Nicole Westbrook, 21, who recently moved to Seattle, was critically injured in a drive-by shooting early Sunday in Pioneer Square. Seattle police are hoping witnesses will come forward.

Share story

Nicole Westbrook recently moved to Seattle with her boyfriend to pursue her dream of becoming a chef.

Three weeks later the 21-year-old is in critical condition and on life support at Harborview Medical Center after she was shot in the face early Sunday in a drive-by shooting in Pioneer Square.

Seattle police on Tuesday released surveillance video taken from a nearby building that shows the white sedan from which the shots are fired.

The video also shows a number of other pedestrians running from the scene.

Police said they need those witnesses to come forward as well as anyone else who might have seen the shooting near Yesler Way and Second Avenue.

“Nicole was here to go to school. She wasn’t here to be harmed,” Seattle Police Chief John Diaz said during a news conference at Seattle City Hall. “We need the community to step up and help us solve this case.”

Police say the shooting is the latest in a wave of violent crime that has seen 11 homicides compared with four this time last year.

Diaz said that violent crime is up about 7 percent over the same time last year, but that Seattle is still in the bottom third of large cities for major crime.

Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz said Westbrook moved to Seattle from Albuquerque, N.M., to take culinary classes at the Art Institute of Seattle.

She and her boyfriend were out Saturday night exploring their new neighborhood. They were walking home when the shots were fired from the car.

Metz said two patrol officers heard the shots and were at the scene within moments. They began CPR, he said, and paramedics arrived quickly.

Police think Westbrook and her boyfriend were random victims, not intended targets, Metz said.

“We need to be blunt: Somebody knows something,” Metz said. “We’re asking folks who were in that area to call us.”

Westbrook’s extended family met with police and Mayor Mike McGinn before Tuesday’s news conference to call for help solving the crime.

Marcia Westbrook, Nicole’s sister, described Nicole as a “beautiful Navajo woman” who was just starting a new life. “She and her boyfriend were out for the night to have a good time and exploring around their apartment,” she said.

Joyce Esquer, Westbrook’s aunt, said the family has already suffered more than its share of tragedy. Nicole’s father, Marshall Westbrook, was killed in action in Iraq in 2005. His brother and Nicole’s uncle, Kenneth Westbrook, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.

Nicole’s brother just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

“There is no honor in silence,” Esquer said, and urged anyone with knowledge of the shooting to come forward.

Police asked the public to call the Police Department’s violent-crime hotline at 206-233-5000.

Lynn Thompson: 206-909-7580 or On Twitter @lthompsontimes.