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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Violence on Capitol Hill

posted by on March 13 at 10:51 AM

Our weekend post about a shooting outside Sugar nightclub on Capitol Hill and our earlier report in the paper about fights outside Capitol Hill’s Club Lagoon started a heated conversation about violence on Capitol Hill.

To follow-up, news intern Jonah Spangenthal-Lee (Sp?) reviewed the police reports from the shooting outside Sugar. Here’s his write-up:

Early Saturday morning, as Capitol Hill night clubbers flowed out into the streets, police swarmed the block of East Pike Street that stretches between 10th Avenue and Broadway, responding to two separate and simultaneous blasts of gunfire.

According to SPD reports, at 2:02 a.m., the Seattle Police Department responded to a “shots fired [on] the 1500 block of Broadway.” Police nearly collided with a speeding gray Chevy Avalanche, which upon further inspection was occupied by a shooting victim and three other men. Upon exiting the vehicle, a bullet dropped onto the pavement from a “superficial bullet wound” in the victim’s left calf and was collected by SPD.

There is some speculation that this shooting may have been preceded by an incident at Sugar nightclub at 916 East Pike Street. Security manager John Rogers told me that his security team had broken up several fights that night, and the shooting victim claims to have been at Sugar earlier in the evening. He reports that Sugar was holding a staff meeting to discuss the incident Monday night.

Within 60 seconds of that shooting, an officer on patrol in the same area heard a series of four gunshots before being flagged down by several pedestrians who drew his attention to “fighting and shooting” at the Shell gas station that sits at the northeast corner of Pike and Broadway. The responding officer reports seeing a group of six or seven black males run north on Broadway, before fleeing in three separate vehicles. The officer returned to the Shell station to retrieve several spent bullet casings and “shield the evidence from encroaching inebriates.”

At this moment, officers were attending to the slightly wounded occupant of the Chevy, and closed off Pike before bringing in the K-9 unit, which yielded little success due to “heavy pedestrian traffic.”

Back at the Shell station, a fight between three men and a pizza delivery driver suddenly broke out, sending several pizzas scattering across the concrete. Upon trying to escape his assailants, the delivery driver slammed into a car parked behind him. The officer at the scene, unable to receive any backup due to a number of officers being occupied in the pursuit of a possible shooting suspect, “scare[d] off” the delivery man’s attackers. When officers searched the area later, they were unable to find any further victims or damage from the shooting.

The SPD is still investigating the shootings.

RSS icon Comments


Sounds like a full moon was in play.

Posted by seattle98104 | March 13, 2007 10:52 AM

I love the phrase "encroaching inebriates." It's kind of beautiful.

But otherwise, what the fuck? I know that my perspective is skewed by living in one of the safest large cities in America, but it sounds like fucking Bosnia.

Posted by Gitai | March 13, 2007 10:53 AM

I just moved from Cap Hill in January of this year and by the sound of it not a moment too soon.

I got tired of cleaning up after the "encroaching inebriates" who made camp in my front yard every other night.

Posted by monkey | March 13, 2007 10:58 AM

I am curious as to what the penalty is for carrying an unlicensed handgun or even a licensed one that is concealed. I'm not an anti-gun person, but why can't these dick heads leave their guns at home? People should be able to go to a club and not worry about getting killed.

Posted by elswinger | March 13, 2007 11:10 AM

Sugar needs to improve their security...or give up their hip-hop night.

Posted by michael strangeways | March 13, 2007 11:17 AM

Pretty much sounds like Capitol Hill in the '80s to me. Before the flood of money from the software boom, Capitol Hill was a much poorer, more diverse and violent place. Hard as it may be to imagine, Seattle, like many American cities, used to be something other than a shopping mall for wealthy children of suburbanites. If you watch Streetwise you get some idea of what the tone was here back then.

The people in that movie didn't just disappear during the Clinton years-- they were just displaced by gentrification. Now that some of the economic bubbles have popped and the economy is rationalizing itself, particularly with regard to property values, maybe we should think about taking steps to diversify our urban economy so there are employment options for what I egocentrically think of as, "normal people" --that is to say, honest hard-working people who scored 700 on the SATs and don't want to spend the rest of their lives working at fucking Pottery Barn.

