Shooting Yesterday at Third and Pike. Is It Officially the Sketchiest Bus Stop in Seattle?

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A non-fatal shooting yesterday evening in the vicinity of the Third and Pike bus stop downtown resulted in a frantic manhunt in which Seattle police ultimately came up empty-handed. According to police reports, a bus driver reported witnessing some gunplay at around 7 p.m., and though foot patrol officers "arrived within seconds," they couldn't track down the shooter, who apparently escaped into the transit tunnel. Later that same night and early this morning on the same block, police responded to three reports of suspicious persons, two reports of drug dealing, one case of shoplifting, and one unidentified "hazard." In other words, the crime problem at one of the busiest bus stops in the city might be getting a little out of hand.

The shooting on the holiday yesterday was unique in that police could locate neither the victim nor the gunman. According to the SPD Blotter, a Metro dispatcher reported that one of their drivers witnessed the shots being fired. Police arrived on the scene a few moments later and got a description of the suspect. The cops later discovered an orange shirt the guy had been wearing in a trash can in the bus tunnel.

An hour later, at 8 p.m., a man with a bullet wound arrived at Harborview Medical Center. He admitted that he was involved in the skirmish at the bus stop, but "was uncooperative and refused to give any information identifying who dropped him off" or who shot him. Police report that they have video footage of the shooter from security cameras at Macy's and the bus tunnel. Reached this morning, SPD spokesman Mark Jamieson couldn't offer a description of the suspect, or say whether police had any leads in finding the guy.

Jamieson also declined to comment on whether this latest incident is an indication that the bus zone at Third and Pike is particularly troubled. But looking at SPD's online map of 911 incident responses, it's clear that Third and Pike and the nearby stop at Third and Pine are keeping the cops busy. Just between 9 a.m. on July 3 and 9 a.m. this morning, police were summoned there nearly a dozen times for a variety of petty crimes.

Speaking from personal experience, the Third and Pike and Third and Pine stops are magnets for all sorts of riff-raff, who take advantage of the fact that the high volume of foot traffic makes it easy to loiter and slip away into the crowds. About a month ago, I was waiting to catch the bus there in the early evening and watched three drug deals go down on the sidewalk in a span of about 10 minutes.

On that occasion, a 20-something guy wearing a backpack and standing nearby saw the same thing and ambled over to ask a question. He said he was in town visiting from Phoenix and had just toured Pike Place Market. His query went something like, "Wow that was pretty brazen. Is the entire city like this or just this particular stop?" Nope, pretty much just this spot, was my reply.

At least during the day there's a fairly substantial police presence at Third and Pike, usually from bike cops; but since it's only three blocks away from one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, the stop is bizarrely situated for being one of the sketchiest in town.

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