Not West Seattle but you may shop there: Southcenter shooting

(see bottom of this post for added/updated info throughout the evening)
ORIGINAL 4:21 PM REPORT: It’s the closest major mall to West Seattle so this is practically local news: A shooting is reported at Southcenter Mall in Tukwila – at least one person reported to have been hit. We are monitoring some of the scanner traffic; the search for a suspect/s appears to be continuing. Will add more info/links as we get them; this is the first report. Eerie that it was the pre-Thanksgiving weekend three years ago when the Tacoma Mall shooting happened. 4:33 PM UPDATE: Scanner says it happened “between Mac Store, Banana Republic, and main hallway” and believed to be gang-related. We are also monitoring regional news sources for any new details from scene. Here are some direct links: P-I report, KING5 report, KIRO report, more links when they show up online (here’s the Twitter stream for Southcenter mentions). The Times doesn’t have a separate story yet but its home-page blurb says 2 victims have been taken to Harborview Medical Center; scanner traffic a few minutes ago also mentioned 2 victims. 5:01 PM UPDATE: KING says the person who shot 2 men at the mall is NOT in custody at this point; officers are continuing to search the mall in case he’s still in there. 5:22 PM UPDATE: First eyewitness account we’ve found is in a Daily Kos “diary,” of all places. “exiledfromTN” wrote:

Long story short, we were upstairs when we heard the shots. The mall was packed with people, and when the first shot went off, my Memphis upbringing told me immediately the noise was too loud to be anything else but shots. Everyone is looking around as if they’re all thinking, “WTF was that?” Then shots two and three go off, and there’s no question.

Times now has a standalone story, which says two other people were hospitalized besides the shooting victims – including “a pregnant woman who went into labor.” 6:06 PM UPDATE: Witness doing a phone interview on KIRO says it started after a fistfight between a group of young men who the witness said “looked 18, tops.” The two victims are described as “late teens/early twenties.” 7:06 PM UPDATE: One of the victims has died, according to the Times. 7:42 PM UPDATE: “WesCAddle” reports this in the comment section below:

We were there. In watching a movie at the new theater when about 30 minutes into it, they turned on all the lights and an usher came in and announced that we all needed to evacuate the mall. When we got out into the lobby of the theaters, the big metal gate was closed and we were told we would not be allowed to leave the theater. After about 10 minutes of standing around in the lobby (and watching police with automatic rifles running all over the place on the other side of the gates) the theater operators told us we could go back in and finish watching the movies, since it would probably be a while before we could leave.

Needless to say, we returned to the movie and finished it. When the movie ended they began letting people leave, and traffic was a nightmare. The police response was huge outside and inside the mall.

It was better than the movie.

ADDED 9:29 PM: We have an even more harrowing account from WSB’er “Jack Loblaw”:

My wife and I were at the Starbucks at Southcenter when the shooting occurred. We used to target shoot for hobby and knew by the second round fired that it was gunfire. Out daughter and her girlfriend ( 13 years old ) were at the theatre seeing “Twilight”. We ran for our lives. I looked back and saw that my wife had ran into Starbucks which was a trap with no way out. I ran back knowing that I could be shot and pulled her out and ran faster than I have ever run before. We got outside and I called 911. It took 45 seconds or more for them to answer. I told then that we were at Southcenter and 5 shots had been fired inside the mall. They said that there were multiple reports and that they were on it.

We were on the first floor and our kid was in the theatre on the top floor. We snaked our way up stairs and got to the theatre. There were just locking the doors of the theatre when we got there. I told them that our kids were inside and that we were not going to be locked out from them. They let us in; as I stood watch my wife searched theaters for the kids. They finally evacuated all the theaters but would not let us leave the lobby. They told us to go back into a theatre to which I replied “F-Off ” I just was in the line of fire and I refuse to be trapped in a box with no way to run.” We were held captive for what seems like an hour. Verizon cell phones DID NOT WORK. I used my AT&T Blackberry to start searching for information. I called a friend on AT&T to get info via the web. Finally we were let out.. There was at least 5 or 6 police officers with fully automatic weapons that we had to pass through on the way out. …

What is wrong with America that it is not safe to take our family to the mall ? We were just remarking 2 minutes before the shooting occurred that Southcenter looked like it had cleaned up its act and that it did not look like gang central — I guess we were wrong. Do we need to be armed to go out in public any more — ???

