SPD Police Chief Carmen Best, left, and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon.
SPD Police Chief Carmen Best, left, and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon. Lester Black

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) made their first arrest in connection to last night’s mass shooting in downtown Seattle. They arrested a gunshot victim taken to Harborview Medical Center who was allegedly himself one of the shooters. The department is still searching for two other individuals believed to have been involved in the gunfight, which left one person dead and seven others injured.

SPD chief Carmen Best told reporters Thursday afternoon that over 20 shell casings have been recovered from the scene near the corner of 3rd Avenue and Pine Street after gunfire erupted around 5 p.m. yesterday.

“We had two subjects that were in front of the McDonalds,” Best said. “Some sort of dispute occurred, guns were pulled, shots were fired, people were running, and the suspects ran from each other.”

Best said the fight, which took place along Seattle’s busiest bus corridor at peak commuting hours, was believed to be gang related. The gunfight involved three shooters. One was shot in the gunfire and later arrested at Harborview Medical Center Wednesday night while two others, believed to be Marquise Latrelle Tolbert and William Ray Tolliver, both 24 years old, are still missing.

Police have asked for the public's help in locating the two men. They are believed to be armed and dangerous.

The remaining seven victims, who include a 50-year-old woman who was killed, are not believed to be connected to the argument that set off the shooting, according to Best.

SPD has not released the names of the arrested individual nor the 50-year-old who died.

Three people are still in the hospital, including a 9-year-old boy. Mayor Jenny Durkan said the 9-year-old had gone through surgery and is showing a promising recovery.

Wednesday night’s shooting was the third downtown shooting in barely 24 hours and has renewed calls to clean up 3rd Avenue, which has long seen a concentration of illicit drug dealing. Best said Thursday that SPD was on the scene of the shooting within 15 seconds and the chief emphasized that, overall, Seattle is still a safe city.

“Seattle is one of the safest major cities in the country,” Best said. “Major cities everywhere are dealing with issues of gang and gun violence. We are not immune to that. But in comparison we are very safe city on the issue.”

Durkan told reporters Thursday violent crime has been falling in Seattle but gang violence has not.

“Crime was down last year and homicides were down last year,” Durkan said. “What we’re seeing is an uptick in gang violence not just in Seattle but in King County.”

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Durkan said she is placing more officers on 3rd Avenue downtown in response to the shooting and will deploy a “mobile precinct” to both the area of Wednesday’s shooting and to the King County Courthouse.

Durkan placed part of the blame for last night’s shooting on there simply being too many guns on the streets.

“If this had been a fistfight, eight people would not have ended up in the hospital,” Durkan said. “We cannot avoid the fact and the truth that we have too many guns in our country and too many get into the hands of criminals.”

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