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Piroshky Piroshky closing downtown Seattle location over 'countless safety concerns'

A man was shot and killed in downtown Seattle Sunday afternoon. The owner of Piroshky Piroshky say it's the third shooting in a month.

SEATTLE — Seattle's popular Piroshky Piroshky Bakery is closing its Third Avenue location in downtown "until further notice" over "countless safety concerns."

Following a fatal shooting Sunday afternoon at Third Avenue and Pine Street, the bakery sent a series of tweets detailing problems with crime in the area. 

"It's normal to see that almost every single day," said Piroshky Piroshky owner Olga Sagan.

The shooting on Sunday was the third in the area in a month, according to the bakery.

The shooting occurred shortly before 12:30 p.m. Officers found a man with gunshot wounds in the 200 block of Pine Street. The victim died at the scene, according to Seattle police.

Members of the Seattle Police Department's Crime Scene Investigation Unit responded to collect evidence and process the scene. 

Homicide detectives are also investigating. 

Sagan said the most recent problems, including Sunday's shooting, compelled her to close the location for the safety of her employees and for customers.

"Today's shooting was at 1 p.m. in the middle of Sunday, in the middle of downtown. There's tourists and families, and it's just becoming normalized. And it absolutely makes me very, very angry," Sagan said.

Mayor Bruce Harrell's office sent the following statement regarding the violence downtown: 

"Mayor Harrell believes everyone in Seattle deserves to feel safe – continued gun violence and crime are unacceptable for downtown residents and businesses. The mayor frequently hears from neighbors and small businesses about public safety challenges. He understands and is acting on the urgency for needed change to ensure residents see downtown as a safe and thriving neighborhood for everyone.  

"Mayor Harrell is working closely with Chief Diaz and SPD to develop and implement additional strategies addressing crime downtown. Replicating promising early results from 12th and Jackson requires concentrated effort to show noticeable improvement in the short term and a comprehensive approach in the long term -- integrating social services, community engagement, economic activation, and more.  

"The mayor is continuing to advocate for hiring additional SPD officers so that there are adequate staff resources to respond to public safety emergencies, bolster police presence in locations where crime is common, and help reset norms downtown and citywide. Further, he is driving efforts specifically to prevent gun violence, including through community-based solutions, regional coordination, and new technologies."

Sagan said she has yet to have a meeting with Harrell but she said she has met with City Attorney Ann Davison regarding the issues. 

Sagan feels helpless in finding a solution and recalled a time when she called police for assistance at the bakery and waited for 30 minutes before leaving.

"I left very, very disappointed that, you know, we are to the point where criminals now don't even care," Sagan said.

Seattle businesses have become increasingly vocal over crime in the city. The Seattle Police Department recently acknowledged property crime in the downtown core increased in 2021. 

City leaders have requested an audit to help find ways to improve the police department's retail theft program.

Meanwhile, the downtown core saw aggravated assaults increase from 204 in 2020 to 276 in 2021, according to data from the city. There have been 25 reported so far this year. 

A total of 3,290 aggravated assaults were reported in Seattle in 2021, well above the 2,656 reported in 2020. There have been 284 reported so far this year.

Mayor Bruce Harrell previously said his answer to the increase in crime over the course of January and beyond was to direct interim Police Chief Diaz to initially focus on hotspots where crime has been concentrated and to focus on the “relatively few” criminals causing the most harm, especially those using guns.

Harrell promised that these efforts will spread citywide and into Seattle neighborhoods.


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