Innocent bystanders wounded in Seattle shooting; people in downtown core say they feel unsafe

SEATTLE -- The suspect who shot 5 people on a busy sidewalk in downtown Seattle is still on the loose as of Thursday night.

The shooting happened on 3rd and Pine Wednesday night in front of a  7-Eleven and a busy bus stop.

Deena Deleon catches the bus everyday at that spot.

“It makes me afraid and angry,” Deleon said.

She was shaken to know that someone opened fire on a crowd standing on the same sidewalk she had been on just minutes before.

“We need to get more cops out here to make it safer for us,” Deleon said.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’ Toole toured the crime scene Thursday outside, shaking hands with pedestrians and talking with business owners in the area.

“It appears last night’s incident was between people who knew each other,” O’Toole said.

The chief says innocent bystanders near a bus stop were caught in the crossfire and she understands the community’s concern.

“I want to assure them that we continue to be committed to this place,” O’Toole said.

In light of the shooting, Q13 News noticed a heavy police presence in the area.

It’s something the Downtown Seattle Association hopes to see every day.

“There are more residents coming in, part of the problem is that resources aren’t keeping pace with growth,” Downtown Seattle Association spokesman James Sido said.

The association says the city’s 9 ½ block initiative couple of years ago put a lot of police on the ground and it made a big difference.

“It stuck here, it’s actually a lot better,” Leroy Men’s Wear owner Leroy Shumate said.

O'Toole says her department identified 174 drug dealers in just one block a year and half ago and that their efforts have made the area safer.

Some business owners agree. Although the 9 ½ block program is over, Shumate says the drug dealers and panhandlers in front of his business is staying away.

But around the corner on 3rd and Pine, that’s not the case.

“A lot of people come out here they are drug dealing, I have 4 daughters in this world and I can’t believe what’s going on,” Deleon said.

It's a section of downtown that’s a few blocks from Westlake and Pike Place Market, affecting thousands of people. The Downtown Seattle Association has 90 employees dedicated to cleaning and keeping an eye on  safety downtown but Deleon says the only way to get some drastic changes is to assign more police to the area.

“They need to get a cap on it,” Deleon said.