According to the Renton Police Department, five people were shot near the intersection of West Valley Highway and South 180th Street in Kent, Washington around 1:15 am Sunday morning.
Upon arrival, responding officers found hundreds of illegal street racers and spectators standing in the intersection and located five men with gunshot wounds who were then transferred to local hospitals in unknown conditions, police said.
The incident was captured on video and posted to the Instagram account Seattle Submissions, which shows hundreds of delinquents running to safety as shots poured out in the background at the Kent Speedway.
Komo News reports that the five men shot on Sunday morning were "from surrounding cities."
On Friday night, video captured another shooting at the Kent Speedway as illegal street racers terrorized the greater-Seattle city all weekend long.
The video posted to Seattle Submissions shows a group of people hovering around a gunshot victim while the street racers are seen "tearing up" the speedway in the background.
"Back up! Back up!" the crowd is shouting as a group of spectators comfort the victim, while tires can be heard doing burn-outs in the background.
Police officers with the Kent Police Department told The Post Millennial that delinquents are taking advantage of Washington state's police reform laws that prevent officers from conducting vehicle pursuits, leading to an increase in illegal activity at the Kent Speedway.
"Our hands are pretty much tied when it comes to racing," an officer told The Post Millennial. "Even when we respond, the racers, due to their sheer quantities, overpower us and it puts our officers into dangerous situations and at risk of being attacked or surrounded."
"We get calls for service to 'clear the lots' and the most we can really do is drive by with our lights on and hope they congregate elsewhere. If we do try to take enforcement action, the new laws forbidding us to pursue for lower-level crimes just emboldens the racers to elude," the officer explained. "It is to the point where communities, businesses, and police are frustrated and being victimized by the racers."
"After the shooting Saturday night, our detective unit spent over 14 hours processing the crime scene and investigating, only to be met with hostile witnesses and subjects shot who won't provide a statement," they said. "Unfortunately all we, the police, can do is wait for something to happen and respond to clean up the mess."
A shocking video posted by one of the illegal street racers on Instagram in April showed the individual mocking police officers as he sped past their vehicles doing donuts, nearly hitting them in the process.
Emergency responders with local fire departments also report being frustrated with the illegal street activity and warned the community that the street races are preventing them from responding to emergency life-saving calls.
The Renton Firefighters Union, which neighbors the city of Kent, released a statement and said that individuals participating in the illegal street activity are treating firefighters responding to calls at the speedway in a hostile manner, which is preventing them from providing lifesaving aid.
"They were driving through the scene [and] they were stopped by a crowd of individuals that were standing in the road and then there were people jumping onto our apparatus while it was in motion, which is dangerous," Andrew Plumlee, president of Renton Firefighters IAFF Local 864, told Komo News.
"When we can’t get through there it's a problem, and it provides an unsafe environment for our responders and also the patients that we're trying to get to the hospital," Plumlee explained.
The Renton Firefighters Union posted about Friday's shooting on Twitter and encouraged residents to contact their legislators to demand that they change the police reform laws.
"Hundreds of street racers gather in Kent at East Valley Hwy and 180th every weekend. On 05/19 Renton E314 was caught in the crowd and put our safety on the line. SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE. Contact your city and ask what they are doing to support our police so this behavior ends," the union wrote.
The Democrat-controlled Washington state's sweeping police reform laws took effect in July 2021, preventing law enforcement officials from conducting police pursuits. Republican legislators introduced a bill in January that would have 'fixed' the police pursuit laws, but the Democrat-majority House and Senate shot it down despite law enforcement agencies across the state warning about the consequences.
According to responding law enforcement, no suspects have been arrested in connection to the two shootings that happened on both Friday and Saturday. Anyone with information on the investigation can call the Kent Police Department at the non-emergency hotline: (253) 856-5800.
The Post Millennial reached out to Washington State Governor Inslee's Office for comment.
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