VIDEO: City Council committee briefed on gun violence, hours after deadly Alki shooting

(Tuesday night photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Just after 9 am Tuesday, we noted here that a City Council committee had scheduled a briefing today about gun violence.

Just before 9 pm Tuesday, West Seattle’s second shooting in three days took the life of a 23-year-old man.

This morning’s briefing ended a little over an hour ago, and while much of it was focused on citywide trends, prepared long before the deadly shots last night on Alki Beach, councilmembers did ask repeatedly about the case and what will be done to try to prevent more violence and to reach out to neighbors.

The stats regarding the number of gunfire incidents/shootings are through May 15th, councilmembers were told. So that does not include the two West Seattle shootings in the past three days – Sunday in High Point, last night on Alki.

About the deadly shooting itself. SPD management at the briefing said the same thing that had been sent out as an SPD Blotter update earlier in the morning – it’s not believed to be random. Some sort of confrontation preceded it, with a large group in the area “because it was a nice day.”

West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold – not a member of the committee but in attendance – asked about plans for increased patroling on Alki. The main part of the answer: Bicycle patroling was being stepped up.

She also asked about use of the mobile precinct – after years without one, the SW Precinct got its own in late 2015 (WSB file photo above) – and how that’s decided. It’s up to the precinct commander, she was told.

At that point, we messaged SW Precinct leadership and talked with Operations Lt. Ron Smith. The mobile precinct has spent some time on Alki already this year, he said, but they have to balance it with deployment to our area’s other trouble spots – Westwood, Roxhill Park, Don Armeni Boat Ramp (last weekend), South Park, among others.

Councilmember Lorena González, the West Seattle-residing at-large councilmember who chairs the committee that was briefed today, said she had heard good things about the mobile precinct’s use and wondered about its funding and staffing. She also asked what SPD’s plans are regarding reaching out to neighbors and others worried about what happened last night and about safety in general. She referred to a woman who had spoken about the Alki shooting, emotionally, during the public-comment period at the start of the meeting.

The response started out with a mention of Community Police Team outreach and eventually circled around to a suggestion that SPD could call a community meeting to provide information and answer concerns. And what we hear at every police briefing at neighborhood meetings was reiterated – call 911 if you see something that makes you “feel uncomfortable … we need to come out and see what’s going on.”

Again, this briefing was scheduled long before what happened last night, and was more intended to address a wave of shootings in the South Precinct jurisdiction earlier this year, as well as citywide trends. Toplines on that included SPD reps saying that Seattle’s violent-crime rate is lower than it was a few years ago – same number of incidents, more residents.

But the number of gunfire incidents this year is higher than previous years, and here’s some of what’s being done to address that:

SPD says they’re looking at “street segments” where there are repeated problems and trying to analyze how to address it – for example, one such location somewhere in the city was a convenience store, so they were looking at talking with the business owner about better lighting. (There’s no grant money to help with that, so far as SPD knows, though – that was noted in response to a question.) Somewhere else in the city, a house that was repeatedly fired at was once the home of gang members, and though they had moved, their “opponents” continued to go by and shoot at it.

What about public perception that safety could be improved by police visibility in known trouble spots? Herbold asked. SPD says they do ask officers to drive through such areas, spend “down time” in such areas. Data-gathering is a big part of their effort to reduce the problem. So is regional collaboration to put what happens into context and try to prevent future instances, and the recognition that some of the trouble stems from people “coming into and out of our city.”

Collaboration with other agencies includes tracing shells/firearms with help of ATF.

Video of the entire briefing should be available via Seattle Channel‘s video archives by day’s end, and we’ll embed it here when it is. (Added: Here’s the video.)

We’ve also asked the Southwest Precinct for any additional details of what’s planned in terms of a presence on Alki for the upcoming holiday weekend, which is likely to be a busy one at the beach with sunshine predicted to return starting Friday and continuing into next week.

28 Replies to "VIDEO: City Council committee briefed on gun violence, hours after deadly Alki shooting"

  • Urn42 May 24, 2017 (2:13 pm)

    Somewhere else in the city, a house that was repeatedly fired at was once the home of gang members, and though they had moved, their “opponents” continued to go by and shoot at it.

