SPD: Most rioters, looters from western Washington



SEATTLE -- This pandemic sent countless businesses and employees into near total shutdown after Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order went into effect.

Businesses that managed to hang on these past few weeks were counting on returning to some sense of normalcy as restrictions are soon to lift and move ahead into new phases.

But this weekend’s riots, arsons and looting in the downtown core may just be the tipping point for some companies that were already hanging on by a thread.

Last Friday and Saturday, rioters trashed businesses in the downtown core and the international district and other neighborhoods.

Exactly how much damage was caused in terms of dollars is still being figured, but the Downtown Seattle Association says it is likely in the millions.

Dozens of people were arrested, but according to SPD records, only a handful accused of wreaking havoc were from out of town.

One by one, charges ranging from arson, assault, burglary, obstruction and illegal weapons were handed down to those caught up in this weekend’s mayhem.

Investigators say one suspect threatened to shoot officers, others were caught red-handed looting including one suspect busted by SPD holding $40,000 in stolen merchandise from a jewelry store.

“The impact could do more harm than people might imagine,” said Don Blakeney from the DSA.

The organization says businesses who so far survived the shutdown may not survive the catastrophic losses from theft and damage.

“I think we already had a tipping point before this. We had businesses already closing,” he said.

Vandals also hit the International District hard.

“Kind of speechless right now,” said Eric Chan, owner of Jade Garden.

All told, between the shutdown and vandalism, the DSA worries some companies may never recover.

“I haven’t heard of anybody attributing this to a closure, but that could be something that could happen,” said Blakeney.

Seattle police say out of nearly 60 arrested this weekend, only a few were from out of state – and while investigators aren’t sure where some call home, most of those who landed in jail are from western Washington, including two dozen from Seattle, five from Tacoma, three from Lakewood, with some coming into the city as far from Shelton, Spokane and Richland.

For some it may be a relief to learn throngs of outsiders aren’t to blame for this weekend’s destruction, it may be less of a relief to know the blame falls on our neighbors.

All while the DSA says employers and workers are counting on the fallout to not overshadow an economy already ill from a virus.

“With that challenge, how does recovery take shape knowing we have a bit of repair to do?” said Blakeney.