Police: Shooting at homeless camp not attack on homelessness

Tents are barely visible in the deep shadows under Interstate 5 at the site of a shooting the night before at a homeless encampment, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in Seattle. A homeless man and woman were killed and three other people were wounded when a shooting erupted at the homeless encampment known as 'The Jungle,' authorities said. The victims lived at the encampment where the attack occurred Tuesday evening and investigators "have reason to believe it was very targeted," Assistant Seattle Police Chief Bob Merner said. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE (AP) — A deadly shooting at a Seattle homeless encampment known as “The Jungle” was not prompted by malice against homeless people, the police chief said Wednesday.

A man and woman who lived at the camp were killed in the Tuesday evening shooting and three other victims remained in serious condition.

“We have no evidence that they were targeted because they are homeless,” Chief Kathleen O’Toole told a City Council panel on Wednesday.

No arrests have been made. Police believe the shooters weren’t homeless but were acquainted with the victims.

It was the second fatal attack at a Seattle homeless camp within the past six months. In August, a homeless woman was beaten to death under a bridge and her husband was attacked.

Mayor Ed 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.

“I can’t help but wonder, ‘Did I act too late?'” Murray said after the shooting on Tuesday.

He added that “The Jungle” encampment “has been unmanageable and out of control for almost two decades.”

O’Toole said police officers and social workers have been visiting other nearby homeless camps to reassure people that they are not in danger because of the shooting.

“We’ll get out there again today,” she said Wednesday.

Police hope to interview the three survivors at Harborview Medical Center, where they underwent surgery for gunshot wounds to their upper bodies.

The names of the victims were not released. They range from 25 to 45 years old.

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