Seattle breaks all-time high homicide record set in 1994

Seattle Police Officer Guild president Mike Solan previously said that the Emerald City has seen more homicides than hired officers.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
A man who was beaten and stomped on earlier this year in downtown Seattle has died from his injuries to become Seattle’s 70th homicide victim this year, breaking the previous all-time high homicide record set in 1994.

According to the Seattle Police Department, the assault occurred at approximately 11:30 am on June 26 in front of the Morrison Hotel, a homeless facility operated by the embattled Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) on Third Avenue.

KOMO News reported that homicide detectives were notified this week that the victim had died.

On the day of the attack, Seattle police arrested 60-year-old Keenan Byrd, a prolific offender. According to court documents, surveillance video shows Byrd punching the victim twice and then pushing him into the door of the DESC facility.

The video also allegedly shows Byrd walking away from the victim before returning and stomping on him.

Doctors at Harborview Medical Center had to remove part of the victim’s skull, due to brain swelling and bleeding, and placed him on a ventilator in the ICU, according to court documents.

Byrd was booked into the King County jail, and charged with assault, with prosecutors asking the judge to set bail for him at $500,000.

The Seattle police recorded the deadly assault as the 69th homicide of 2023, tying the annual homicide record set in 1994. The Emerald City flew past 2022’s homicide record of 57 earlier this year, which was the highest seen in a quarter century.

However, the official police tally does not record the murder of the unborn child of Eina Kwan as an official homicide.

Kwan was eight months pregnant when she was shot and killed while in a car with her husband stopped at an intersection in downtown Seattle in June. Her husband was also shot in the attack and survived.

However, according to Seattle Homicide, another homicide notched the tally up to 71 including the unborn child, removing all doubt about the homicide record.

Seattle Police Officer Guild president Mike Solan previously said that the Emerald City has seen more homicides than hired officers.

The spike in homicides followed a massive exodus of 600 police officers from the department since the City Council began defunding the department in 2020. As a result, Seattle has been operating below the recommended safe police coverage for a city of its size, and crime has skyrocketed.

In a statement regarding the record-breaking homicide total, Democrat Mayor Bruce Harrell claimed in a statement to Fox 13 that his failed efforts at recruiting officers were not working and blamed "gun violence," even though many of the homicides were stabbings.
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