The third reported shots fired call in the Pike/Pine corridor over the weekend is being disputed by the Seattle Police Department, but Social Outreach Seattle president Shaun Knittel says he was there and he’s had enough.
Seattle Police say a fight that broke out between two men at Neighbours Nightclub early Sunday morning grew into a larger disturbance once they were moved outside by security.
Detective Mark Jamieson said the early morning fight started inside the nightclub at 1509 Broadway, but was moved outside by security, where it continued.
“Somebody else got involved, the disturbance got a little bigger, where it spilled out into the street where there was another gathering,” Jamieson said.
The fighting escalated with more people involved, with a witness saying one person involved may have been struck with a wrench or another object, the detective said.
“No one can really verify that,” Jamieson said. “That guy doesn’t really want to stick around or cooperate, so he leaves.”
“We handed the police the wrench,” Knittel said. “We picked it up and said, ‘Here is the weapon that was used.’”
On top of being president of SOSea, a social justice nonprofit that works in the neighborhood, Knittel also provides media relations for Neighbours and chair of the LGBTQ Advisory Committee to SPD
“It just so happens that I was there at the time, standing outside with the general manager, when everything went down,” he said.
Knittel said security moved two men who were fighting inside the club outside, where they attempted to continue fighting. Security told them to take the fight further from the club, and they left, Knittel said.
“Then they came back and tried to get into it again, and security did a very good job about saying taking it out of the alley or split up,” he said.
Knittel said somehow there ended up being more people in the alley that became involved, estimating those engaged in the fight at around 20.
“It was one of those weird situations where you found yourself saying, ‘What the hell is going on,’” he said. “The next thing you know, some guy gets hit in the head with a wrench.”
Knittel said people were attempting to dig through the man’s pants while he lay on the ground, so he ran over to intervene.
People also started throwing city street signs, Knittel said, which had been provided to Neighbours to indicate the alley was blocked off.
Knittel said he ran when he saw a man digging into his pants, presumably for a gun.
“The guy just shot one shot,” he said. “We don’t even know who he was aiming at.”
Knittel said the suspect ran out of the alley, up Pine and toward Broadway, running into a woman near the Harvard Market QFC, where a gun was tossed into the garbage.
Jamieson said witnesses did report hearing at least one gunshot, seeing a man running down Broadway and throwing a firearm in the trash.
“Officers were there within a minute,” Jamieson said, “and searched and did not find a gun, did not find shell casings.”
The man allegedly struck by a wrench eventually got back to his feet, Knittel said, saying someone had stolen his keys.
“And then he took off too,” he said, “and then we found his keys and the wrench.”
Additional shots fired calls
Seattle Police arrested a man early Saturday morning on Broadway between Pike and Pine streets, who allegedly had been firing a gun near Cal Anderson Park.
Jamieson tells the Capitol Hill Times officers located the man near his car on Broadway and took him into custody, based off a witness description.
Tim Clemans, who runs seattlepublicrecords.org, shared a video with the Capitol Hill Times, and another video posted SPDwatcher on YouTube, where a man can be seen being blocked from leaving in a vehicle on Broadway and then being detained at gunpoint.
Jamieson said a gun was found inside the suspect’s vehicle, which matched shell casings recovered by officers. Clemans said two shell casings were found by the public at a parking garage at Harvard and Pine.
This was the second shots fired incident in as many days in the area, followed by the reported fight and shots fired call from early Sunday morning outside Neighbours.
Officers responded to Broadway and Pike around 1:45 a.m. Friday for a report of several gunshots in the area. SPD Detective Patrick Michaud said of that incident that gang units found several shell casings at Harvard Avenue. No one was reported injured, and witnesses reported seeing people running from the area.
Concerns about Capitol Hill at night
The SOSea board finalized plans Sunday afternoon to create an online platform for people to post videos of the crimes and gang activity they see on Capitol Hill, Knittel said, because there is concern residents and workers on the Hill don’t realize how bad it can get at night, when they’ve already gone home.
“We’re going to film the mayhem, we’re going to show the people,” Knittel said. “That way the elected officials can’t turn away from it; they will have to be accountable.”
Knittel said he’s upset with Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who represents Capitol Hill in District 3. He said she has been focused on affordable housing, but needs to acknowledge crime in Capitol Hill.
“There’s absolutely nothing, no leadership on safety coming from our elected officials in the neighborhood,” he said.
He also believes the police are not doing enough in regard to the gun and gang violence at night.
“At two o’clock, all the bars come out and not a cop on site,” Knittel said.
SOSea also plans on hosting more self-defense classes, which are typically held at Neighbours and available to people of all ages. A self-defense class is planned for December, where people will learn different forms of protection while wearing more clothing, which, Knittel said, gives attackers more things to grab.
The nonprofit also hopes to secure funding to bring back its safety shuttle, which would pick people up late at night and take them home. Knittel said the program relied on donations, but that wasn’t sustainable. From June to December 2015, the shuttle provided more than 700 rides. Knittel said the program cost just $20 a night for covering gas.