Shooting rattles nerves, raises new questions about safety in downtown Seattle

SEATTLE – Safety concerns in downtown Seattle were raised again after a hail of gunfire sent people scrambling for safety at about 8 p.m. Wednesday.

A man and a 16-year-old boy were shot and were being treated at Harborview Medical Center. The gunman is still on the loose.

Seattle Police said they have officers spread across downtown. Their mobile precinct was parked just around the corner Wednesday night and officers responded almost immediately after hearing the gunfire.

One of the bullets shattered the window at the Olympic Tower, and the restaurant next door was also peppered with gunshots. Employees found a smashed slug inside the restaurant.

“We, as a city, got very lucky that it wasn’t a lot worse than it was,” said the Seattle Police Department's Patrick Michaud.

Investigators still don’t know what triggered the shooting, but it’s the third time someone has been shot in downtown Seattle in two days.

The downtown violence has many concerned. Last fall, Coulton McComb was beaten and stabbed to death in the same area.

As his alleged killer appeared in court Thursday morning to face charges, McComb's mother said she is concerned there aren’t enough police on the beat.

“Stop the violence please, save people’s lives,” said Kimberly McComb-Buehler.

Seattle police said they reevaluate officer deployments every two weeks and shuffle officers to where data suggests they are needed most.

“There might not be an officer on every street corner but within the blocks there’s going to be a lot of police activity,” said Michaud.

But some people wonder if it’s realistic to expect a bigger police presence to stop all violent crime.

Rich Knight said he’s always on high alert when he comes downtown.

“We gotta watch our backs and everybody look out for each other because it’s not a safe world that we live in anymore,” he said.

The victims from Wednesday’s shooting are still in the hospital, one of them is a 16-year-old boy.

Investigators do not yet have a description of their suspect.