Kent mayor calls for change in the face of escalating gun violence – KIRO 7 news Seattle


KENT, Washington – After a series of shootings in Kent, the mayor has asked county officials to help fix the court system.

“[It’s a] Mixture of philosophy and Covid, we do not see people in custody at this stage. And the prosecution system is extremely late, ”said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph.

Ralph said there had to be a collaborative effort between the city, the police department, detention centers, the county attorney’s office and the courts to properly deal with the upsurge in gun violence.

According to the King County District Attorney’s Office, gunfire incidences increased by 25% in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the 2016-2020 average.

The number of victims in these incidents also increased by 27% during the same period, according to the county.

“We see what we have now which is this revolving door of criminal activity and honestly the bad guys are more cheeky because the accountability elements are not there,” Ralph said.

Kent has seen three shootings in four days at the corner of Pacific Highway South and South Kent Des Moines Road.

“Over the past year, there have been so many shootings,” said Yuri, owner of a nearby nail salon.

Yuri was in her living room when she heard gunshots on Wednesday, the first of three shots – officials now believe to be linked to drugs and gang violence.

“My clients are worried. They just texted me the last few days [saying] we are really worried about the area, i just want to cancel my appointment and wait until things improve and i start coming back, ”said Yuri.

She added that she now has pepper spray and locks the door during dates.

According to law enforcement, there have been at least seven shootings in Federal Way, Tacoma, Tukwila and Kent in the past week.

Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell is trying to form a coalition of towns in South King County to speak with one voice to tackle the recent spate of violence.

Ralph said she contacted the King County executive and the county prosecutor to meet and resolve system issues following an arrest.

As of Tuesday, there were no arrests for the three shootings in Kent. Although Ralph told KIRO7, the city believes they are all related and related to drugs or gangs.


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