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Rainier Beach Safeway Shopping Center Violence: What You Need to Know

The Rainier Beach Safeway Shopping Center parking lot has become a haven for criminal activity thanks to a complete lack of security to protect customers. In one of the most recent incidents, which occurred on July 28, 2023, five people were shot, including two members of a Safe Passage Team. The Safe Passage Team had been providing pop-up resources weekly to the community for three years without incident.

The attorneys at PCVA believe that community members and customers deserve a safe place to shop. Those parties responsible for the safety of the Rainer Beach Safeway Shopping Center are clearly not doing their jobs. They know about the danger of shootings in the parking lot, shootings that pose a substantial risk of harm to bystanders patronizing the lot for business purposes.

PCVA attorneys Darrell Cochran and Kevin Hastings have filed a lawsuit against several parties who we believe are responsible for ensuring the safety of the parking lot. You can read more about our case below. If you have been injured due to the ongoing violence occurring in the Rainier Beach Safeway Shopping Center parking lot, please reach out so that we can learn more about your case.

What is the Rainier Beach Safeway Shopping Center lawsuit about?

Christopher Wilson was shot and killed in the Rainier Beach Safeway Shopping Center parking lot on May 23, 2020. PCVA is representing the estate of Mr. Wilson in the pursuit of justice for this act of violence. We believe that responsible parties were negligent in ensuring the safety of the parking lot, which resulted in the death of Mr. Wilson, a death that could have been prevented if the defendants in the case had worked to protect shopping center patrons.

Does the Rainier Beach Safeway Shopping Center parking lot have a history of crime?

According to the lawsuit, violence and shootings were not new to the Safeway parking lot, which is located at the 9200 block of Rainier Avenue South. Scores of crimes, including assault, shootings, murders, prowls, robberies, theft and intoxication had occurred in the parking lot over the years prior to May 2020.

Were those responsible aware of the dangers in the shopping center’s parking lot?

We believe so. For example, in December 2018, the Seattle Police Department documented that the area around the Safeway parking lot and associated liquor store “continues to attract and promote criminal activity.” The police documented that the owners and/or managers of both the Safeway and the liquor store were aware of the criminal activity.

Later, in March 2019, a Seattle Fire Department lieutenant shared his increasing concern with active drug dealing and liquor violations on the premises, creating a “chaotic atmosphere making the surrounding shopping complex unsafe.” Seattle Fire Department management echoed his statement.

On January 30, 2020, the Seattle Police Department formally identified the area surrounding the liquor store as host to a history of public safety issues constituting “Chronic Illegal Activity” under RCW 66.24.010(12), including a pervasive pattern of illegal activity dating back to 2015. The Seattle Police Department report detailed that in recent years “the community safety risk at Rainier has become especially concerning, both in volume and nature,” with 89 dispatch events in 2019 that included “multiple shootings, numerous assaults and fights, numerous liquor violations, at least one DUI, at least one sex offense, and various other miscellaneous disturbances.”

There are other examples that reflect that the shopping center is a known magnet for crime and a significant safety issue, which we have detailed in our lawsuit.

Have other violent crimes occurred on the site of the Rainier Beach Safeway Shopping Center?

Yes. For example, in May 2019, two groups of young males, including teens, entered the liquor store, got into a fist fight and began shooting. Multiple victims suffered gunshot wounds while in the liquor store premises.

In December 2019, a shooting occurred during a candlelight vigil in the center’s parking lot. The vigil was for a male murdered two days prior. Seattle Police Department officers witnessed a shootout, with a crowd of people dispersing in every direction and vehicles fleeing the scene.

What should I do if I have been a victim of crime at the Rainier Beach Safeway Shopping Center?

PCVA’s experienced attorneys are currently representing people who have been victims of violent crime that occurred on the premises of the Rainier Beach Safeway Shopping Center and parking lot. Our goal is to hold accountable those responsible for ensuring the safety of patrons and to enact justice for those who have suffered violence due to the negligence of those responsible for patron safety.

If you or someone you know have been the victim of violence on the premises of the Rainier Beach Safeway Shopping Center, please contact us by completing our online form.