Police find lots of shell casings, no victims after gunfire in Garfield High School parking lot — UPDATE

Seattle’s 911 dispatch lit up with calls late Thursday afternoon after gunfire in a parking lot at a still busy Garfield High School.

There were no reported injuries in the incident reported just after 4:30 PM and students on campus including a basketball team busy at practice were ordered to shelter in place as police investigated the incident.

According to East Precinct scanner updates, multiple callers reported gunshots and people fleeing the 23rd Ave campus just after 4:30 PM.

Police arrived at the school and found the shooting scene in the parking lot north of the school’s football field on the northeast edge of the campus. A resident at a house a block away from the shooting scene reported a bullet had crashed through their window.

One witness said a gunman who appeared to be a teenager opened fire in the faculty parking lot and appeared to be targeting at least two other teens who fled the area. Police found around 30 shell casings spread around the lot but no signs that anyone had been hit. It was not immediately clear how many guns were involved in the shooting.

Police were in contact with the school principal and were working to get security video of the incident.

The armed teen was last reported fleeing the area eastbound on E Jefferson. Police were also seeking information on a vehicle seen leaving the area around the time of the shooting.

There were no reported immediate arrests.

UPDATE 12/3/2021 8:45 AM: In a message sent to the school’s families late Thursday night, new Garfield principal Dr. Tarance Hart addressed the shooting and confirmed the brief lockdown on campus. Hart says extra security from the district will be in place on the campus Friday and counselors will be available. “I know that this information is troubling and difficult to hear,” Hart writes. “Please take time to talk to your student about the importance of safety and always being aware of their surroundings. It is also important that everyone reports any suspicious activity at all times.” The full message is below.

Dear Garfield Community –

I want to update you on a circumstance that occurred late today near the school campus.

Around 4:30 this afternoon, the sound of several gun shots could be heard on the campus.

No one was hurt or injured. There were some students and some staff still at the school at the time, so we did enter a shelter-in-place protocol. This protocol was lifted after approximately 20 minutes at the direction of the Seattle Police Department.

Seattle Police were called immediately and upon their arrival they did not report finding any suspects. However, an investigation has been opened and the school’s video footage will be shared with SPD should any pertinent evidence be uncovered.

There will be additional personnel from the district’s Safety & Security Department at the campus tomorrow, and we will be continuing to work with Seattle Police as the investigation begins. Counselors also will be available to support students and staff members as needed.

I am available to answer any questions you may have. I know that this information is troubling and difficult to hear. Please take time to talk to your student about the importance of safety and always being aware of their surroundings. It is also important that everyone reports any suspicious activity at all times.

Thanks to students and staff for providing valuable information to Seattle Police.  And I’d like to give a special thanks to staff members who were both helpful and responsive.  We will be updating you as more pertinent information is available to share. But again, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

In Partnership,


Dr. Tarance Hart

UPDATE 12/3/2021 9:45 AM: SPD says the incident is one of five overnight shootings it is investigating around the city.

The SPD update says it appears likely the Garfield incident was a shootout involving at least two people firing guns. “Officers found shell casings near a door on the school’s campus, and another set nearby, likely indicating two people had exchanged gunfire,” the brief on the investigation reads. “Police found evidence the gunmen had fired around three dozen shots in the incident.”

SPD is looking for help investigating the spate of gun violence:

If you have any information about these shootings, or any other details that can help police deter gun violence in our community, please call the SPD Violent Crimes Tip Line at 206-233-5000.


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Police find lots of shell casings, no victims after gunfire in Garfield High School parking lot — UPDATE