That way, maybe everyone will be too tired from their day job to be running around getting in fights and shooting at each other at 2:00 in the morning.

(...he said, almost as if anyone on the Stranger blog would have the foggiest notion what he was talking about.)

Posted by John Lilburne | March 13, 2007 11:33 AM

I just checked out the Sugar website ( and I had no idea what a Vegas-style, cheesy-lame place that is. The site has tons of breast-shots on it and phrases like "Seattle's Sexiest Nightclub!" and "Party like a celebrity!"

This place is clearly for straight people who wouldn't know how to meet someone without a giant neon sign telling them it was okay. Bizarre.

I think these guys need to be more wayyyyy more subtle and maybe they'll stop attracting the crazies.

Posted by sheesh | March 13, 2007 11:41 AM

I know the hill has calmed down in incidents over the last decade. But I remember the 80s and how the boulevard of broadway was like lowrider central, and homies and homegirls cruised up and down from Garfield high, Rosevelt high, and Mercer Island preps would intermingle as well. There was a gay scene mostly at the New wave clubs,
like the old OZ, but being a high schooler back then and naive, I did not see any culture clash or violence except for the gangs from Central and South Seattle showing up to cruise and go clubbing. You would walk by that hamburger stand and that place would be swamped with partiers. 'Yo lets go get bitches' was the rallying war cry. Capitol Hill was the place, even Mixalot immortalized it in his rap 'Posse on Broadway.' That was the way capitol hill was back in those days. A lot has changed, but the way life is in Central and Rainier and attitudes toward gay people.
All I'm sayin is maybe those posses are back ten times in number and that all that talk about this is 'our neighborhood and our clubs' is not going to keep cruisers and Hip hoppers and Metalers off of Broadway or out of the clubs. Yeah they should change their attitudes about gay people and respect the club patrons but thats like trying to make Sunnis and shiites in Iraq get along. Maybe they never left the scene man. And not all hip hoppers are aggro against gay capitol hill. it just seems that way. They are usually accepted because they got the best drugs.

Posted by DreadLion | March 13, 2007 11:42 AM

Sugar wouldn't have had this problem if it stayed gay.

Posted by frederick r | March 13, 2007 11:51 AM

I've walked past Sugar on hip-hop nite and I didn't see any disenfranchised poor people trying to get was a bunch of well-fed, well-clothed, and well-jeweled suburban types of all ethnicities, all playin' at how bad-ass and tough they were...they were all gangsta-wanna be's and i would imagine at least half of them have parents who work at Boeing and Microsoft...Unfortunately, some of the wanna-be's seem to be packing real weapons...

Posted by michael strangeways | March 13, 2007 12:11 PM
I've walked past Sugar on hip-hop nite and I didn't see any disenfranchised poor people trying to get in...

Yeah, you're conflating multiple arguments from several comment strings. I wasn't talking about the incident at Sugar exclusively-- I was talking about the report of the whole scene on the street that night, and Broadway and Capitol Hill generally.

Posted by John Lilburne | March 13, 2007 12:28 PM

More to the point Frederick, CapHill itself would be quieter, because if Sugar had remained a gay, it would probably have closed by now - just like every other club that's been in that location in the past seven or eight years.

@6 & 8:

That pretty much jibes with my recollections from living on Olive & Belmont during the mid-to-late '80's as well, just before the first wave of condo construction started gentrifying the neighborhood. My new landlord warned me when I first moved in to report any illicit activities occuring in our building - little did I know, I'd end up making a dozen calls a day the first few weeks, due to the parade of drug purchasers walking through my front gate, but eventually the place was cleaned up.

Meanwhile though, the bus stop at Pine & Belmont was "crack central", and you pretty much had to keep your eyes on the pavement to avoid stepping on all the passed-out drunks littering the sidewalk in front of the little convenience store there. I don't recall hearing gunshots all that often, but fist-fights, screaming, and breaking glass (either bottles, car windows or sometimes both) was a pretty frequent occurance on the weekends. I realize, none of this has disappeared completely, but compared to then, it's a veritable paradise today.

Still, the recent upswing in violence is disturbing.

