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Downtown Seattle employees call out city hall to improve safety after shooting

Businesses and employees said they have dealt with violence and fear for some time, and last week's shooting near Westlake brought concerns to the forefront.

SEATTLE — Frustrated downtown Seattle business owners and workers addressed the City Council on Tuesday, saying they don't feel safe with the frequent crime. 

Those same employees said the issue has been ongoing for some time, but the problem was put into a new light after the shooting in downtown Seattle that left one dead and seven others injured. 

Michaela Louvain Raetzer said she was attacked inside her family's business, Steepologie at Fourth and Stewart, just last week.

"You never expect someone to lash out at you," said Louvain Raetzer. She was seen on surveillance footage getting attacked by a woman who was harassing customers.

"She punched me, scratched me, was all up in my face, it was bad," she said.

Sabrina Villanueava manages the building where the alleged attack happened, and she brought up the incident in front of the City Council. 

"We have it on video, and they deal with this every single day. It is getting worse. It is not getting better," said Villanueva.

Jim Rowe, the owner of Metropolitan Grill in downtown Seattle, also addressed city leaders. 

"I talk to a lot of guests. I talk to a lot of people, and I constantly hear that people do not feel safe coming downtown," said Rowe.

RELATED: Community calls for safer streets after latest shooting in downtown Seattle

Patrick Foley of Lake Union Partners said his group invested in the State Hotel project as a way to improve Second Avenue and Pike Street. Instead, ever since opening last March, he says they have dealt with several problems.

"We have people run into the restaurant throwing things, making a scene, coming into our lobby, going to the bathroom on the windows," said Foley.

Villanueava told city councilmembers, "we are really asking you to address the prolific offenders." 

Many attended the Tuesday morning meeting because of the recent shooting downtown that left one woman dead and several others injured

"What happened last week at Third and Pine was completely unacceptable," said Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.

Police are still searching for suspects William Toliver and Marquise Tolbert, two men who have at least 65 past arrests between them.

"If anything positive comes out of the horrific events of last week, is that it serves as a wake-up call," said Rowe.

Best said the department is looking into putting up a facility downtown that will have resources from the police department and other city agencies. 

Currently, the city has moved in a mobile precinct into the downtown area.

The department is also deploying high visibility foot and bike beats. Command staff will also spend at least three hours a week downtown.

RELATED: Bail increased for suspect involved in deadly downtown Seattle shooting