SEATTLE — Police say four men pistol whipped, beat and robbed a woman inside a Seattle library Monday evening, and the attack may have been related to a recent shooting.
The 21-year-old woman was inside the Rainier Beach Library just before 5:45 p.m. when four men attacked her, according to police. One of the men pistol whipped the woman while the other three kicked and punched her.
A library employee saw beating and began pounding on a nearby window. The noise spooked the attackers, who grabbed the woman’s purse and took off on foot, according to police.
Less than a day earlier, the victim was inside a Rainier Valley home when an argument spiraled into a shooting that left one man fighting for his life. The woman spoke to police about the shooting, and she told police she had received several threatening messages in the hours since.
One Facebook post said, “You better not let us find you,” according to police.
Medics arrived at the library and treated the woman for cuts and bruises.
Police have not released any information about the suspects.
Proving to be every bit the party that its title intimated, the Rainier Beach Back 2 School Bash – put on by Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition– commandeered the plaza of the Rainier Beach Community Center this past Saturday.
Replete with a DJ Booth (DJ Uncle Guy) that blasted out a diverse mixture of hits that inspired an impromptu group dance to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy, sequined frolicking lion-dragons of Vovinam that enthralled the hundreds of children and adults in attendance with a lively performance that spilled out all over the plaza, and dozens of pop up tents with animated host- which included Seattle Parks and Recreation, Seattle City Light, Bikeworks and Got Green amongst others – it appeared that the Champs-Elysees had been transported to the corner of Rainier and Henderson for a few hours.
However, the Bash – in its eleventh year- wasn’t all fun and games. As it also functioned as a school supply giveaway for area youth, who were required to visit several resource tables stationed at the event – which provided everything from information on public safety to higher education- in order to receive a back to school package which included notebooks, backpacks, calculators, and other necessary, and increasingly costly, school items.
“This was so fun and exciting! I was so glad for all the opportunities to speak to people at the (resource) tables, and get a ton of information that you don’t normally get.” Said Chris Smith, a young attendee who brought along his mother and younger sister and left with a new backpack and a stack of free books courtesy of the Bash.
Usually held in Beer Sheva Park, the event was forced to relocate to the plaza due to the construction currently taking place at the park. The new locale actually appeared to boost community attendance as close to a record number packed the square just outside the community center, including many who found out about the Bash through happenstance.
“I was just driving, on my way home, and I saw all this activity at the plaza. I didn’t know what exactly was going on but it looked public. So, I made a U-turn and picked up two of my grandchildren from their place and said: Let’s go check this out!” Commented Patricia Newman, a 19 year resident of the Rainier Beach area who was attending for the first time.
With the huge crowds displaying the rich cultural diversity that the southend of Seattle has become identified with, Gregory Davis -who heads up the coalition- was ecstatic that the turnout flew in the face of what he feels is an unfair perception that brands the community as fragmented.
“I’m overjoyed at the number of people here! This is our eleventh year, so we knew that we’d get interest from the community and that’s what we’re trying to do – to be a community building environment. We’re excited about it, as a community we want to be able to support people with resources and information as they go back to school.” Davis said.
As hundreds flocked to the event right up until its waning hours, community solidarity seemed a theme latched onto by most attendees. “Rainier Beach really gets a bad rap. Yes, there are a few people who engage in activities that give everyone else a bad name, but everyone here, and there are a lot of us, are here to show support for this community we live in and that we aren’t going anywhere.” Said September Jewel an event volunteer.
In an area that has seemingly made headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent months, event participants hoped that besides school supplies and community socializing, the Bash would also provide a glaring counterpoint to the negative portrayal that the Rainier Beach area has received in much of the media .
“This is really what the truth is, what you’re seeing here.” Asserted Davis. “The diversity, the people cooperating with each other. This is what we’re about. Look, naturally we’re not responsible for the press that gets out there about us, but if people came here and saw this they would know what the real truth is in terms of what’s happening in South Seattle.”
Moments ago Seattle Police and King County Sheriff’s Officers apprehended two suspects in the Rainier View neighborhood who earlier in the day had led them on a high speed chase.
The two suspects- who were allegedly involved in a drive by shooting yesterday in the Rainier Beach area- chose to abandon their black Chevy Tahoe in the middle of Luther Avenue South. They then attempted to hide out in the area rather than continue their getaway by truck.
“At first I just thought they were friends of my boyfriend, but then I saw them just leave their truck in the middle of the street and start running. Then literally about five seconds later all these police cars showed up and surrounded it.” Said Laquisha Frank who was visiting her boyfriend in the neighborhood at the time and was an eyewitness to the suspects ditching their car.
“I was scared that something bad was going to happen. When I saw the police get out of their cars with their rifles I was like I’m staying in my boyfriends house and locking the door!”Frank continued.
