Signs point to gang violence in Tuesday's shooting outside the Garfield Community Center that left a young man in critical condition. A 21-year-old man was shot in the face after he and his friends exchanged words with another group of young men outside the center in the 2300 block of East Cherry.The seeds of the shooting may have actually been sown nearly a year ago in another shooting at another locations. The shooting on Jan. 4, sources said, may have been the springboard for a lot of this violence.Nearly a year ago, 17-year-old Allen Joplin was shot and killed when a group of uninvited guests crashed a back-to-school party held for about 100 teens at a rented space at 116 Elliott Avenue West. Witnesses said the fatal shooting was the result of rival gangs from South Seattle and the Central District staking out their turf. "I thought something would happen. So I decided not to go, to stay clear of it," said one teen who wished to remain anonymous. There have been at least four more shootings since Halloween. On Oct. 31, 16-year-old Quincey Coleman was shot and killed outside Garfield High School. His friend was also shot, but survived. It is not known what triggered the Halloween shooting; however, detectives believe it may have been gang or drug-related. On Nov. 22, 16-year-old Daiquan Jones was shot and killed inside Southcenter Mall. Another teen was seriously injured. Barry L. Saunders Jr., 21, has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree assault in the mall shooting. The attorney for Saunders, who pleaded not guilty, said he was merely coming to the aid of his brother, who was being beaten.
You shoot one, you kill another one. It's crazy," said Jones' grandmother. On the night after the mall shooting, two teens were shot and injured outside an apartment complex near the intersection of Rainier Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street.
It was not clear exactly what prompted the shooting. Investigators said after the gunman opened fire, he ran off and most likely jumped into a waiting car. No description of the gunman was available.Police have not said whether the shootings are connected, and they have not confirmed they're gang-related. The one definite connection -- no one close to these cases is talking. That hamstrings police.
"They are crucial, a crucial piece to the puzzle," said police spokesperson Renee Witt. In Tuesday's shooting police are looking for up to four men, but a description was not available. The Seattle Gang Unit is investigating. Last month a police officer was assigned to Garfield High School in response to the crime surge, making it the only school in the city to have a police officer dedicated to the campus.
"We've been increasing our patrols around this area. We've been working real closely with King County's Metro Transit Police because we've been getting reports of problems on the Metro buses following school departure," Asst. Police Chief Nick Metz said.