9:36 PM UPDATE: The person who was killed is identified (per the Times) as 16-year-old Daiquin L. Jones. 15-year-old Jermaine McGowen is the survivor. No arrest reported yet. 10:01 PM UPDATE: Channel 5 says the search inside the mall has just ended, no sign of the killer. 10:43 PM UPDATE: Later in that newscast, a relative of the victim told a reporter that the victim had just gotten out of jail “last Friday” – not clear if that meant yesterday or a week earlier. EARLY SUNDAY UPDATE: Times says Southcenter Mall will reopen today.

46 Replies to "Not West Seattle but you may shop there: Southcenter shooting"

  • Rhonda Porter November 22, 2008 (4:48 pm)

    My husband and I left Southcenter Mall just after 2:30. I’m so glad we weren’t there for the hysteria. I’ll be interested to see if the shooter’s face is shown…there was one table of people that looked kind of gang-ish or gang wannabe.

  • Roger November 22, 2008 (4:55 pm)

    I was passing on Strander Blvd just after the shooting about 445…traffic is a nightmare.
    AVOID THE AREA! It took me 15 mins to pass the mall to Southcenter Blvd.
    I saw Sheriffs, EMS, Tukwila police, and possibly other police entering as well. They came off I5, Klickitat Drive, Southcenter Blvd (both directions), Strander, W Valley Hwy.
    People were everywhere in the parking lots and near the streets.
    Heard on KOMO that Metro is rerouting busses away/around the area…so check first. Also, they were asking people to avoid the area. Given the traffic I was in early on, I would follow their suggestion.

  • Joseph November 22, 2008 (5:21 pm)

    I was just there around 3pm — it never ends there.

  • GenHillOne November 22, 2008 (5:43 pm)

    Only one, Rhonda? We almost never go there anymore. Shady characters along with teens running (literally) around the new section, yelling at each other, make it really unappealing. No security ever in sight, even if just to prevent loitering.

  • No doubt November 22, 2008 (5:52 pm)

    Southcenter is Gangland, just like Northgate. I avoid both of those malls like the plague. Bellevue Square is safer but it’s filled with idiot yuppies operating on one brain cell. Better off doing all your holiday shopping online.

  • kirida November 22, 2008 (6:18 pm)

    I actually love Southcenter, especially its new section with the small play area for kids. I work full-time so I can’t take my two-year-old to the park when it’s dark and cold or places like the Children’s Museum because they close at 5 pm.

    Having said that, I’m really glad I read WSB when this was just posted before heading out because we were on our way to Southcenter with our son in tow. Thanks for covering this Tracy!

  • WSB November 22, 2008 (7:05 pm)

    I’m still watching the Twitter feed for Southcenter references and one person out there hadn’t heard the news … because she tweeted half an hour ago that she was meeting a friend for dinner followed by a movie at the “new Southcenter AMC.” Hope somebody on her followers’ list sent her the news. (That’s a decent theater, by the way .. we were there two weeks ago for Madagascar.) The mall, needless to say, will remain closed for at least the rest of the night. We’ll keep an eye out on word of its status for tomorrow.

  • JanS November 22, 2008 (7:16 pm)

    Hey, no doubt…do your Christmas shopping locally in West Seattle :)

  • Rhonda Porter November 22, 2008 (7:19 pm)

    Jan, I actually told my husband I plan on not going back to a mall for Christmas shopping and doing it all in WS if possible…this was BEFORE the shooting.

