There was a shooting outside our apartment

August 24, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Yes, really. And what’s more, it was right across the street from our window and I watched a lot of the action. Well, some of the action.

Map of the shooting near our apartmentsAcross the street from our apartments there’s a nondescript boring-looking building with no signs that seems abandoned. In the mornings there are often homeless people sleeping in its doorway. Well, apparently this building has a whole life of its own once a week: late Saturday nights it comes to life and is an extremely loud and extremely popular club.

So this past Saturday we were up a bit later than usual. Around 1:45 a.m., we watched a Futurama, I fell asleep on the couch, and Blake helped me to bed and tucked me in. Well, after lying in bed for a few minutes, I wasn’t sleepy anymore because it was so loud outside. “What is going on?” I wondered. From the volume, it sounded like there was a crowd of several hundred people on the street outside our building yelling and laughing and drinking and revving their engines and honking their horns and just generally being loud. Eventually I stood up and peeked through the blinds, but I couldn’t see much — maybe 40 people hanging out in the parking lot across the street (marked “action” in the diagram). They were being pretty loud, but not enough to cause all that sound. As you can see, the club was around the corner from our windows and so I knew that must be where all the noise was coming from. I was glad our apartment wasn’t on the ground floor.

So I got back in bed and wondered if it was worth calling the police to make them be quiet. (Yeah, I’m old. Get off my lawn!) But when I got up and looked out the window again, it was clear that the people making the bulk of the noise weren’t exactly hanging around. Cars and SUVs would drive up with their doors open and people hanging out. They’d be sitting on the window sills and holding onto the car roof and yelling at other people in the street. They would drive in a few circles, stop, rev their engine, make a few more circles, honk a bunch of times, yell at more people, and drive away. Oh, yeah, and their radio was set to max volume so the bass beat practically vibrated stuff off our dresser. At any given moment there were three or four vehicles out there doing this, but they’d drive away each time and so calling the cops didn’t seem like it would do much. It was pretty irritating. So I got back in bed again and tried to remember where my earplugs were.

Then, suddenly, I heard a quick volley of five or six loud shots. “Surely that wasn’t gunfire… was it?” I thought. Then another set of shots went off. Blake was brushing his teeth when it happened, so I went in and asked him what he thought. He hadn’t heard them from the bathroom, but we speculated that it could have been a car backfiring. As I mentioned, there was lots of vrooming going on from highly-modified flashy cars and so it seemed pretty plausible. I went to the window and looked out at the parking lot where the same group of people was still gathered, and nobody was running in fear or cowering or bloody or anything, so I figured it probably was a backfire. Then, while I was watching, there was a third group of several shots fired. I still couldn’t see where it was coming from, but people in the parking lot started getting in their loud cars and leaving in a hurry.

I watched for a few more minutes and then we started hearing sirens. Though the crowd had gotten smaller, it was still pretty loud outside, so when the police cars started showing up I was happy to see them. They started lining people up against the cars and patting them down, but we didn’t realize it was definitely a shooting til a few minutes later when more vehicles arrived. At first it was three cars, then it was five, then it was seven. Then a fire truck, which at first seemed strange until we saw its paramedics run out with bags and go over behind the few cars that had been parked in the very center of the lot. Then a few more ambulances appeared and six more cop cars, for a grand total of 13 police cars, four ambulances, and the fire truck. This must have been the most red-flashy block in all of Seattle.

The scene across the street

The scene across the street before too many cops arrived

Several minutes later EMTs started carrying stretchers from the ambulances over to the huddle behind the cars, and they loaded one guy into an ambulance shortly thereafter. That ambulance didn’t leave until about twenty minutes later, which made us think that the guy inside was only mildly injured or dead. While the numerous paramedics attended to other people, the extra cops started putting down little cones to mark evidence (the brass from the shots?) and wrapping the whole parking lot with bright yellow crime-scene tape.

Ever the capitalist, I took some photos hoping to sell them to a news station. But I didn’t really want to stand out on the balcony in my nightgown with a tripod, and I couldn’t really see much excitement from our balcony anyway. So the photos weren’t too great and instead you guys get to see them here.

A close up of the action

A close up of the action

After that things got less interesting. Slowly the cops went off to wherever cops go, and the ambulances left — some carrying people, some not. So we stopped watching and went to bed. It was nice and quiet.

The next morning, I searched around for news stories to find out what had happened. Eventually I found it around lunchtime:

“Two people were shot during a fight after a late night party ended, Seattle police said. West Precinct officers responded to the 200 block of Taylor Avenue after hearing gunshots around 2:20 a.m., police said. Officers arrived to find a large crowd in the parking lot and two teenage men with gunshot wounds. One man had a gunshot wound to the leg. The other man suffered a gun shot wound to the back. Police determined that the shootings occurred after a private party had ended. Medics transported both men to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening wounds. Police found several shell casings at the scene. Witnesses to the shooting told police that they believe the shooting suspect left the area before police arrived.” – from Kirotv.com

Such a short article after all that excitement! It all sounds so insignificant that way. At least nobody died. Though maybe if I’d called the police to make them shut up back at the beginning, there wouldn’t have been a shooting at all.

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