Posted by COMTE | March 13, 2007 12:28 PM

Because maybe the Wanna-bes are Gonna-bes. After laughing at and ignoring the ignoramuses we still have a problem. I don't mess with anybody at a club and judge them on appearance alone. Sometimes that skinny white kid from Bellevue, may be bringing 200,000 dollars to buy coke and he's got a lot of support with that kind of money from both sides Black white, gay or hetoresexual. Besides privilidged kids these days have found out that if your all up in the shiza no one gives you shit. And therefore the club owners need to be a little like the ones owned by the mafia in New york. And kick the little shits out peddling thug behavior because its bad for business. As soon as you give them an inch the club is taken over the way you don't want it to be taken over. Most clubs are shut down because of the attitude of the patrons, not the club itself.

Posted by DreadLion | March 13, 2007 12:32 PM

I feel sorry for that delivery guy. He was just trying to do his job and some dumb fucks made him lose several pizzas and wreck his car.

Posted by keshmeshi | March 13, 2007 3:10 PM

Hey, whatever happened to those kids in 'Streetwise?' Was there any article or story done on them in the past 5, 10 years?

Posted by Seattle Watcher | March 13, 2007 3:17 PM

I agree with #2. That sounds like mayhem. If I'm ever up there that time of night it's usually from karaoke and being wasted off my ass stumbling home. I'm not gonna be doing that for awhile. I'll go to ballard if I really have to go out on a weekend. Or stay closer to north capitol hill. Hey, no shootings ever happen at the Stumbling Monk!

Sooner or later places will have to start closing anyways, gay or straight because people are gonna stop going out with events like this happening more and more often. Yikes.

Posted by catnextdoor | March 13, 2007 3:27 PM

For those of you who have been here for a while:

What were these neighborhood patrols or watches that took place in the 80's and 90's? How did they work, and who organized them?

Posted by golob | March 13, 2007 3:30 PM

Golob #17:

Broadway used to have volunteers that would hang out at the corners wearing black berets and uniforms to help keep the peace and prevent gay-bashing. I forget the name - maybe "Queer Patrol"? It would be great to see something like that happen again.

Posted by Sean | March 13, 2007 3:36 PM

gee, guess we don't need the mayor's nightclub license do we? all is just fine with those nightclubs

Posted by toomuch | March 13, 2007 3:57 PM

I cant remember the name of the "Queer Patrol" group either, but they were awesome. They'd just walk around with their berets and mingle with passer byes. They were always friendly but they had such a uniform and demeanor about them that Capitol Hill felt very very safe. I remember seeing them when I was at Minnies because back then most of the violence or shootings would be at Taco Bell on Mercer. I mostly remember butch girls and big beefy gay boys patrolling.

I'd give anything to have that safe capitol hill back. It's a creep fest out there these days!

Posted by catnextdoor | March 13, 2007 4:02 PM

I'm not sure how I feel about wearing a beret ;p. Still, why couldn't we have something like this again? I'm too new to organize, but I would surely volunteer, particularly if it was less gay-centric.

Rather than be afraid, or complain, I'd rather do something..

Posted by golob | March 13, 2007 4:31 PM

Golob, there were three groups that did neighborhood patrols; two volunteer and one paid. The paid group was essentially a rent-a-cop setup like the one they have downtown. They were hired by the Broadway CC (or merchant's association or whatever they call themselves). They did foot patrols and rode around on bikes looking sort of like cops in the early and mid '90s to intimidate homeless people and spangers and keep the vibe clean and presentable during the daytime shopping hours.

The two volunteer groups were the Guardian Angels, who patrolled in the late 1980s and the Q Patrol, who patrolled off and on from the mid-'90s until as recently as three years ago. Both groups wore berets: red for the Angles, black for the Q Patrol.

I trained and patrolled with the Angels very briefly in the '80s, but was also friends with several of them and dated a couple of the women in the group. They were part of a national organization based out of New York, started by a guy named Curtis Sliwa. The New York group was aimed at curtailing violence on New Yorks subways. Other chapters in other cities had other missions.