  • WesCAddle November 22, 2008 (7:32 pm)

    We were there. In watching a movie at the new theater when about 30 minutes into it, they turned on all the lights and an usher came in and announced that we all needed to evacuate the mall. When we got out into the lobby of the theaters, the big metal gate was closed and we were told we would not be allowed to leave the theater. After about 10 minutes of standing around in the lobby (and watching police with automatic rifles running all over the place on the other side of the gates) the theater operators told us we could go back in and finish watching the movies, since it would probably be a while before we could leave.

    Needless to say, we returned to the movie and finished it. When the movie ended they began letting people leave, and traffic was a nightmare. The police response was huge outside and inside the mall.

    It was better than the movie.

  • Bruce November 22, 2008 (8:16 pm)

    8:00 pm One male has now died. Search continues for gunman(s).

  • changingtimes November 22, 2008 (8:19 pm)

    this is so scary! i was sitting on queen ann today around 2pm debateing with my daughter if we should brace the downtown traffic or just go out to southcenter to valet in order to hit up sephora and mac, i am so glad i choose downtown!! we would have been right in the chaos!!!

  • WSB November 22, 2008 (8:19 pm)

    Thank you. We mentioned the death above (7:06 pm update). I appreciate everybody helping keep an eye out for any new developments.

  • changingtimes November 22, 2008 (8:24 pm)

    crazy! it made headlines on

  • WSB November 22, 2008 (8:37 pm)

    Mall shooting is national news any time but close to the holiday season, extra national-news points. Sorry to sound blase but having spent 20-plus years in tv, that’s how it ticks …

  • JanS November 22, 2008 (9:06 pm)

    does anyone else get the feeling that things are simply not right with the world? The guy who got ticked at a party getting over at 3am on Hallowe’en goes and gets an assault rifle. A shooting last night in Renton/Skyway – one dead, 3 injured, young men all, after a fight at a restaurant. Then this today, one dead, one a mall, for G-d’s sake..a woman in premature labor, and it goes on and on.

    What have we taught our young people..we, collectively, as a nation, as a people…that’s the “we” I’m talking about. Parenting? Sure, that’s part of it, but, geez, it isn’t the total answer. It’s just so very, very sad, besides being very, very scary. “We” have to do better than this, be better than this. It’s just tragic.

    What was that argument against gun control? Age limits, waiting periods, proof that you have had gun training. I know that there will always be illegal guns out there, but we have to start somewhere.Have all the guns you want, but let’s start being more responsible by example, instead of singing that old 2nd Amendment I said…we have to be better than this as a people.

  • WSB November 22, 2008 (9:29 pm)

    Last night WAS a crazy night – I posted about it on Twitter, since we use that “channel” for a lot of things that are too tangential or fleeting for the main site here – besides the triple shooting in Skyway, there was a bad car crash in Montlake, a shooting somewhere else in the city, someone stabbed in the face in south King County, and I was shocked to get up after 4 hours sleep and not see any of it written up on any of the citywide media sites. If not for the mall shooting, almost any one of those could have been a followup lead on tonight’s tv news.

  • Junctionite November 22, 2008 (9:40 pm)

    I have a co-worker who spent a month earlier this year on the jury for a gang-related murder that happened in 2006. The accused was sentenced to 30 years, he shot another teenager for disrespecting him. This also happened in the middle of the day, right outside of the Southcenter JC Penneys. It really makes me think twice about shopping at Southcenter in the future. I feel safer downtown.

  • p November 22, 2008 (9:53 pm)

    Ok, for the last comment in the story, please, I understand you have kids and its a scary thing, but to tell an employee who is probably following rules, or directions to f off is wrong. I used to train 9-1-1 operators, and let me tell you in the time of crisis, most companies, stores, businesses, etc have no set rules or plans for emergencies of this nature. I now own my own businesses and let me tell you we have set rules in place for things just like this. You have to remember, stay calm, stay cool, and stay off the phone so emergency services can do their job. Trust me they are well trained with these diasters. I personally know many of the 9-1-1 responders in King County, and you might be surprised to know our very own 9-1-1 director for King County has been a front runner in setting National 9-1-1 standards and proceedures.

