'It’s better, but it’s still bad:' Crime impacting businesses in downtown Seattle

Business owners in downtown Seattle are feeling the impacts of crime in the area. 

Last week, a man was attacked by another man swinging a metal rod, but he died from those injuries over the weekend. 

The attack happened at 3rd Avenue and Pike Street that is an area notorious for drugs and violence. Seattle Police deployed a mobile precinct nearby to deter criminals. The attack happened at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, surrounded by strangers and police who witnessed the incident. 

While some people who live and work in the area say they have seen improvement regarding criminal activity, some say more needs to be done.

"My job has changed from helping people try on clothes to helping people try on clothes and be a bouncer," said retail employee Erica Loendorf.

She has a front-row view of the goings-on in Downtown Seattle while working at a clothing store.

"It’s better, but it’s still bad," she said.

Surveillance video shows the tough part of her job. Loendorf shared images that showed her removing troublemakers from the store and sometimes chasing would-be shoplifters. Loendorf says she has been hit in her face by strangers twice this year alone, but she loves her job.

"I get a really good deal on really good clothing," she said.

Man attacked with metal pole in Downtown Seattle dies from injuries

A 66-year-old man who was attacked with a metal pole in Downtown Seattle last week died from his injuries over the weekend. 

Just down the block, a Seattle Police mobile precinct makes cop visibility unmistakable. Even so, last Tuesday, a violent attack a block away at 3rd Avenue and Pine Street gravely injured 66-year-old Rodney Peterman. 

Court documents allege 48-year-old Aaron Justin Fulk used a metal object to strike Peterman twice, then a third time while he was unresponsive on the ground. Police were so close they also witnessed the attack and arrested Fulk almost immediately, who allegedly admitted his crimes, saying in court documents he thought Peterman was "doing the devil’s work."

In July, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office says it filed 598 felony cases, adding up to about 30 charges filed every business day. The majority of the charges are connected to violent or gun crimes and 21% were related to domestic violence. Plus, felony charges related to firearms and repeat offenders were filed each business day throughout the month.

"It is clean now," said bus commuter Fuikru Kelifa.

Kelifa says safety has improved over the past year or so. This part of downtown was a place he used to avoid.

"I did not want to pass even through downtown," he said, "It was scary."

Fulk is a repeat offender, but not from King County. Just eight days before the downtown Seattle attack, Fulk was charged with felony harassment for allegedly threatening to kill a Pierce County Transit Public Safety Officer. 

Fulk has convictions for attempted assault, disorderly conduct, false reporting and from Idaho.

He remains in the King County jail on $2.5 million bail.