Two men identified by police in Seattle, Washington as suspects in a wild shooting incident that resulted in one death and seven other people being injured reportedly have more than 60 arrests and 35 convictions between them, yet they were packing guns and trading shots; a situation one gun rights leader calls “outrageous.”
“Instead of complaining about guns on the street, why aren’t officials in Seattle and Olympia working to keep people like these two suspects off the street,” demanded Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Coincidentally, CCRKBA is headquartered in Bellevue, a bustling city immediately east of Seattle on the shore of Lake Washington.
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Both suspects fled immediately after the shooting, and it was reported both had outstanding warrants at the time they opened fire. KIRO is reporting that police have identified as suspects in the shooting, and are “known to Seattle police.” Both are 24 years old and both apparently have lengthy criminal histories.
3RD AND PINE UPDATE: Detectives have identified two suspects in yesterday's shooting. Marquise Latrelle Tolbert (age 24, 6'1" 200 lbs) and William Ray Tolliver (age 24, 6'0" 145 lbs). Both men are considered armed and dangerous. Call 911 if you see them or know where they are. pic.twitter.com/vgg7Uez3zN
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) January 23, 2020
Since the incident, the discussion on social media has essentially followed CCRKBA’s reasoning. Local Second Amendment activist Jane Milhans noted on Facebook, “We don’t have a firearm problem in WA, we have a problem with repeat offenders being released and committing crimes over and over again.”
The mass shooting was the third incident over the course of 24 hours reported in Seattle. A day earlier, a man was fatally shot within a couple of blocks of the intersection where the gunfight occurred. Earlier in the day, Seattle police shot a man in the same vicinity.
There was no small irony in the fact that ten days before the shootings, CCRKBA had criticized gun control laws that have failed to prevent violent crime. Indeed, according to available statistics, gun-related crime has actually gone up after the passage of a 2014 gun control initiative (I-594) a “universal background check” mandate, and Seattle’s infamous “gun violence tax” on firearms and ammunition.
In 2016, the city posted a total of 18 homicides, of which 11 were gun-related. The next year, the city reported 27 murders, including 16 involving firearms. In 2018, the number was 32, according to SPD data, and 13 of them involved guns. Last year, Seattle police said, there were 28 slayings, of which 18 involved firearms.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, in 2016, Washington reported 195 total homicides including 127 involving firearms. In 2017, the state posted 228 total slayings including 134 slayings with guns and in 2018 there were 232 murders including 138 committed with firearms.
“In 2014,” Gottlieb recalled, “we opposed Initiative 594 with its so-called ‘universal background checks’ and warned that it would not prevent bad guys from getting guns. A year later, we warned the City of Seattle that adopting a tax on firearms and ammunition would create a false sense of accomplishment, but wouldn’t prevent violent crime, and Wednesday night proved us right on both counts.”
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