  • West Seattleite November 22, 2008 (9:54 pm)

    My husband, 14-month old son & I were in lock down in Nordstroms for over 4 hours. We arrived at the store around 3:15, did some shopping, then at 3:45 heard the announcement that all customers & employees needed to remain in the store. They didn’t explain why, but as soon as we took the elevator down to the 1st floor, we saw a mad dash of people rushing up the elevators and through the store. A salesman then informed us there was a shooting in progress, and we needed to quickly proceed to the 3rd floor. Once upstairs, the Nordstrom staff was very calm & helpful…handing out water and getting chairs for everyone. After some time, they then brought out a few large screen TVs and played a couple movies. There were a lot of small children, so this helped keep the calm. Luckily the cafe was open and serving food & drinks, and the staff was walking around with trays of warm cookies and snacks to make people were comfortable during the wait. After a few hours, they allowed patrons to move about the other floors of the store, but we were still not permitted to leave the mall. Around 8pm, we finally were told to assemble on the first floor in single file, and follow the police/swat escort out to the parking lot. While this was a scary and a long drawn-out affair, we feel fortunate to have been on the other side of the mall and not in the crossfires. And I would not want to be trapped in any other store than Nordstroms. They truly delivery world class service, even during a crisis! (I will however, be doing all my holiday shopping locally in West Seattle or online!!)

  • Jack Loblaw November 22, 2008 (9:58 pm)


    I am NOT going to follow directions from some kid when my life is possibly at stake. I will make my own decisions.


  • Bob Loblaw November 22, 2008 (10:15 pm)

    Tracy: Can’t thank you enough for taking the time to tweet the info you provided. No other media had any of this and I felt a bit helpless trying to get anything of value to my brother Jack at a time of need.
    We owe you.

  • Phillip Jefferies November 22, 2008 (10:36 pm)

    Frankly, I stopped going to Southcenter some time ago because all too often it looked like the set of “Boyz in the Hood”. There were a lot of kids and young adults who were either gang-bangers or at least dressed and acted like them.

    I’m suprised it took so long for something like this to happen. A long time ago, police used to be able to ‘roust’ suspicious-looking characters; any good cop had a good feel for who were troublemakers and who weren’t. Now they must wait until bad stuff actually happens, lest they be accused of ‘profiling’.

    I’m as keen on Civil Rights as the next person, but what about my right to be able to go to a public place without fearing that I’ll be caught in a live action shooting gallery? We need to stike some happy medium. It seems to me that if you’re dressed like a gangbanger and hanging out with no apparent purpose, it should be OK for a cop to ask you some questions, and tell you to move on if you’re loitering.

  • sassy November 22, 2008 (11:20 pm)

    Phil – I’m totally with you.
    I’ve never felt at ease at SouthCenter Mall – it’s way too big for any amount of Security or Police to control (im my opinion).
    I’ve felt more at ease shopping at street market in NYC.

  • WSB November 22, 2008 (11:26 pm)

    BL – Finding and sharing information is truly what I live for. If I’d stayed in the TV news management job at which I gave notice almost exactly one year ago, I would have been in my old newsroom office during a “big story” like this, convening meetings and barking (or texting) orders. Instead, in this role I was able to monitor, aggregate, and share info that could actually be of use … that’s the pinnacle. Glad almost everyone got out OK; sad that this is still a world where someone so young can already have such a troubled life and meet a violent end.

  • ellenater November 23, 2008 (6:14 am)

    We had NO idea this was going on and headed out to Southcenter around 6pm. We were actually going to Best Buy which we knew to be around there somewhere. The traffic was insane. We ended up at Gamestop which had EXACTLY what I was looking for anyway. There were some people in there who had been at the mall and got out in the initial crowd and they were in shock. It was pretty intense.

