Man shot, killed in Pioneer Square; police seek 2 suspects

SEATTLE -- A man was killed Wednesday when police say a gunman opened fire in downtown Seattle.

The shooting happened at 2nd Avenue and Yesler Way just prior to a meeting with city leaders who are working to tackle crime that has plagued Pioneer Square.

Police responded just after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning; the shooting happened when the sidewalk was filled with people heading to work.

The shooting victim has not been identified, but Seattle police said he appeared to be in his 20s.

One bullet actually struck a window at Smith Tower. Nobody inside was hurt.

“I think 4 pops and 1 was a little after the other,” said Jenny Rose Ryan who works in the building. “I was like, I wasn’t born yesterday I know what those were.”

Ryan was on the 6th floor of Smith Tower when the shots fired directly across the street from her office.

Police said witnesses on the street chased after the shooter, but they lost him in the crowds.

“They chased the man who they believe had shot our victim but they were unable to catch him or keep up with him,” said Detective Patrick Michaud. “They lost him a few blocks away.”

The shooting happened only blocks away from city hall where local leaders talked about ways to curb both small-time and violent crime in downtown Seattle.

“There are people acting badly and we have to protect the public by having the police respond with arrests,” said city council member Sally Bagshaw.

Police say the solution is all about putting more boots on the ground.

“I would say the kind of the easy answer is staffing and funding,” said SPD Captain Deanna Nollette. ”That really is the easy answer and I think it’s dishonest to pretend that those aren’t two key things.”

Investigators had the corner at 2nd and Yesler taped off for hours while they gathered clues.

But for people like Ryan, she worries next time innocent people could get caught in the crossfire.

“The bystander threat is a little unnerving,” she said.

Police said witnesses saw two men wearing hooded sweatshirts running from the scene.

Investigators are asking for help from the public. Anyone with information is urged to call SPD’s tip line at 206-233-5000.