    I wonder what the solution there, was? How did SPD suggest the residents handle that? Duck?

  • Anon May 24, 2017 (2:27 pm)

    Alki Ave should be shut down only access by foot in warmer summer months. Also That would help restore the crime, shootings and drag racing, due to young gang crowds from other areas. Also officers to patrol the beach and make more arrests! 

  • m May 24, 2017 (2:42 pm)

    I think we need a system of gun fire detection systems and video cameras. I’m more than willing to give up a little privacy to stay safe while I’m at Alki. 

    • TheKing May 25, 2017 (9:39 am)

      How about passports, strip searches, metal detectors and rfid chips implanted in everyone to make it real safe. 

  • S May 24, 2017 (3:53 pm)

    Nothing good happens after dark on Alki when the sun comes out.

  • Admiral Mom May 24, 2017 (4:29 pm)

    I have been so disappointed with the lack of police response. I called 911 to report street racing and taunting by these individuals at Hamilton Viewpoint. I mentioned that my children were playing outside when this was happening. No one came. I took pictures and waited at the park for over an hour. What’s the point of 911 if no police respond? It seems like the motto is, “Wait until someone dies, then we’ll respond.”

    • Mike May 24, 2017 (5:20 pm)

      Limited resources.  A man threatened my life and it took ten minutes​for SPD to respond.  Because we only get a few in the area. All others are called from other areas to assist when people are dying.

  • flimflam May 24, 2017 (4:33 pm)

    ahh, a table full of bureaucrats pondering “what can be done about this?” – not very inspiring.

    • KBear May 25, 2017 (8:30 am)

      Flimflam, city council members are not “bureaucrats”. (Look up that word, I don’t think you know what it means.) They are elected officials, and they do their work by having meetings. This is exactly what it looks like when government is doing something. You may not like the pace or the results, but your accusation of inaction is off the mark.

  • KT May 24, 2017 (4:37 pm)

    Talk, talk, talk and nothing gets resolved because tomorrow morning the elected leadership of this city will be on to something else.  This is all feel good stuff for the voters.  As for …” bicycle patrolling was being stepped up”… – haven’t we heard this before?  Someone had to die to get SPD to do this?    Are they gonna be out there until the wee hours of the morning?  Talk, talk, and more talk.  

  • Eddie May 24, 2017 (4:51 pm)

    S – While I think I understand what you meant, I have to laugh at the twist. It’s like the old “nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”, or “if you fall out of a tree and break your leg, don’t come running to me”

    “Nothing good happens after dark when the sun comes out.”

    • JulNJer May 25, 2017 (7:40 am)

      It gets funnier every time I read it. 

  • Whitesail May 24, 2017 (5:15 pm)

    Totally agree with shutting down Alki Ave to vehicles between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 

  • Mary May 24, 2017 (8:07 pm)

    Ugh. So pretty much I should call 911 every single time I ride my bike down to the beach. Really scary uncomfortable scene every single afternoon I’ve been down there recently. I come home and tell my boyfriend, j/k not really, didn’t get shot this time! Such bad human behavior. Hope police presence and enforcement steps up ASAP and continues until necessary. Everyone (locals and visitors) deserves to enjoy the sunshine and beach. Life is short!

  • dsa May 24, 2017 (8:37 pm)

    These pictures tell the story, cops standing around, politicians sitting on their rears, and the mobile station parked at the station.  I hope something improves.

  • WS Local May 24, 2017 (9:54 pm)

    Do cops even walk a beat anymore?  Or do they just cruise a lap in their patrol car and call it good?  Although I grew up on the east coast, I remember seeing cops doing foot patrol.  Now, citizens are asked to do the policing by calling the cops when they see something wrong but what we actually need is a police presence that would deter that “something wrong” from happening in the first place.  I do however applaud to quick response of police and medical help yesterday.  They showed up within a few minutes of the shooting.  But again, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

  • Mark Neuman May 24, 2017 (10:38 pm)

     The problem is not stationary politicians, nor is it inactive cops. The problem is bad or absent parenting, coupled with an overabundance of firearms delivered too easily into hands which have no business bearing them.

