Five men shot, injured in Kent at illegal street racing event

Hundreds gathered May 21 at intersection of South 180th Street and East Valley Highway

Five men were shot and injured in Kent during a shooting at large group gathered for illegal street racing early Sunday morning, May 21.

Officers responded at about 1:17 a.m. to the area of South 180th Street and East Valley Highway, according to a May 22 email from Kent Police Assistant Chief Jarod Kasner. That location near the Kent/Renton border has been a gathering area for decades for illegal street racers.

“I can confirm that five adult males from surrounding cities were reported shot during this incident and received medical care from local hospitals,” Kasner said when asked for ages and hometowns of the five men shot.

Kasner said detectives are trying to determine what led to the shootings. No arrests have been made.

“The details surrounding the sequence of events that led up to the shooting are limited at this time as detectives continue their investigation,” Kasner said.

Previous night incident

There also was an illegal discharge call early Saturday morning, May 20 in the same area, according to a Renton Police spokesperson. That also involved a large group of racers who blocked a Renton Regional Fire Authority engine responding to a call.

The Renton Firefighters Union released a statement May 21 on Twitter about the weekend incidents at South 180th Street and East Valley Highway.

“Every weekend hundreds of cars and people gather to drive like maniacs in front of Chevron, Planet Fitness and the 76 station,” according to the union statement. “They line the streets, drift, slide, and circle crowds of people.

“We respond there frequently for car accidents, people who have been hit by cars, and then this weekend, multiple people injured in shooting. There were reports of a shooting Friday and Saturday night, but only the Saturday incident caused a 911 call.”

The union explained what happened to one of its engines.

“One of our fire engines was stopped multiple times the other night while driving to the scene and that is unacceptable and unsafe,” according to the statement. “People threw things at them and tried grabbing the truck which puts our people in harms way.”

Firefighters want changes.

“This has to stop,” according to the union statement. “The city of Renton has done a great job slowing the activities in city limits near Ikea by shutting down roads, turning all the stop lights to flashing reds, and hiring overtime officers to curb the activity. We appreciate all of this.”

Firefighters said they might not respond to future calls in the area.

“Let it be known that we will not respond to a scene that isn’t safe for us to operate in,” the union said. “The unfortunate part of that is lifesaving care has the potential to be delayed.”

The union attached a video to its Twitter post of the activities that happen with illegal street racers, “so all can see and be as upset as we are.”

The union advised that the images on the video are tough to watch at times and it didn’t remove the audio.

“But we are all adults and enough is enough,” the union said.

For decades racers used empty streets late at night to race each other. In the latest incidents, the crowds take over an intersection and drivers spin their vehicle around in the middle of the intersection as some people in the crowd move toward the vehicle to dodge it, according to the video posted by the Renton Firefighters Union.

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