The Seattle chapter had an office in Rainier Valley and patrolled Freeway Park, Downtown, Broadway and parts of the Central District. The ID was off limits-- the Chamber of Commerce down there didn't want the Angels in the neighborhood. The Angels I spoke to about that were all convinced it was because the Tongs controlled the IDCC and didn't want Angels messing with their street trade, but I'm inclined to doubt it.

The Seattle chapter had some problems. We trained in de-escalation, knife circles and that kind of thing. But at the end of the day a lot of the members were tough guys and cop wannabes who were spoiling for a fight. That led to a couple of confrontations with gangs and groups of people that were basically avoidable. The result of those unnecessary confrontations was to damage the credibility and esprit de corps of the organization. A few years later Curtis Sliwa admitted that he'd fabricated some of the stories of Angel successes in New York and that pretty much put a bullet in the organization.

The Q Patrol was basically a Capitol Hill specific version of the Angels that was created in response to a series of bashing incidents on and around Broadway. They were, in my opinion, much more professional and friendly than the Angels. However, I had no direct involvement with the group and don't know how effective they were.

Posted by John Lilburne | March 13, 2007 4:56 PM

Maybe if people were more apt to just say WTF man that not fucking cool when someones getting in a fight. Maybe more people instead of one lone voice amongst dissent would keep the level of bad vibes down at the clubs.
Instead of people going why are you staring at me like that and egging the fight, people could say why does it fucking bother you that people stare and squash that anger where it belongs.
More outrage during the incedent and at those who have beef, would scare the violence away. Kind of like everyone take on the persona of Doc holiday or wyatt earp at the clubs on the hill and say no way bub, we don't allow guns in this town. And if you got beef you got it with us. I see someone getting bullied I always try to intervene even if i'm like hey asshole gaybasher thats not cool. Wanna try that on me. And I'm straight.

Posted by DreadLion | March 13, 2007 5:02 PM

Thank-you to #22, 20, 18.

Posted by golob | March 13, 2007 9:16 PM

Hey, whatever happened to those kids in 'Streetwise?' Was there any article or story done on them in the past 5, 10 years?

Yeah, actually. You could even have met one of them at the Frye last year. I'm probably doing the alt-weekly equivalent of crossing the beams by posting this, but here's what you're looking for. (It's almost worthy of a movie itself -- one taken by the Green River Killer, another with 9 kids...)

Posted by Joe | March 14, 2007 2:53 AM

O.K. First of all.. The shooting did NOT occur in front of sugar night club.. It was down the street a block or two.. But yes a few of the people involved were in the club.. As for the ones involved in the "shell" incident.. Well.. I cant say.. I'm not too sure where they came from.. But yeah.. poor pizza guy..

Secondly... Straight OR gay.. each an every person has a right to be where ever they wanna be.. Sugars bein a "straight" club doesnt mean it's a bad place to be.. there are still a lot of "gay" patrons that come through.. The gay community saying that hip hop and straight clubs dont belong there are really messed up.. Thats like tellin the gay community that their not allowed anywhere else other then the hill.. I see gays EVERYWHERE in Seattle.. Doesnt bother me.. Why should a bunch of straight people bother you?? Reverse hate I guess.. either way it's pretty much a waste of time to be that way...

And finally.. Well.. That kind of stuff does jus seem to happen.. doesnt matter if it's hip hop, techno, country, or whatever.. Fights happen everywhere.. It's a given when you put 400-800 in one spot.. not everyone is gonna like everyone.. The clubs do their best to try to control and minimize the issues but cant help everything.. The people involved with the shooting took it upon them selves to take it that far.. No one was innocent in that particular issue.. Most people just dont think.. The ones that got shot were the ones that "FOLLOWED" the people leaving after the fight.. Either way.. The clubs and promoters aren't here to destroy the community.. They are there to add life and help it grow.. No bad intentions are had.. No one goes there saying or thinking "Hey.. How can we destroy this place" or "yeah lets go out and shoot some people"... Their intentions are to go out and have a good time.. and thats it..

Oh and to "Sheesh" Grow up... How can you possibly judge a persons ability to "meet someone" by an advertising or by the appearance of a person?? Thought the gay community was a little better then that.. especially with all the things that they've gone through.. Your "reverse stereotyping" is lame.. get over it..

Posted by Are you all serious??? | March 15, 2007 9:26 AM

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