Beloved store in Seattle to close permanently after shooting near vigil for slain owner

A beloved business in Seattle’s Central District is closing its doors indefinitely.

The Postman was shot at early Friday morning, and bullets destroyed its door and window. The shooting happened just hours after a candlelight vigil marking one year since the owner, D’Vonne Picket Jr., was killed at the store.

Seattle Police said no one was hurt during the recent shooting. However, the community is hurting now that the store is closing.

"Hard to see something like that happen," said K. Wyking Garrett, a former mentor of D’Vonne’s. "We miss his presence and all that he was bringing to the community and the many that he was inspiring and setting a path for. So, it’s hard to see something negative happen after we’ve already experienced the great tragedy that we did."

The Postman is where D’Vonne and his wife KeAnna Rose Pickett started their dreams together as entrepreneurs. They founded the mail and delivery service store in 2018, honoring D’Vonne’s great-grandfather who was a mail carrier for nearly 40 years. 

On Oct. 19, 2022, D’Vonne was shot and killed as he was closing the store. KeAnna witnessed it. D’Vonne’s family said Ashton Lefall, the suspect charged in his death, was a former friend. During a King County Jail Court hearing in Oct. 2022, D’Vonne’s family said they filed police reports against Lefall for issues including harassment and stalking.

Friday morning, hours after a candlelight vigil marking one year since D’Vonne’s death, the store was shot up. Seattle Police Department’s Gun Violence Reduction Squad responded to the shooting. A public information officer said a suspect has not been arrested at this time.

In a statement published on The Postman’s social media pages, KeAnna Rose announced her difficult decision to close the store indefinitely "due to safety concerns following Friday morning’s targeted shooting at our storefront." KeAnna said it was in the best interest to prioritize everyone’s well-being over the store’s services. In the meantime, the mother of three said she is working on better available solutions for the sore.

She wrote, "The concerns expressed by members of our community have made it clear that there is a prevailing fear that our continued operation may inadvertently cause further harm. We recognize that the psychological damage caused by such acts of terror is profound and far-reaching. It is our responsibility to consider these concerns seriously."

Max Leibowitz is the property manager of the building where The Postman is located. He said he grew up in the Central District and has been in property management in the neighborhood for more than 15 years.

"I’ve seen enough targeted violence to know what this is. And I don’t feel safe for KeAnna, I don’t feel safe for my tenants. And we asked her that if she could close shop," said Leibowitz. "It wasn’t just me. Everybody else in the building was like they didn’t feel safe. It’s part KeAnna and part my tenants."

Leibowitz said right after the shooting, he and KeAnna had conversations about options for the store, including closing.

"I wanted to give her an option that she felt empowered to take. That was really important to me," said Leibowitz. "She was actually supposed to be moving to another storefront around the corner. We spent thousands of dollars getting that ready for her. And we’re willing to look beyond that and let her have a fresh start. We’re not going to go after you for any of this stuff. All we want you to do is be safe. And so, we put that offer on the table to her."

Garrett mentored D’Vonne in youth leadership development programs. He said gun violence has taken so much from D’Vonne’s family and community.

"We have to continue to press forward and keep our eyes on being the positive change that is needed in the world today," said Garrett.

Garrett is the president and CEO of Africatown Community Land Trust, an organization that works diligently to restore Black ownership in Seattle’s historically Black neighborhood continuously impacted by gentrification. With the loss of D’Vonne’s life and now the loss of his business, Garrett said he hopes community will rise to ensure D’Vonne’s legacy isn’t lost too.

"He was about taking control and rising above those conditions. And as a community, I think it’s important that we really embrace that part of the legacy—to rise above and replace some of the negative behaviors that are taking place," said Garrett. "That’s what it’s about—keeping communities connected. And we need our community, really all of our community, to get back connected to the better, more positive aspects."