3rd and Pine: Downtown Seattle intersection has dark history of violence

SEATTLE – Third Avenue and Pine Street: It’s the core of Seattle but known to so many as a crossroads for crime.

Joey Rodolfo owns a clothing store called Buki just down the street from Wednesday's deadly shooting, which happened in the middle of rush hour and killed one person and injured seven others, including a 9-year-old boy.

“There was a stabbing that happened here a couple months ago right down the street,” he said. “We see guys with hypodermic needles, waving them, wanting to stab people with them.”

Rodolfo is one of many frustrated business owners asking, what is happening to the area?

People live here, work here and roughly 180,000 people travel through Third and Pine each weekday - 50,000 of them catching the bus right on Third.

“You saw this with your own eyes as you were here interviewing a guy trying to break into cars here who was high on meth,” business owner Mauro Golmarvi said. “This is what we deal with and this is what our employees have to deal with every day we are down here.”

Golmarvi owns Asiago Restaurant.

“It killed our business,” he said. “I mean cancellation last night was 60 people, and it’s been horrible. I’ve never seen anything like the past three, four years. It’s been impossible having a business over here.”

In April 2015, Q13 News documented Operation Crosstown Traffic - a three-month-long endeavor led by SPD`s major crimes task force to clean up Seattle`s streets. It netted a whopping 148 suspects.

Fast forward to November 2016, when crews were there as bullets flew at the corner of Third and Pine, striking five people at a bus stop.

Most recently in May 2019, an overnight stabbing sent a man to the hospital at the same corner where earlier that same month a man was attacked with a hatchet outside the McDonald's. The day before that, a man was shot during an early morning robbery.

“I want to know where all our tax money goes because obviously, we are paying all the taxes,” Golmarvi said.

And the question remains for Rodolfo, who asks “What is happening to us?”

The Downtown Seattle Association, a business group, had some harsh words for city leaders: "Enough is enough."

At a press conference Thursday, a day after the shooting, Mayor Jenny Durkan said there will be more officers in the area, and the city will be establishing a mobile precinct.

"We will not allow this to be the new normal,” she said. “We know gun violence is preventable and are taking urgent action.”