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Seattle police chief on surge in violence: 'It has to stop'

There was a sudden and deadly surge of violence in South Seattle, (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE -- Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole condemned the recent surge in gun violence in South Seattle on Thursday.

“It has the stop,” O’Toole said. “The community is not going to tolerate it. The police department is not going to tolerate it.”

She called an emergency meeting Thursday morning after three shootings in South Seattle in less than 12 hours.


A 16-year-old girl was shot and killed in the parking lot of a bakery at Rainier Avenue South and College Street on Wednesday evening. Detectives believe the gunman may have targeted her car, but not the people inside. They still don’t know why.

A couple, both in their 70s, was shot in their car early Thursday morning as they drove along Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Police say they were innocent victims. The husband was in the ICU in serious condition as of Thursday afternoon.

Seattle police, the chief says, are working with the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and State Patrol, among other agencies. She couldn’t say if any of these recent shootings are connected, but did acknowledge an issue of gang activity in the neighborhood.

SPD says it will increase patrols in South Seattle, hoping that the changing of the season does not bring an uptick in violence.

According to SeaStat, there has been an uptick in incidents of shots fired across Seattle from at least the past five years. Almost half of those were in the South Precinct.

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