Neighbors worry gun violence rising near University of Washington

Four University of Washington students are recovering from gunshot wounds after Seattle Police say a fight outside a bar escalated beyond fisticuffs. 

It happened near University Way NE and NE 43rd Street around 1 a.m. Sunday morning. The suspected shooter escaped detection and arrest, leaving students and nearby business owners worried about public safety. 

"I’m still positive our streets are safe," said Alchemy Ice Cream shop owner Lois Ko. 

Her store had survived the pandemic and economic downturn. Now, Ko hoped students returning to the University of Washington would continue to patronize businesses in the adjacent commercial district despite rising gun violence.

"My staff does not feel safe walking home at night," said Ko. "Sometimes they do not feel safe enough to take the trash out."

Seattle Police say what began as a fight outside a popular club ended with as many as five bullets being shot into a crowd. Four students were injured and rushed to Harborview Medical Center. Two have already been released while the others remained for care as of Monday morning. 

RELATED: Seattle shootings: 4 injured in U-District shooting were UW students

Students who were not at the scene during the shooting told FOX 13 News they learned of the gun violence through university communications.

"People are saying don’t go on the Ave," said Mike Li, "But, how can you avoid the Ave?"

"You just have to be careful," said Omar Elsouessy. 

University of Washington said officials reached out to the four victims and witnesses providing resources to help deal with physical and emotional trauma. The message also said the university would continue working with Seattle Police and UW Police to combat gun violence, and described the problem as a public health crisis.

The building across the street from the shooting was damaged where multiple bullets shot through walls.

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Ko says she hopes to galvanize fellow business leaders to collaborate with law enforcement and seek ways to enhance security. 

"We are spending our own money to hire ambassadors," she said. "We are going to have a meeting to see if that needs to extend on weekends."

Anyone who has information about Sunday’s shooting is asked to share details with Seattle Police through their violent crimes tip line at (206) 233-5000.