Seattle police are investigating whether a robbery at a Greenwood neighborhood restaurant may be connected to a fatal shooting just a half block away.
Fifty-four- year-old David Peterson was shot and killed Sunday night while out on a walk near North 85th and 1st Avenue NW.
Just before that shooting, the suspects may have been running away from the scene of another crime.
After 8 p.m. Sunday, just before the Baranof restaurant closed, a waitress says two young black men and a white woman walked in.
"They were a little pushy,” said Susan Zielinski. “I told them we were closed and everything, they kept asking would you mind if we could get a ‘to-go’ order.”
Zielinski says the three made small talk at the end of the counter, and she started to get suspicious.
"The one tall gentleman asked me for four or five sodas to go. And he seemed to be getting really edgy and his speech was impaired. I just felt like something wasn't right,” she said.
When she went to the back of the restaurant to grab the drinks, the trio ran out the door with the drop bag of cash from the register.
Right away, Zielinski called police.
"No sooner I had gotten off the phone, I started seeing cop cars going north, then south, then I was like ‘What are they doing? They're not stopping.’”
It turns out they were rushing to a shooting just a half block away. That's where police found David Petersen lying dead in a parking lot. Police say witnesses saw three people running away. Their descriptions match the three suspects from the robbery.
Zielinski believes they must have run into Petersen after robbing her restaurant.
"I think the worst thing is that I wish I could have done something so that man would still be alive today. I don't know what I could have done but it was just awful,” she said.
Detectives came to the restaurant to dust for fingerprints and gather evidence Sunday night. Zielinski says she was called in for questioning again Tuesday afternoon.
Both police and Zielinski could provide only vague descriptions of the suspects. All three are young, in their 20s-30s. Two were black men, one short and one tall, in dark jackets and clothing. The waitress says they were clean cut.
The young woman was white with long dark straight hair below the shoulders. Zielinski says she was wearing a light shirt and dark jacket.
There were no tattoos or piercings on any of them.
Anyone with information on the crimes should contact the Seattle Police Department.