A handgun left at the scene of a botched robbery attempt on S.W. Avalon Way in West Seattle on April 1. According to police, the robber and victim were both armed and shot at each other.
UPDATE: Monday night shooting victims linked to single West Seattle armed robbery attempt; One man arrested
Shooting victim identified, fundraisers set up to help pay medical bills
Update for April 6
The victim of a bungled robbery attempt in West Seattle who shot back at his attacker on April 1 is still at Harborview Hospital recovering from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest, and has been identified by Capitol Hill Seattle Blog as Rick Powell.
CHSB reports Powell works as a driver for Black Crown car service and is "a well known character in the Capitol Hill music and nightlife scene..."
For more information, including links to fundraisers to help Powell pay for his medical bills, please check out CHSB's coverage.
Original post on April 4
Two men were sent to the hospital from West Seattle with multiple gunshots wounds on the night of April 1, and one of them is now in jail for first degree assault and violating his Department of Corrections supervision after just being released from a Yakima prison, according to Seattle Police.
On the night of the shootings, it was at first unclear whether the two shooting victims were linked. Calls came in shortly after 11:30 p.m. that a 27-year-old man in was in critical condition on Avalon Way S.W. after getting shot in the chest several times. There were reports of a light colored sedan and two males fleeing the scene. Not too long after, a second call came in that a victim had been shot several times on the 5600 block of Delridge Way S.W. A similar looking vehicle was spotted at that location, but police were unwilling to comment on a clear connection that night.
After 24 hours of investigation, the narrative changed.
According to Jonah Spangenthal-Lee with SPD, the 27-year-old victim (who was shot several times in the chest but is still alive at Harborview Hospital) was a driver-for-hire who pulled his Cadillac over near the intersection of S.W. Charlestown St. and S.W. Avalon Way to smoke a cigarette.
A vehicle with 19-year-old Juan Carlos Garcia-Mendez drove by at that moment, and pulled over. According to police, Garcia-Mendez allegedly stepped out, walked up to the driver-for-hire, and shoved a handgun into his chest with the intent to rob.
“The victim—who had a concealed weapon permit—drew his own gun, but Garcia-Mendez opened fire, striking the 27-year-old man several times in the chest … the victim fired off several shots of own, hitting Garcia-Mendez in the hand and hip,” Spangenthal-Lee wrote.
Police said Garcia-Mendez fled the scene as police and medics arrived to perform life-saving measures on the victim.
10 minutes later, according to SPD, Garcia-Mendez’s girlfriend called from Delridge Way to report he had been shot. He refused to tell police how or where he was shot. Both men were taken to Harborview Hospital for treatment.
“Police had found blood in Garcia-Mendez’s car, but with the victim in surgery, no witnesses, and a mum Garcia-Mendez, detectives at the time, didn’t yet have enough evidence to arrest Garcia-Mendez,” according to SPD.
Investigating further, they found Garcia-Mendez was on DOC supervision in Yakima after being recently released from prison for burglary and robbery convictions. He had left Yakima without permission, and DOC officers came to the hospital to supervise him during treatment.
Meanwhile, according to Spangenthal-Lee, police were able to positively identify Garcia-Mendez as the shooter from surveillance video. During the Herald’s coverage on the night of the shooting, the owner of British Auto Center opened his business and let detectives in to evaluate his surveillance.
King County jail records show Garcia-Mendez was booked for first degree assault on Tuesday, April 2 with a preliminary bail amount listed at $1 million. Charges from the King County Prosecutor’s Office will likely be filed in the coming days, and the charge could change to homicide if the 27-year-old victim does not survive.
For more photos from the crime scenes in our initial report, please click here.