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 shooting Tuesday evening, 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 morning.
Officials with the King County Medical Examiner's Office identified a 45-year-old woman killed as Jeannine L. Zapata, who is also known by the last name Brook. They identified the man killed as James Q. Tran, 33.
No arrests have been made. Police said they believe the shooters weren't homeless but were acquainted with the victims.
Investigators believe the shooting was a dispute involving low-level drug dealing, O'Toole said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
It was the second fatal attack at a homeless camp in Seattle 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.
Police hope to interview the three survivors at Harborview Medical Center, where they underwent surgery for gunshot wounds to their upper bodies.
The conditions of the three people wounded by gunfire continue to improve, Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said.
The two women shot are breathing on their own and remain in serious condition in intensive care, Gregg said Wednesday in a news release. The male victim underwent another surgery Wednesday, and his condition remains serious, she said.
The names of the injured victims have not been released. They range from 25 to 45 years old.
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com