Shot fired near vigil for shooting victim
Friends and family of Tanaya Gilbert gathered Thursday night in the South Seattle street where she died at the hands of an unknown gunman.
Seattle Times staff reporter
As a candlelight vigil was held at one end of the street for slain 19-year-old Tanaya Gilbert, a gunshot rang out at the other.
Police on Thursday night were called to the South Seattle street for the second time in two days, this time as hundreds of friends and family had gathered to mourn Gilbert. She died late Wednesday night at the hands of an unknown gunman, and three of her friends were injured by gunshots.
On Thursday, just moments after neighborhood leaders urged people not to take revenge, at least one gunshot rang out near the corner of 54th Avenue South and Roxbury, a couple of blocks from Kubota Garden. The shot was fired in front of a police officer at 8:43 p.m., according to Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel.
A witness said the shot was aimed at a car leaving the vigil.
Dozens of people raced down the street toward the shooting while others shouted, "Stay down!"
"We got to get out of here," one youth said to his friends.
Police quickly sealed off the intersection of 54th Avenue South and South Roxbury Street, and combed the area with a K-9 unit.
"This is like a crazy movie," said one resident.
Police said one of two suspects on the street corner had pulled out a pistol and fired a shot into the passenger side of a silver-and-blue Dodge Magnum, which sped off east on Roxbury. On Wednesday night, police scanner traffic indicated officers were looking for a Dodge Magnum in connection with the fatal shooting.
Two juvenile suspects, 15 and 17, were in custody late Wednesday, police said.
The 17-year-old boy was booked into the Youth Service Center for investigation of assault, police said. The other boy, 15, was interviewed by Gang Unit detectives and released to his parents pending further investigation.
Gilbert, the woman killed in Wednesday night's shooting, was a former Renton High School student who turned 19 on Tuesday and was seven weeks pregnant, family members said.
"She was a nice, gentle, sweet young lady," said a cousin, Monique Anderson. "You never had to worry about her getting into trouble."
The outgoing young woman worked at Wild Waves Theme Park and had just gotten a car, a Malibu, family said.
Gilbert was shot twice just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, as she sat in a parked car with a 16-year-old girl in the 9600 block of 54th Avenue South. The 16-year-old was also shot, as were a 21-year-old man in another parked car and a 17-year-old boy who was sitting on the hood of a nearby car.
Gilbert was declared dead at the scene, and the three others were taken to Harborview Medical Center with nonlife-threatening injuries, police said. Two of the shooting survivors were treated and released. The third is in satisfactory condition, KING-TV reported Thursday.
Police are still searching for the man who opened fire on the four young people who were, as a neighbor described it, just "kicking it" outside the home of a male friend. The neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, said witnesses and victims gave police the name of a possible suspect.
Gilbert wasn't "into the streets," said a cousin, Imani Brooks, 14. "She was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Words of warning
Thursday night, people shared hugs and placed flowers and balloons along the curb near where Gilbert had died. Candles were placed to spell out "NAYA G," her nickname.
As roughly 200 people joined in prayer, neighborhood leaders had messages for the youth who had gathered.
"Life is not a game. It's not an Xbox," said Curtis Delgardo, whose nephew was the father of Gilbert's unborn baby. "Once you make a mistake, you can't press reset.
"These streets are for real. You're either going to die on these streets or go to the penitentiary. This is our community. You got to take it back."
Other speakers urged youth not to take revenge.
"Let the police do their job," said Kenya Bostic. "Let them do it. Because we don't want to lose another."
Resident Dominique Davis urged the adults to serve as better role models and to all come together.
"Everybody here is only one person away from being a relative," he said. "That's how small the black community is in Seattle."
He added: "It takes a village to raise these kids. These are all our kids."
Police said Wednesday the gunman, who was on foot, approached the victims and opened fire, then fled.
A witness told police she pulled up right after the shooting and was threatened by the gunman, according to police Capt. Neil Low, who was at the scene Wednesday night. A man reported he had also been threatened by the gunman on nearby Renton Avenue South, Low said.
Rose Bankston, who identified herself as Gilbert's aunt, said the young woman had moved with her family to California for a year to study. She'd been back in the area since January. She does not believe her niece was the intended target.
The police blog said the 16-year-old girl was shot in the left arm and right leg. The 21-year-old was shot in the abdomen and finger, and the 17-year-old was shot in the right leg.
In the Police Department blog, the suspect is described as "a black male, 6'1" tall with a stocky build and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt." Low said Wednesday night that the gunman's hair was in cornrows and he wore a black North Face jacket.
Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Seattle Police Homicide Unit at 206-233-5000.
Jeff Hodson: 206-464-2109 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Seattle Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge and news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.
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