SEATTLE, Wash. — A problematic Seattle homeless encampment KOMO News has been asking city and state officials about for months is now the scene of a deadly shooting.
Seattle police said a man was shot and killed Friday night near the homeless encampment under the Ship Canal Bridge. Officers responded to the area around 11 p.m. after someone called 911 to report a shooting near 5th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 42nd Street.
Police said they found the 45-year-old man under the interstate in what police described as a “dwelling.” Responding officers and Seattle Fire Department crews attempted life-saving measures, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
The shooting was the first homicide in Seattle this year that police are linking to an encampment.
On Saturday, KOMO News talked to a resident who lives near the area. They spoke anonymously but said they have reached out to the city and elected leaders with concerns about the growing encampment, but have not seen anything change.
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"They know about this encampment, and now someone has died,” the resident said. “They didn't do anything about it, and now someone has died. How long are you going to wait until you take action? Whatever the action is, I don't know, but you've already let someone die because of your inaction.”
Shootings near homeless encampments are a constant issue Seattle is facing.
The city's newly updated homelessness dashboard shows in 2022, there were 116 shots fired, that includes shootings near an encampment, or if the victim or offender is homeless. That’s an average of two shootings a week.
"When someone gets killed, it's a sad day," nearby resident Franklin Moon said. He described what it is like living next to the encampment, "they do their thing; we do our thing. It mostly works. I can tell it's not great living in general. It's a sad thing to watch America turn into that."
The encampment under the Ship Canal Bridge is on state property. KOMO News has asked the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) about the encampment several times.
In September, two other people were also shot near the encampment.
When KOMO News talked to the WSDOT after the September shooting, they said their partner in this was the King County Regional Homelessness Authority. At this time, we have not received a response from them on this most recent incident.
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In the most recent response KOMO News received, a WSDOT official said their timeline for addressing it depends on housing availability, but that outreach workers have been speaking to those who live there.
Currently, there is a state initiative, pushed by Gov. Jay Inslee, to remove encampments along state property and house those who are living there. The encampment under the Ship Canal Bridge would fall under that program.
KOMO News has also reached out to Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office and the city's HOPE team and is awaiting their responses.