Party ends in gunfire: 21-year-old woman dead; 5 wounded
Detectives search for two or more shooters, but didn't release details about potential identities or reasons for gunfire.
Seattle Times science reporter
Drew Jones said he and his sons did everything they could think of to ensure their summer celebration Saturday night would be fun — and safe.
Jones visited neighbors in his Southeast Seattle neighborhood to make sure they didn't object to a DJ spinning tunes past midnight in his backyard. He set up portable toilets. He recruited people to check IDs so troublemakers and gang members couldn't infiltrate the crowd of mostly college students and recent graduates.
But when the music shut down around 1:30 a.m. Sunday and people were heading to their cars, gunfire exploded. Within seconds, a 21-year-old Seattle woman lay dying in the driveway, shot in the abdomen.
Five other partygoers, ranging in age from 17 to 21, were wounded but are expected to recover.
If the young woman's death is ruled a homicide, she would be the 22nd person slain in Seattle this year — two more than in all of 2011.
Seattle police Detective Mark Jamieson said the Seattle Police Department's homicide unit is investigating the shooting, near Renton Avenue South and Lindsay Place South. Detectives are looking for two or more shooters, but did not release details about their potential identities or reasons for the gunfire.
Standing in front of his two-story house Sunday, Jones said he was still trying to understand what happened. "To see any of these children hurt, much less to see one pass ... ," he said, shaking his head as his voice trailed off.
Jones said at least two men fired into the throng, but he didn't recognize either of them.
"They had nothing to do with the kids that were here. These were college students, people with plans for their lives."
Twenty-year-old Montrose Lucien said people were streaming out of the home's big backyard, where the party was concentrated, when shooting started in the front. "At first I thought it was fireworks, then I saw a dude pull out a gun."
Lucien and others raced for cover by the steps of the house. "It happened so quick. There was a lot of screaming and running."
One of Lucien's friends was shot in the leg, and he saw the woman who later died on the ground, bleeding. "She was saying: 'I don't want to die, I don't want to die.' "
Lucien said the crowd at the party was mixed, with people of various ages, and included some whom he recognized as gang members.
Police later recovered 20 to 30 shell casings at the scene. "I'm surprised more people didn't get hit," Lucien said.
Party co-host John Jones, 17, a son of Drew Jones, said the people who had been checking IDs left while the party was still under way, possibly allowing in uninvited guests. "The only thing I can think of is that somebody was mad because they didn't get in and decided to react with violence," he said.
Gabrielle Kadushin, 21, was in the backyard cleaning up and shooing out stragglers when she heard the gunfire. "We dropped behind the stage," she said.
But her 20-year-old brother, Julian Byrd, was shot in the side of his face. After surgery at Harborview Medical Center, doctors told the family he will be fine, she said.
According to police, the wounded include three men, two age 20 and one age 21. Two females, ages 17 and 18, were also injured. The name of the deceased woman was withheld pending notification of her next of kin.
Drew Jones estimated as many as 300 people attended the party. He said police are checking videos and photos snapped by the revelers for clues to the gunmen's identities.
The evening got off to a rocky start, Jones acknowledged. One son, who was celebrating his birthday, got into a fight with his girlfriend. Police arrested both for investigation of domestic violence at around 8:45 p.m. Saturday.
Officers returned to the house around 11:30 p.m. in response to a noise complaint, and the partyers agreed to turn down the volume.
There's no indication of a link between the shooting and the domestic-violence incident earlier in the evening, Jamieson said. Police are asking anyone with information to contact them.
The shooting continues an unsettling run of gun violence in Seattle.
Most recently, Ian Stawicki killed five people, and wounded a sixth, at a University District coffee shop and near downtown before killing himself May 30.
Other victims of recent gun violence include culinary student Nicole Westbrook, who was killed by a stray bullet in Pioneer Square, and Justin Ferrari, a father of two hit by a bullet while driving on a Central District street.
In reaction to the earlier shootings, Seattle police and federal prosecutors announced a crackdown on illegal firearms and said they plan to bring federal charges — which carry heftier sentences — against more perpetrators.
Sandi Doughton: 206-464-2491 or firstname.lastname@example.org