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5 shot in downtown Seattle at busy intersection

12:15, Thursday, 10 November, 2016
5 shot in downtown Seattle at busy intersection

Five people were shot outside a convenience store in downtown Seattle Wednesday night, and the shooter remained at large, police said.

Gunshots were reported shortly before 7 p.m. outside the 7-Eleven store on Third Avenue between Pike and Pine streets, near a major bus stop.

Witnesses said some people were arguing when the gunman began to walk away, and then turned around and fired into the crowd. At least one victim likely was a bystander, Seattle police Assistant Chief Robert Merner said.

Two of the victims, both male, were in critical condition in Harborview Medical Center’s intensive care unit as of 10:30 p.m., according to hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg. Two other males and a female had improved from serious to satisfactory condition by that time. The five victims range in age from 20s to 50s and had gunshot wounds to their legs, chest and neck.

Police provided no other details on the shooter.

Sharon Keith, manager of the 7-Eleven, said she heard what “sounded like firecrackers” and told everyone to get down. She then locked the doors and looked outside.

“I saw multiple people down, bleeding,” she said.

People in the area heard several rounds of gunshots before police responded, said Irfan Rahman, a worker at a nearby smoke shop.

Downtown had additional police presence because of an anti-Donald Trump rally, which started at Westlake Mall earlier in the evening.

The rally turned into a march and was proceeding down various streets in town at the time of the shootings, according to witnesses. Merner said the shooting is unrelated.

“It’s not related to the protest at all,” he said. “It appears to be some type of personal argument.”

The incident is the state’s eighth mass shooting this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonpartisan organization, which tracks and verifies incidents around the country, defines “mass shooting” as any single incident in which four or more people are fatally shot or wounded, not including the shooter.

The most recent mass shooting was in September, when five people were killed at the Cascade Mall in Burlington.

Earlier Wednesday, two men were hospitalized after a shooting in a parking lot in Seattle’s New Holly neighborhood.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray expressed condolences for the victims in a statement late Wednesday night, which also said police do not believe the two Seattle shootings are related.

“However, gun violence remains an an epidemic in our country that we must work to address in any way we can,” the statement says. “Today’s shootings are a reminder of how much work we have left to do.”

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