The Seattle LGBTQ community woke up to shocking news on the first day of 2020 as the news began to spread that former resident, journalist and advocate SHAUN KNITTEL had died in his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday, December 30, 2019 at the age of 39.
Knittel lived in Seattle from 2009 to 2017 after serving nearly a decade in the U.S. Navy as a public affairs specialist. He continued his career as a writer and editor in Seattle working for several years at Seattle Gay News as well as contributing to other outlets such as Edge Media and OutMilitary.com.
But, Shaun was probably best known locally for his advocacy work which included creating the group Social Outreach Seattle aka SoSea which worked on a variety of LGBTQ issues and events including marriage equality in the years it was active from 2012 to 2017. He was also associated with Seattle Out & Proud, producers of Seattle’s gay pride parade and Pride Asia. Shaun was also active in the campaign to elect Ed Murray as the first out gay mayor of Seattle in 2013.
He also had close ties to Neighbours Nightclub and helped them with events and public relations and played an even larger role when he allegedly helped discover and put out an arson set fire at the club on December 31/January 1st, 2014. Musab Mohamed Masmari was eventually arrested and convicted of the crime and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Knittel and his husband, Yee-Shin Huang abruptly moved from Seattle in 2017 and relocated back to Las Vegas where he worked for an area LGBTQ media outlet.
No cause of death has been released. Here is a link to his memorial page at Palm Eastern Mortuary in Las Vegas. UPDATED: Seattle Gay News has reported on their social media that a local memorial is being planned. Stay tuned for details.