Violence reared its ugly head for the second time this weekend at a Capitol Hill bar. We reported on the early Friday morning incident at the kinda/sorta gay venue, The Social on East Olive Way that sent one young man off to jail for shooting off his gun after an altercation at the club. History repeated itself in the wee hours of Sunday morning outside R Place on Pine Street as the after closing “sidewalk sale” became drunken, combative and potentially life threatening as an argument led to more gunfire and the non-fatal wounding of one of the brawlers. In a bizarre twist, the wounded participant was originally carted off to the East Precinct for booking, when it was discovered that the man had been shot in the back. The strange details from the Seattle Police Department blotter:
A man involved in a large fight disturbance outside a tavern was so intoxicated he didn’t even realize he had been struck by gunfire.
At approximately 2:30 a.m. officers responded to 911 calls of a large disturbance and one shot fired in front of R Place Tavern in the 1500 block of Boylston Avenue. Officers arrived on scene, restored order and arrested two suspects, one for reckless discharge of a firearm and the other for misdemeanor assault.
Preliminary investigation indicates that a brawl started as a fist fight between four people. Suspect #1, who displayed obvious signs of intoxication, was standing next to two of his friends who were involved in a fight. When suspect #1′s friends began losing the fight he pulled out a gun and shot at the person that he thought was beating up his friends. Witnesses told officers they thought the suspect fired the gun into the air. Suspect #1 was located and placed under arrest. At that time officers were unable to locate any victim of the gunfire. Investigation later determined that the gunshot that was fired by suspect #1 had in fact hit suspect #2.
In a separate fight disturbance at the scene suspect #2, who also displayed obvious signs of intoxication, was arrested for misdemeanor assault. At the time of arrest suspect #2 didn’t complain about any injury or pain. Suspect #2 did sustain an injury to his nose from the fighting he was involved in however, he declined medical attention.
After suspect #2 was transported to the East Precinct he complained about some pain in his back. Upon closer examination officers discovered that he had a gunshot wound. Officers called fire department medics to the precinct. The medics treated suspect #2 and then transported him to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
Suspect #1 was booked into the King County Jail for felony assault.
This remains an active and on-going investigation.
(Kudos to Detective Jeff Kappel who writes for the Blotter. If he ever wants to leave police work, he could get a job as a journalist…though it doesn’t pay as well…)
There are still some unanswered questions about this incident. Were the people involved in the brawl/shooting actually coming FROM R Place, or just people on the street interacting in front of the venue? After closing crowds that linger in front of bars aren’t always comprised solely of people who have been in the bar; passersby will stop and join the fun and “meat markets” are famous for late night drug deals as well. Was this a random drunken incident, or something more sinister involving drugs and potential gang activity?
And, R Place has a reputation for having aggressive security…were they out there and monitoring the crowd and things got out of control, or was there a “hands off” attitude? Did this incident START in the club prior to closing and continue outside, or did it completely originate post close? And, did over-serving also play a role in this situation? Unlike The Social, R Place is a long established lgbtq venue that doesn’t market to the straight community. Were the troublemakers in Sunday morning’s incident regular R Place patrons, or outsiders new to the scene? To be blunt, were they the rare “gays with guns” or rowdy straights with too much liquor in them and a chip on their shoulder? Inquiring minds want to know…if anyone has any details about the incident, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, is Capitol Hill entering a new period of violence? It seems to come in cycles…there was a rise in crime and violence a few years back when Sugar and Club Lagoon opened and an increased presence of younger, homophobic and violence inclined visitors began flocking to the Hill. The gentrification of Pike & Pine has obviously led to an increase of visitors but upper Pike/Pine east of Broadway where the crowds have grown the most significantly on the weekends, has so far been largely incident free. Are these two recent events isolated or the start of a new cycle of violence? And, if so, does it behoove local bars and night life venues to step up their security in an effort to curb the potential for any further problems?
Thoughts, comments are welcome…time to open a discussion.
Update: Just saw an interesting comment on Facebook that the incident did NOT happen immediately outside R Place but further down the block. Any witnesses out there to confirm?
Update #2: R Place responds to the report that the incident happened by their business:
Rplace was probably listed as the place of reference on that police report because we’re the closest landmark to the crime. However, the truth is, that this crime DID NOT HAPPEN OUTSIDE OF RPLACE! It actually occurred across the street and further down at the 1500 Boylston Avenue. That is more towards Pike. One witness I talked to said it was “at the apartments down and across the street.”
Rplace security staff in cooperation with SPD clears the sidewalk in front of the bar every night to help prevent any fights from occurring. In our 27 years of business we have never had a shooting in or outside of our club. Rplace has a fully trained security staff that has been through training with SPD. While our security is fully trained to keep Rplace and it’s patrons safe, we can’t responsible for incidents that happen well after close and well off our property.
One question that has not been answered is, WHERE did the brawlers COME from? Obviously, people might park their cars a distance away from their final destination…we’re curious to discover if those involved had been partying at R Place or at another local venue…there are a half dozen establishments that serve liquor within just a block of that parking lot.