    The irony here is that I HATE malls and hadn’t been to Southcenter since the 80’s. I decided to “get over myself” and go.

    It’s very sad about the kids. I used to work with teenagers on the street and could never affect the gang bangers. Not even a little.

  • Rhonda Porter November 23, 2008 (7:59 am)

    Watching the 10:00 Kong news last night, it was unnearving to hear a lady who appeared to be one of the more adult friends of the gangsters state that this was bloods and crips and that there will be paybacks. This has only just begun.

    SC could have a place where I would have felt safe having my teens walk around and “hang out”…I can’t picture that now.

  • lina November 23, 2008 (8:36 am)

    this is sad and scary as it is a place that many of us frequent and close to ws. A number of years ago i worked for three years with youth who are in the legal system for gang related crimes in denver and salt lake and i am alarmed by the rise in the presence of gangs here in seattle. i feel like it is pointing to our over overall need for more intervention programs in schools and communities to support at risk youth who are more likely to get sucked into gangs.

    many of these kids just want the same things that we do- safety, protection, ‘family’, community and money. seattle needs to act fast to start finding ways to meets these needs or else kids are going to continue meeting them in the easiest way possible- which right now looks like joining a gang.

    so alongside getting scared, angry and just avoiding places where there is activity. i feel like as a city-a whole city not just the lower income areas where activity is more visible- we should start addressing more of the roots of this phenomenon. that is the only way to more towards less violence. sorry for the soapbox but it is an issue i feel really strongly about, let;s not just bang the fear drums but be empowered to educated ourselves about what is really going on. it is not as simple as these kids just being ‘hoodlums’ there is something much deeper going on for them.

  • Joetheplumber November 23, 2008 (10:04 am)

    You know people, this is what it must be like to live in Baghdad, Beruit and Lebanon on a daily basis for those citizens. Car bombings, ambushes, kidnappings while just going out and trying to survive. I hope no one feels like this is only just starting in Seattle. Read the news! Kids are dieing all over Seattle from shootings and retaliations. You can’t even keep track anymore how many young kids have been killed. And if profiling is the answer, then you forget the Tacoma kid dressed in a slacks and a tie that shot up that mall.

    It begins and ends in the home. Where are the care takers of the kids who have guns, are gangstas (this is white kids too) and are out all night? Its been nice to see that we like to glorify all the gore and violence on tv and gaming, then try to teach young minds that its “only pretend”. Hah!

  • Rhonda Porter November 23, 2008 (11:51 am)

    when we were at the mall yesterday, there was a table of kids (older teens) looking very gangster. Probably the most troubling looking one was a white kid. His eyes were void of any emotion. I’ll be most of these kids are lacking dads and/or the home life as jtp has mentioned.

  • Roger November 23, 2008 (1:20 pm)

    Why does everyone react with such insularity and reclusiveness? Wouldn’t we all be better served with and attitude that demands better/more security at our malls and such. As private places, they can (and some do) enforce non-loitering rules.
    If everyone just retreats to their homes and hides-out with their guns, who gains? The criminal element does.
    We have to face the reality of crime and gun violence. It’s not going to happen overnight, but then again we have crime in our neighborhoods here in West Seattle, too. That’s the whole point of neighborhood watches and Take Back the Nights.

  • P November 23, 2008 (1:40 pm)

    Jack did you ever stop to think that MAYBE that KID was directed to do something by a Police officer??? You were not there to hear the instructions. It doesn’t matter how old the person is (our armed forces start at age 18, which to me is a kid) you should and need to follow directions. This is exactly why plans do not get followed and issues become major. This type of activity is really not acceptable during a crisis.

  • Cleveland Ken November 23, 2008 (3:07 pm)

    Wouldn’t it be nice if one of those people that might be stopped carrying guns by the proposed rule restricting guns on city-owned property actually having a gun to shoot the little SOB that did the shooting in the mall? If someone was packing there might be one less so called gangster killing people for no reason. Time to fight back!!