  • Jort Sandwich May 25, 2017 (1:44 am)

    I am 100% supportive of the people who suggested shutting down Alki to automobile traffic entirely. Perhaps we can switch to a shuttle bus! It’s hard to be a tough guy when you’re riding the shuttle!

    Another option would be to have forced traffic diversions so that you aren’t allowed to drive the entire length of the roadway.

    And still another option would be to charge for parking on Alki and the entire peninsula. 

    Even one more option: make Alki one-way only, west to east. How about 2 foot high speed bumps? 

    There are many things we could do!

  • Romper May 25, 2017 (6:07 am)

    Closing Alki Ave during the summer would have zero effect on these kinds of shootings.   You would simply be moving this criminal activity into the residential areas of Alki, Beach Drive, Admiral way and even California ave.  The businesses on the beach depend on the summer months to carry them over the lean winter ones.  Making the beach inaccessible to cars means a lot more people won’t bother to come.  

  • Geri May 25, 2017 (10:29 am)

    Frequents use of speed   bumps would go a long way in reducing the unbearable noise from racing motorcycles and would reduce the speeding on Alki.  Why aren’t our noise ordinances enforced on Alki?  Should be a real money maker for the City. The revenue from tickets would pay for the equipment.  Put up a few decibel readers and have a cop ready to write a ticket with a huge fine.  Blocking off Alki to car traffic would be a real hardship on the residents so I don’t think we should impose as hardship on the people that live there so visitors have a more pleasant experience at the expense of the resident. 

    Putting up cameras at the entrance to Harbor Ave. from West Seattle Bridge and access points from Beach Drive and Bon Aire streets and posting signs announcing the use of cameras might dissuade some from engaging in uncivilized and/or criminal activities as well. At least there would be a record of who was there if there is a problem.

  • wetone May 25, 2017 (10:45 am)

     Detection systems and cameras will do little to stop criminal activity’s as most criminals could care less. They know Seattle government doesn’t enforce laws they have and even if charged and proven guilty sentencing will be very light and most likely never serve jail time. That’s why we have so many repeat offenders. Until most of current Seattle’s government, city council, judges get replaced I don’t see things changing. When Seattle get’s leadership that allows police officers to enforce current laws, then we will see positive changes. Some examples : smoking weed and drinking in public, loud music, illegal parking, causing disturbances. Offenders need to be dealt with. Seattle has laws to deal with all this, but Seattle’s leaders today will not let officers enforce. Don’t blame officers, their hands are tied. This is what happens when political correctness goes overboard. What I see next is city leaders asking for $$$$, raising taxes once again with promises of solving  SPD issues.  Common city  game plan these days whether infrastructure, transit or homeless issues. Current leaders let things get so bad,  people will pass anything with hopes of improvements. How’s it working ;)

  • Geri May 25, 2017 (10:55 am)

    Another idea would be to close Alki to motorized vehicles with the exception of residents who would have resident stickers on their windshields.  Residents could also be given extra parking passes that would allow family and friends to enter the area when visiting.

    • cjboffoli May 25, 2017 (11:16 am)

      Geri:  That idea would likely run afoul of laws that give all citizens – who pay taxes on gasoline – access to public roads.

      • Jort May 26, 2017 (3:10 pm)

        They also pay property and sales taxes, which pay far, far more for the construction and maintenance of Seattle roads than our share of the state fuel tax revenues. 

  • Anonymous May 25, 2017 (1:18 pm)

    Still don’t see why we don’t post a cop right off the bridge, try to send a message to anyone coming to the beach. They often have a cop on Admiral writing tickets for going 5 over, while crotch rockets race down Alki. My wife got a ticket for going 37 on Admiral. Next day at the beach I see tons on people smoking pot, often right before driving. Can’t take my kids for a walk without them getting scared by bikes/cars racing down the road. I should have bought on Mercer Island 10 years ago. They don’t tolerate any bad behavior on their island.

  • Mark May 25, 2017 (2:29 pm)


    Its the enforcement double standard.  Ticket regular tax paying citizens and let the rift raft get a pass.

    Frankly this is simply unjust and its time to change the political direction back to center left.  

  • Huck May 25, 2017 (4:02 pm)

    More police, more taxes. We just need to make certain that the extra money is going directly to hiring more cops. It’s the only short term answer here.

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