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After a deadly weekend, King County proposes 'urgent' funding for gun violence prevention

The proposal comes after four people were shot and killed between Thursday and Saturday and others were injured.

KING COUNTY, Wash. — After a weekend of gun violence, King County is proposing an emergency budget amendment to add funds to combat a growing gun violence problem. 

Data shows King County is headed towards a record-breaking year for gun violence. This past weekend was particularly violent. 

Seattle police are investigating in the Central District after a 21-year-old man was shot and killed. Police are also investigating a shooting that killed a man Saturday morning in Pioneer Square.

The King County Sheriff's Department is investigating a shooting in White Center that happened Friday. Two people were killed and two were injured. 

"We have work to do and we've started that work and continue to double-down," said King County Councilmember Joe McDermott. 

McDermott is sponsoring the emergency budget amendment, which was first proposed by King County Executive Dow Constantine. 

"Stopping the gun violence our community witnessed last weekend in the Central District, White Center, and Pioneer Square requires more than just a criminal justice response - it requires the upstream, public health-based interventions we know can help unwind conflict and prevent future tragedies," said Constantine in a news release.

The proposal would add $1.47 million towards the county's efforts to curb gun violence. McDermott said it will allow the county to add 10 positions for life coaches and case managers and help fund new research. The proposal says the funds will expand the Regional Peacekeepers Collective, which is part of the county's public health approach and works to prevent youth gun violence. 

"We've already dedicated resources to this and made investments, this is expanding it," said McDermott, "Money isn't going to solve the problem. It's relationships and building community [to] break those cycles of violence." 

According to county data, the number of homicide victims as a result of gun violence was up 36% in the first quarter of 2021. The data says Black, Latinx and Indigenous people were disproportionately impacted as victims, bystanders, and perpetrators. 

McDermott said the county is drafting the final proposal and plans to vote next week. 

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