  • Jill Loblaw November 23, 2008 (3:47 pm)

    P., since you were NOT there and you did not experience shots being made 50 ft. from you nor did you hear the utter panic from those escaping past you. YOU have no leg to stand on to make a comment about not following rules that some young person is ordered to make and may lack the understanding that sometimes you DO have to make decisions for your OWN SAFETY regardless of protocol. And, you DO NOT have a child and can never understand what it is like to panic as to your child’s whereabouts. I guess you are saying you would like to be stuck in a theater where the exits have been locked and you have no other way out. Which means you are easily led. So, until you suffer the same situation you can then make some ignorant comment.

  • WesCAddle November 23, 2008 (5:00 pm)

    Like I said, I was there, in the theater. It was pretty obvious to me that there was really no threat. I’ve been around the block a few times, and it was apparent that this was an isolated fight and not some sort of Columbine deal. There were several quick gunshots, then it was over. I would say that 95% of the people in the theater returned to finish the movies they were watching….there was no way any gunman could get in to the theater complex, so it was probably one of the safest places to be at the time.

    Listen, everyone reacts their own way in situations like this. I don’t fault someone who wants to leave the secure area (cops with automatic weapons guarding every entrance and exit) and venture out into the mall and take their chances. If I thought for a second that we were in any kind of danger inside that theater, we would have been out of there (there are emergency exits in the individual theaters, that would have been a quick escape).

    It’s just one of those things (unfortunately) that you have to live with in a large city. Even though Southcenter Mall has become “gangster-wannabe central” over the last few years (and I agree that it has), I refuse to let that stop me from going where I want to go. I mean really, what are the odds that something bad is actually going to happen to you if you choose to shop at Southcenter? I would venture to say that your odds of getting into a car wreck going to work in the morning are a heck of a lot worse than getting shot at Southcenter Mall.

  • Joetheplumber November 23, 2008 (5:26 pm)

    Yes, telling some kid to “F-Off” and panicking is a good solution. Calmer heads will always prevail BTW.

  • Cait November 23, 2008 (5:35 pm)

    I love how some people are talking about “gangster looking kids” in the mall. What in god’s name do you think you’re talking about? And were the people who did this gangsters? How could you tell? Because their pants were too low, the color of their skin, shifty eyes, no parental escorts? Give me a break. This is a tragedy… don’t be so stereotypical as to feed into this “gangster” BS. Shameful, in my opinion. If it was that easy to spot the people who did this, that would be convenient but it just doesn’t work out that way.

    I’m glad you got out safe Jack et al. What a harrowing experience… :(

  • Joetheplumber November 23, 2008 (5:39 pm)

    Cait, tell me what a gansta is and we can compare observations.

  • Michael November 23, 2008 (5:41 pm)

    Sounds like the Loblaws got a lesson in coping that night – hopefully they can review it and learn from some of their more hasty actions.

    Glad they weren’t the targets.

  • Cait November 23, 2008 (5:42 pm)

    I wouldn’t know anything about what a real, dangerous gangsta is. So it’s not a term I use because it’s not a lifestyle I’m familiar with. I doubt you are either.

  • Cleveland Ken November 23, 2008 (5:42 pm)

    Uhh gangster is what they like to be called. Call a duck a duck. I don’t feel safe around any of these kids that look like this because of run ins that I have had. Better to stereotype than take a bullet to the head.

  • Roger November 23, 2008 (5:43 pm)

    From comments the two victims friends made on King TV last night, it would be a safe bet they were/are in gangs.
    I’m not arguing about profiling (pro or con), just saying to relisten to those interviewed and you’ll hear the same.

  • Cait November 23, 2008 (7:09 pm)

    I know that the people responsible for this were in gangs. I’m referring to the kids that people were mentioning seeing in my mall prior to what happened. That’s what worries me.

