'Increase the Peace': Combating the toll of gang violence

SEATTLE -- According to police, rising tensions among feuding gangs has led to increased gun-related violence in Seattle and across King County.

The Q13 News series “Increase the Peace” looks at the robust approach required to combat the problem: from early parental intervention, to proactive police work, and innovative investigative measures.

Part 1:

In April 2015, 1-year-old Majijha Grant was shot in the back of the head and killed while riding in a car with her mother and father in Kent. The drive-by shooting, according to investigators, was an apparent attempt at gang retaliation – aimed at her dad.

In an effort to honor her daughter’s memory, Lisa Lynch is encouraging community members and parents to do more to prevent their children from falling into the gang life.

Part 2:

With 247 shootings so far in 2017, the Seattle Police Department’s Gang Unit is focused on preventing more bloodshed.

Q13 News rode along with Detectives Rob Thomas and Jeremy Pinkerton as they patrolled through neighborhoods in South Seattle, where nearly half of all shootings have happened this year.

The detectives say their priority is forming personal connections with gang members and those who are at-risk of joining gangs. The hope is to convince them to choose another path – before it’s too late.

“I’ve had more than one conversation saying, 'Man you’ve got to stop what you’re doing,’” Detective Tomas recalled. “’You’ve got to get out of this. It’s going to cost you your freedom or it’s going to cost you your life.’”

Part 3:

NIBIN, the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, has revolutionized the way local police agencies investigate gang shootings. The database, which holds the unique fingerprints of some 2.8 million shell casings collected nationwide, can be used to link shootings together, track gang activity, and arrest those responsible.

The Seattle Police Department hopes NIBIN can one day help them solve the murder of Donnie Chin, a community activist who was gunned down in the International District in 2015.