Nat'l Night Out: Rainier Beach event takes on more meaning

KING 5's Heather Graf reports.

On Tuesday night, communities across the country turned out to support National Night Out. Dozens of events were held in Seattle alone. In Rainier Beach, people marked the annual crime prevention event at a spot where one of their neighborhood's most recent crimes took place.

Around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday a man opened fire shortly after leaving the Safeway in the 9200 block of Rainier Avenue South. No one was injured, but bullets flew through windows at a nearby gas station and apartment building.

Two days later, people gathered in that very same Safeway parking lot to take a stand against crime in their neighborhood on National Night Out.

"One of the things we want to do is activate the places where crime has been occurring," said Barb Biondo. "And we make it safe by being here together."

She works with Seattle Neighborhood Group, a non-profit that specifically focuses on crimes that affect youth. She says the group has done independent research that identified the 9200 block of Rainier Avenue, near the Safeway where Sunday's shooting took place, as one of five hot spots for crime in the Rainier Beach area.

She says that's why holding a National Night Out event at that location was so important. Longtime Rainier Beach resident Pat Smith agrees.

"We need to have more events like this. You know, pull together and try to clean up the community," said Smith. "It's always sirens and policeman all the time in this area. That's all I hear, all day and night."

In addition to community members, Seattle police officers and Mayor Ed Murray were on-hand at the event in Rainier Beach.

Meanwhile, anyone with information about the gunman in Sunday's shooting in the Safeway parking lot is urged to call Seattle Police. 

Neighbors say they're just relieved no one was hurt in that shooting.


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