After a 90 minute search that included the usage of several police dogs, officers apprehended the at a 3 way traffic stop on Beacon Avenue South
are searching for two suspects of African descent who earlier today abandoned their black Chevy Tahoe in the middle of Luther Avenue in the Rainier View area.
It is believed that both suspects are hiding in the surrounding neighborhoods of Campbell Hill,
Pramila Jayapal and Louis Watanabe will face off against each other for the 37th District’s state senate seat in November’s general election.
After a highly contested primary race that featured six candidates vying to replace the retiring Adam Kline, Jayapal and Watanabe emerged as the top two vote-getters in Tuesday night’s primary election.
With a low voter turnout indicative of most non-presidential year primary elections – Jayapal received 51.25 percent of the vote, to Watanabe’s 17.2 percent.
While Jayapal’s finish within the top two came as no surprise- the human rights activists was deemed the front runner almost as soon as she announced her intention to run – Watanabe – an entrepreneur and business professor from Beacon Hill- had to endure an uphill climb to place second in the race, fending off four other challengers (3 Democrats and 1 Republican) for the position.
The candidate frequently attended crime prevention themed walks in the South Seattle area, and was spotted at several Night Out events leading up to tonight’s results.
“I’m grateful to all the voters in the 37th District who voted for me, and I hope to make them proud come election day.”Watanabe stated.
With unemployment, economic development, and public safety being paramount in the minds of South Seattle voters, and the 37th District housing almost the entire area, Jayapal and Watanabe are sure to engage in a competitive race right up until election day on November 4th.
South Seattle will be bombarded by a host of events tomorrow night, including cookouts, block parties, and safety demonstrations as its neighborhoods- from Mt.Baker to Skyway- will join the rest of the country in celebrating the 30th annual National Night Out Against Crime.
First celebrated in the Seattle area in 1984, The Night Out- as it is commonly known- is intended to arouse community involvement in crime prevention activities, police-citizen partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie, all while delivering a clear message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized in standing against them .
With South Seattle suffering a steep increase in its crime rate over the past year, and consequent concerns over public safety in the area, it is a message that many residents relish delivering.
“I’m doing this because I think it’s desperately important for our entire community.” Says Anne Porter, who is heading up a Night Out event in her North Rainier neighborhood where she’ll be passing out disaster preparedness packages.
While the events focus primarily on hindering crime in the area, it is the valuable opportunity they provide for community interaction that most intrigues Porter.
“I want to know my neighbors better. We’re hoping to get as many people stopping by as possible. We need to galvanize this community.”
That sentiment is echoed by Cynthia Kniffin, a Columbia City resident who is hosting her own Night Out themed block party. “We hope to get to know who is on our block. The deeper the connections you make with your neighbors the better it is for the safety and togetherness of the whole neighborhood.”
A list of South Seattle Night Out events taking place on August 5th is below and will be updated periodically.
1)37th Avenue South Night Out. Start Time: 6:00pm. Organizer:Stephen Bentsen. Location: 37th Avenue South Seattle WA
2)South Holly Street Night Out. Start Time: 5:00pm.Organizer: Ingrid Berkhout. Location: South Holly Street between 39th Ave and 42nd Ave Seattle, WA
3) 39th Avenue South Block Party: Start Time: 6:00pm. Organizer: Cynthia Kniffin (phone: email: email@example.com) Location: 39th Ave S between Genesee and Oregon (near Rainier Community Center)
4) 28th Avenue South Seattle Night Out Potluck: Start Time: 6:00pm. Organizer: Anne Porter (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) Location: 1701 28th Ave South Seattle, WA (Mt. Baker/North Rainier) Note: Children’s activities will take place at this event.
Rainier Beach residents have been growing accustomed to the welcome sight of jovial faces greeting them along their daily treks through the neighborhood.
Corner Greeters, a project initiated by the Seattle Neighborhood Group as a part of Rainier Beach: A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth, places pop-up greeter stations throughout the area in places that have been designated as high crime spots.
The objectives of the stations are to encourage social engagement amongst community members, and deter future incidences of crime.
Along with smiles, the Greeters- who include community volunteers- provide public safety and legal information to passers by in addition to trinkets that match the theme of a particular station. Last week’s “Kindness Blossoms” station at the Rose Street Mini-Park, saw over 70 curious community members depart with flowers in hand and a better appreciation for the steps being taken to promote peace and unity within the neighborhood.
Corner Greeter events will be taking place over the next four weeks between 3:30 and 5:30pm at the following locations:
Wednesday, July 30th:Peace Revolutions at Mapes Creek Walkway Plaza (Near Saars)
Wednesday, August 6th:Fold In Peace at Intersection of S.Henderson and MLK Way South
Wednesday, August 13th:Peace Putts at Rainier Beach Safeway Parking Lot
Wednesday, August 20th:Harambee Drumming Circle at Rainier & Henderson Plaza