Killings in Seattle Homeless Camp

Called the Jungle, this homeless encampment that has been a trouble spot for 20 years—which all too sadly, sounds like our Parkway—exploded with gunfire, as this report from MSN News notes.

An excerpt.

It was the speech of a lifetime: an impassioned pitch for Seattle to rally together to solve the spiraling crisis of homelessness.

“I hear your frustrations and I share them,” said Seattle mayor Ed Murray in a special television address on Tuesday night. “People are dying on our streets. We are working on a complex problem in real time.”

Murray had no idea how true his words would soon prove to be, however. Moments after the mayor finished his speech, he learned that a shooting in a homeless camp called “The Jungle” had just killed two people and injured at least three others. Two suspects, maybe more, remained on the loose.

Two homeless men had been fatally shot inside of a tent, police said. Three other homeless people, including two women, were injured in the shooting, which cops called “very targeted.”

The deadly incident underlined the mayor’s desperate plea for state and federal assistance to combat vagrancy in Seattle. In November, after 66 homeless died during the year in King County, Murray declared a state of emergency, comparing the epidemic of deaths to a natural disaster.

But Tuesday’s shooting also ratcheted up the already intense debate over crime and homelessness in Seattle, and whether Murray’s administration has done enough to combat either.

News of the shooting immediately overshadowed Murray’s speech, as the mayor was criticized from all sides on social media….

Gunshots rang out over south Seattle just as the mayor was delivering his 7 p.m. address at a newly established homeless center in the north of the city.

“Tonight I want to speak to you, the people of Seattle, about the growing crisis of homelessness, but also about public health, public safety and the disorder that we see on our streets,” Murray said. “This is a difficult conversation that we as a city have been engaged in, not just in recent months, but for decades.”

The shooting at The Jungle seemed to prove his point. In the summer of 2009, the same wooded area was the site of two murders in as many months. Neither crime was ever solved, KIROTV reported.

Problems at The Jungle go back much farther, however.

“You don’t want to go down there,” Nicole Brodeur wrote in the Seattle Times in 2007. “Not even in broad daylight, and certainly not alone. … Homeless encampments are a health hazard, not only for those who live in them, but for neighbors concerned with their safety, and the rats and campfires that threaten their homes.”




About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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