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Westbrook, planned to wed
Victims of random killings, by Seattle Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz's definition, are "people who are on the other end of

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Justin Ferrari, Nicole Westbrook, Greg Anderson, Sherry Soth, Desmond Jackson: A Record Year of Random Kills (Videos)

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Westbrook, planned to wed
Victims of random killings, by Seattle Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz's definition, are "people who are on the other end of the violence for which we can't find any reason why they would have been a target. They were not involved in any kind of risky behavior that would have put them in that kind of position." This year, the city has five of them, and Metz, a cop three decades, says he can't remember a deadlier time for death by stray bullets. The waste of lives is underscored in such shootings: The wild shot that killed father and coach Justin Ferrari, for example, was fired in a dispute over cigarettes.

The deaths of Ferrari and four others are examined in today's Seattle Weekly cover story, which focuses in part on the murder of Seattle newcomer Nicole Westbrook, 21, the unintended target of a suspected gang drive-by.

"Every day with Nicole felt like a dream," says boyfriend Bryant Griffin who, in his first detailed interview, tells of witnessing the shooting of the woman he planned to marry. "I kissed her on the forehead and told her I loved her," he recalls, "and tried to stop the bleeding."

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Anderson, father of 2
The other random victims are Navy man Gregory Anderson, 25, shot outside a SoDo nightclub, as was Desmond Jackson, 21, whose record was so clean he never had a traffic ticket, says Chief Metz; and Jackson's friend Sherry Soth, 21, randomly killed in a separate incident while leaving a Seattle party.

Their random deaths are a record without including six others who fit Metz's definition - the five people who happened to be at Cafe Racer the morning mass murderer Ian Stawicki opened fire, and the woman he later picked out and killed in a car jacking.

Random shootings are particularly difficult to solve, says Metz, since suspects leave only a disconnected trail of bullets to follow. "It's not like a beating, say, where you might have DNA or something like that," says Metz. "They're very complicated cases."

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Ferrari, father of 2
But police believe one of them has been cracked: the Ferrari case. Like the other shootings, it is thought to be gang related, meaning witnesses, even when found, aren't talking. Yet the Ferrari case was broken by good police work and swift developments in the first 72 hours.

"We got lucky," says Metz. "We had people in the community that were willing to step up and provide some important information, and they were able to get us to Mr. Ferrari's alleged killer."

The story's here. Below are videos of the victims, provided by families and supporters:

Desmond Jackson

Nicole Westbrook

Justin Ferrari

Sherry Soth

Gregory Anderson Jr.

 
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