Shocked by three homicides in a 48-hour span, city officials held the forum to give residents a chance to vent and ask questions. A vigil for one of the victims will be at 8 p.m. on May 13.
Hundreds of residents packed a forum Thursday night in Federal Way to voice concerns about safety after three men were found fatally shot over two days in this South King County city.
Members of the crowd waved “Save Federal Way” signs as dozens of others listened to the hourslong meeting in overflow rooms at City Hall. Mayor Jim Ferrell and the City Council organized the gathering to discuss the outbreak of gun violence this week.
“The citizens of Federal Way need to know we are working … to solve these crimes,” Police Chief Andy Hwang said. “Our deepest sympathy goes out to the families and loved ones who have been directly impacted by these crimes.”
Relatives of Adam Edward Gutierrez, 30, fatally shot while running with his dog Tuesday night, testified that Gutierrez was loving and kind. A vigil at 8 p.m. Friday is scheduled near where he was shot.
Most Read Local Stories
Hwang reiterated points made at a Wednesday news conference, urging residents to take safety precautions. He stressed that police are prioritizing resources to solve the crimes.
The three slayings occurred in a 48-hour span in the city, which averages three or four homicides annually most years, police say.
Gutierrez was shot around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday in the 1800 block of Southwest 356th Street, according to police.
Also killed were:
• Alex J. Kelly, 26, of Seattle. He was smoking on a porch when he was killed at an apartment complex at 1:01 a.m. Monday in the 1300 block of Southwest Campus Drive. He died from a gunshot wound to the torso.
• Frank Cohens Jr., 27, of Tacoma. He was found slumped over in a parked car in the 2200 block of South 333rd Street at 12:17 a.m. Tuesday. He died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to investigators.
While Hwang has said there is evidence of “drug dealing or drug activity” in Cohens’ slaying, detectives have found no sign that the other two victims were involved in criminal activity at the time of their deaths.
Police are desperate for the public’s help because detectives don’t have any suspect descriptions or video-surveillance footage to work with, nor are there any connections among the three victims, Hwang said. Anonymous tips can be emailed through the website, safecityfw.com.
He urged residents to keep doors locked, call 911 to report any suspicious activity and avoid going out on foot at night, particularly in secluded areas or near bike and running trails.
Hwang and Ferrell said Wednesday they are increasing the number of nighttime police patrols, and officers will be more visible on the streets. Police also are shifting officers from specialty assignments to the patrol division and creating an additional five-member squad of detectives to help with the investigations.
“It’s unfortunate,” resident Dion Schell, 36, said of the shootings, adding that he believes the crime spike is a product of the city’s growth. “We need to mobilize as a community, support our police.”
The city of roughly 90,000 covers 23 square miles and employs 124 police officers, officials said.