  • d November 23, 2008 (8:54 pm)

    fwiw –

    TR did a story at the end of October introducing the Mayor’s Youth Initiative. Here is the city’s link for everyone she put in the story. Take a few minutes to read it. The city has a proposed a VERY proactive, multi-pronged strategy. Not everyone is gonna’ like it, no doubt, but there are some serious monies proposed to go to this programs.

    And, please take notice that no where in the initiative does it suggest citizens go all vigilante on everyone and brandish their own weapons against the youth.

    That would be, how shall I say, lousy problem-solving? Not to mention defeatist and cynical and cowardly, and, FURTHER AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, being a crappy adult role-model about how to deal with conflict.

    Police have the authority. You start wielding your own weapons and you are just as bad as the gangbangers.

    Just. As. Bad.

    Try not to let fear rule your lives everyone. I know that adrenaline is in charge of your thoughts and reactions right now. But, try to remember that their targets are other gangs. Not you.

    god speed to the kids’ families and to all the witnesses.

  • p November 23, 2008 (9:10 pm)

    Jack and Jill, before you cast judgement, I have a child and 6, yes count them 6 grandchildren. Also, I went through 9/11 as a resident in DC and my father a resident in NYC at the same time, living and working right by the center of attack. I am very versed in crisis. As I mentioned I used to teach 9-1-1 dispatchers and am very versed in crisis situations. I don’t care if the person is 16 or 60 if they work for an establishment you must respect and follow their directions. You are not behind the scene and you have no idea what they have been directed to do. I am happy your family did not experience harm or something greater, but your comments are still not valid. What if your child was the employee and they had a person that treated them the way you did??? After reviewing what I have seen from media, I have to say this was handled well. Remember you have many agencies responding, and in most cases the responders have no idea what they are going into. I have the fortune to have had dinner with the very first 9-1-1 dispatcher that took the first 9-1-1 call from Columbine and her stories litterly took my breath away. She spent over an hour working with reponders who had no idea the geographic layout of the school. It was the most amazing story I have ever heard. It taught me more than I can ever have learned.

  • WSB November 23, 2008 (9:27 pm)

    Guys, I’d like to stop the bashing right here. You also can’t understand what it’s like unless you have been through a traumatic situation firsthand yourself.
    I spoke in person for a while today with Jack and his wife (hadn’t met them before but they spotted me leaving a coffeehouse meeting). They shared their story because that’s the only way we find out what really happened in these cases, not so their actions could be picked to bits. People sharing their stories, in times of trouble and times of joy, are an important part of why we say WSB has “collaborators” and not just “readers.”
    Jack further elaborates that he followed up by speaking with a manager to whom the teenage theater employee directed him, “and he was reasonable and understood my point of view as the theatre had locked all the fire exits from the individual theaters thus creating a fire hazard and a trap.”
    What any of us has seen from media reports, or even from being on the other side of the mall, can’t be compared to what someone who was actually there went through, and sometimes even the firsthand words of that person – particularly words written not long after getting out of the terrifying and life-threatening situation – cannot clearly convey what went on. (Jack, who is a longtime WSB’er, has explained to me that “f off” was not the phrase he used but rather his personal reaction.)
    While nothing here has flagrantly broken our rule of “don’t directly insult someone who is participating in the comment thread,” it comes really close, and as I have stated repeatedly, I *will not have that* on WSB. Larger media organizations than ours let their comment threads deteriorate into ugly, mean, useless free-for-alls, and part of what makes this site different is the fact that we draw a line.
    So I’m closing this thread now – if there are related topics that anyone would like to discuss, I invite you into the WSB Forums to open a topic; I don’t expect a home-page followup on the Southcenter story any time soon unless it turns out someone involved had West Seattle (or White Center) ties (although we will report it when there is word of an arrest, which the most recent regional-media reports say is expected “soon”). Thanks – TR

Sorry, comment time is over.