Seattle police on Friday are culling through witness tips and surveillance video in an effort to find the person responsible for shooting Donnie Chin in the Chinatown International District early Thursday morning.

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Seattle police on Friday are culling through witness tips and surveillance video in an effort to find the person responsible for killing Donnie Chin in the Chinatown International District early Thursday.

Chin, 59, patrolled the neighborhood as an unofficial security force for almost 50 years. While no arrests have been made in his slaying, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said the department will “work tirelessly to bring his killer to justice.”

From the archives

See a profile of Donnie Chin that ran in The Seattle Times in 1991  

More on Donnie Chin


Gifts in Chin’s memory

Donations may be made on Chin’s behalf to the International District Emergency Center, via the Seattle Foundation’s IDEC page.

On Friday morning, Assistant Chief Robert Merner said detectives were reviewing tips and video surveillance captured near where Chin was found fatally shot. Merner has asked anyone with information to call the homicide tip line at 206-233-5000.

Memorial service

A candlelight memorial service for Donnie Chin will be held at 9 p.m. Sunday at Hing Hay Park, 423 Maynard Ave. S. The memorial is open to the public.

Police said they were called to the area of Eighth Avenue South and South Weller Street just before 3 a.m. Thursday. Officers found a wounded man inside a car with windows that had been shot out.

The man, later identified as Chin, was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. He died a short time later.

Chin was in junior high school when he started tuning in to a police radio in an effort to help out in the Seattle neighborhood where his family had roots dating back almost four generations. Friends and fellow emergency responders say he regularly arrived before ambulances and police cruisers responding to those in need — more than once performing CPR until official help arrived.

Almost single-handedly, Chin created and managed the International District Emergency Center (IDEC). The center, which was his sole place of employment since he was a teenager, survived on donations and grants.

Dean Wong, who has been friends with Chin since the two were 8 or 9 years old, said Chin wanted to take care of neighbors and friends who were in need.

In an interview with The Seattle Times in 1991, Chin said he and Wong started an early version of the center in the late 1960s because 911 service had not been established and private ambulance companies were slow.

On Thursday, Wong said the two men would keep a close eye on senior citizens and bring food to the homeless. Wong soon moved on to become a photographer while Chin continued with the IDEC, developing its mission to “help make the International District a safe place to live, visit, work, provide services, and conduct business — and to quickly respond to emergency situations in the area,” according to its website.

While Wong said his friend dealt primarily with car prowlers, drug addicts, drug dealers and the homeless, fellow Chinatown International District leaders said Chin was also at every parade, theatrical performance, community meeting and other neighborhood event.

“When any of our organizations did events, he would go there to support it,” said Kathy Hsieh, who works in Seattle’s Office for Arts & Culture.

Hsieh, who met Chin when she was in a theatrical performance almost 30 years ago, said Chin, dressed in IDEC’s Khaki security uniform, was always there to help. He escorted people to their cars at night, told youths about the history of Chinatown and spent countless hours talking with neighborhood seniors about their lives.

“He really believed so much in the people and the neighborhood; he just wanted people to see the district for all it had,” Hsieh said Thursday.