurant. According to Seattle police, two men began to fight outside the bar when one pulled out a gun, fired three to five rounds and fled.

The victims, ages 19 and 20, were taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. As of Monday evening, one was in satisfactory condition and three had been released, according to hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg.

Acknowledging that “events like this are life-changing” regardless of the severity of the physical injuries, Cauce said UW has reached out to the students affected and other students in the vicinity to provide support and resources.

Advertising

Seattle City Councilmember Alex Pedersen, whose district includes the University District, said in a statement that gun violence is at “unacceptable levels” in the neighborhood. With the opening of the light rail station and returning students, Pedersen said “the U District is at a pivotal moment to solidify a renaissance that can benefit all of Seattle.”

People are still processing the events that unfolded early Sunday, UW Student Body President Timothy Billing said Monday.

Concern for the injured students and those who were affected by the shooting is palpable, he said, adding that the most important thing people can do immediately is show up as a community

“We’re just thankful they’re OK,” he said.

The shooting occurred one block away from campus, leaving some new students wondering if they made the right choice to attend UW, Billing said. Students hope to hear from UW officials about their specific plans to increase student safety, and support expanding existing resources such as NightRide Shuttle, a service that provides a safe commute for students.

Plans for UW officials to work with SPD have caused concerns for marginalized communities facing overpolicing or feeling unsafe, Billing said, adding it is a complicated situation and students want to see efforts that increase safety but do not put these communities at risk.

Freshman Jocelyne Booth said it’s common to see police cars or ambulances in the University District and on campus. Many have grown accustomed to grim scenes, including students who rely on light rail, or hang out late at bars in the popular University Way area, she said.

Advertising

Some students Monday expressed feeling a lack of safety when having to commute from campus to other parts of Seattle. Freshman Layla Yared said crime was not necessarily the reason she was made to feel unsafe late at night on occasion, but rather her unfamiliarity with the city.

For UW senior Sofia Gerard, who lives in a building on University Way Avenue, it hasn’t felt less safe in comparison to last year or downtown Seattle.

Personal risk is low, she said. Urban areas face more crime than suburban neighborhoods, Gerard said. The population of a neighborhood needs to be taken into account when crime rates are being discussed, she added.