Gun violence is up in Seattle, and although police say most of those involved in recent shootings are gang members, much of the gang violence stems from arguments over money or romantic relationships, rather than tit-for-tat turf disputes, reports the Seattle Times.
"It's really not a gang conflict," said Assistant Police Chief Robert Merner after a media briefing Tuesday that detailed police response to this summer's uptick in shootings. "They have personal things going on with ex-girlfriends and so on."
There's been a 30.6 percent increase in shots fired in Seattle through Aug. 17 from the same period last year, and a 16.3 percent increase in shooting injuries, police said. Nine people have died in shootings this year through Aug. 17, compared with 10 in the same period of 2014.
Police sources said a Federal Way drive-by-shooting that killed 20-year-old Muldhata Dawud in late July might have been sparked by an altercation over a woman. A day later, 20-year-old Zakariya Issa was fatally shot in Seattle's Dunlap neighborhood over a disagreement about money, according to a friend of Issa's. Issa and Dawud were close friends, but the fatal shootings were not believed to be related. Suspects have been arrested in both shootings.
Merner said sometimes violence fueled by infighting between gang members can be more difficult to follow than back-and-forth gang conflicts, but he added it's sometimes easier to get information from informants or from interviewing people involved.
He said police want to work on intervening in the lives of shooters and preventing gun violence, but he said first they must "take these shooters off the street." He added there is some back-and-forth gun violence between gangs, too.