A Wednesday night shooting in the west coast US city of Seattle left a woman dead and seven others injured, including a 9-year-old boy, with the suspect or suspects still at large, according to police.
The shooting occurred just as hundreds of commuters crowded into one of the busiest transit corridors in the country. Witnesses reported a volley of gunfire and a surge of panicked people running for cover.
Douglas Converse was standing right outside Westlake Station when he heard the gunfire. Converse, 60, said he saw two people collapse near Pine and Third.
‘I saw a couple of bodies go down,’ Converse said. ‘I saw everybody go running, and I wanted to see if I could be any help.’ Police Chief Carmen Best, who responded to the scene, said the shooting happened after a dispute outside the McDonald's. Police believe there were multiple shooters, but they don't know how many. It wasn't clear on Wednesday whether any of the injured had been among the shooters or part of the argument.
‘Everything is possible at this point,’ Best said during a news conference Wednesday night.
Police had not announced any arrests. Detectives were interviewing witnesses and gathering video from business surveillance cameras for review, Best said.
‘There were a lot of people outside, guns came out, and people started running,’ Best said.
According to Seattle Fire and Susan Gregg, a spokesperson at Harborview Medical Center, a woman in her 50s was in critical condition and the 9-year-old boy was in serious condition. Four others - a 35-year-old man, a 32-year-old man, a 21-year-old man and a 34-year-old man - were in satisfactory condition, while a 49-year-old man had been treated and released by Wednesday evening. The victims were suffering from gunshot wounds to the legs, chest, buttocks and abdomen.
The woman who died at the scene was about 40 to 50 years old, according to Fire Department spokesman David Cuerpo. A body under a sheet was visible on the pavement outside the McDonald's.
Officers responding to the shooting scene found the victims in about a one-block radius, Best said.
Tyler Parsons, 25, was working the register at Victrola Coffee Roasters at Pine and Third on Wednesday evening when the shooting occurred. He said he heard no shots - they play music loud in the store, Parsons said - but customers started dropping to the ground.
He said people were running behind the register, taking cover. Parsons said he hustled five or six customers inside a back storage area along with a co-worker.
He waited a couple of minutes before walking back out. Victrola is inside a larger retail and office space; Parsons went into the building lobby, he said, and saw two victims: one outside, lying in front of the building, visibly injured but alive and moving. The second victim was inside the lobby, up against the security desk, with an apparent gunshot wound to the leg. He muttered, ‘I think I got shot, I think I got shot,’ Parsons said.
Police taped off the entire block, including the coffee shop.
‘We're just kind of hanging out here,’ said a shaken-sounding Parsons, while he was waiting until he and others still in the building could leave. The shooting was ‘just kind of terrifying. Terrifying it's so close.’ ‘We're just trying to figure out how to get out of here safe,’ Parsons said.
Alex Bennett, a former nurse who lives above the McDonald's at Third and Pine, was getting coffee at Victrola when she heard a volley of gunfire.
‘Everyone in the coffee shop went down on the ground, hiding behind tables,’ she said. ‘The security guard locked the door.’ Out on the street, she described chaos as people getting off buses were met by people running from the scene of the shooting. She also saw people who'd collapsed on the sidewalk, including one man in his 30s who had been shot in the leg outside the coffee shop.
Bennett helped a security guard who was putting pressure on the man's wound.
‘He was freaking out and kept saying, 'I don't want to die, I don't want to die,' ‘ she said.
Bennett reassured the man he'd be OK and kept him calm until police and medics arrived. At the man's request, Bennett texted his wife to tell her what had happened. She said she got a message back, that the wife was in San Diego but was heading to the airport to get a flight back to Seattle.
Within a couple minutes of the gunfire, Bennett said she saw an officer running toward the shooting with an assault-style rifle. Another shooting victim made it into the coffee shop and was helped by people inside, she said.
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