David Ryder / Reuters

Two dead, three wounded in Seattle homeless shooting

Seattle police say the victims lived at ‘the Jungle’ encampment; authorities believe shooting was ‘very targeted’

Two people were killed and three others wounded as shooting erupted Tuesday night at a Seattle homeless encampment known as “The Jungle,” officials said.

Police responded to reports of shots fired at about 7:15 p.m. near Airport Way South and South Atlantic Street south of downtown. They did a search of the wooded area and found five victims, police said.

Officials with the King County Medical Examiner's Office on Wednesday afternoon identified the dead as Jeannine L. Brooks, 45, and James Q. Tran, 33. Both died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Assistant Seattle Police Chief Bob Merner said at a Tuesday night news conference the victims lived at the encampment. He said of the shooting that police "have reason to believe it was very targeted."

No one has been arrested. Police are searching for two people they say are "persons of interest" in the case.

"We are working furiously to identify a suspect," said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole.

No other details of the shooting and how it occurred were immediately available. According to local media, The Jungle has been a homeless encampment for decades.

Police said an unidentified woman died at the scene.

Four others who were hurt were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said that a man brought in at 7:50 p.m. also died.

Two women and a man, ranging in age from 25 to 45, were in surgery Tuesday night, Gregg said. She said their gunshot wounds were to the chest, abdomen and back.

A year ago, there were 2,800 unsheltered homeless people identified in Seattle during the One Night Count.

At a press conference addressing homelessness Tuesday night, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray called the shooting an active crime scene and urged people to stay away from the area.

Murray and King County Executive Director Dow Constantine declared a state of emergency regarding homelessness in November, pledging more than $7 million to address the crisis

On Tuesday night, he delivered a live televised speech amid public outcry over the continued rise in the city’s homeless population.

“I hear your frustrations, and I share them. I know we are not always getting it right,” he said in the Seattle Channel speech from Mary’s Place, a shelter for women and families, according to The Seattle Times. “But the fact is, we are in the midst of a growing national crisis of homelessness. People are dying on our streets. We are working on a complex problem in real time. I ask that you work with us, so that we can create positive change.”

Homeless people and their advocates have complained the city is closing unauthorized encampments without warning despite the lack of shelter beds, the Seattle Times reported.

Officials said police would remain in the area overnight and would also check on other homeless encampments.

Al Jazeera and The Associated Press

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