By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
A man is recovering at Harborview Medical Center after he was shot multiple times in the backseat of a car in the parking lot of a hookah lounge in the International District on August 23rd. Galma Adam Waqo, 21, is being charged with First Degree Attempted Murder for his involvement in the shooting. Waqo’s arraignment hearing is set for September 9th at the King County Courthouse according to the Prosecutor’s office.
On August 23rd, Jamal Rashad Woods-Hall received gunshot wounds to the head and torso allegedly from Waqo and another individual. Woods-Hall survived the shooting despite initial reports and charging papers which indicate he passed away. Woods-Hall was with his girlfriend and her sister on the night of the shooting.
The three had been at Skyway Bowl earlier in the night and were dropping a friend off at a hookah lounge near Boren Avenue and S. Main St. around 3:00 a.m. in the morning. One of the females had to use the restroom and got out of the car for a brief time. When she returned, there were three males that approached the car on the passenger side. The males were dressed in “hoodies” with the hoods pulled up. She identified two of the three suspects. One was Waqo and the other was believed to be Tony “TC” Nguyen, an “Asian/Black male in his 20’s”
according to police records.
The men reportedly asked the front passenger if he was from Tukwila and he said no. Woods-Hall was in the back seat asleep. When he awoke, he was asked if he was from Tukwila. Woods-Hall indicated that he was from Tukwila.
The three told Woods-Hall to get out of the car but he refused. The suspects reportedly yelled, “Holly Park!” and then started firing at the car with handguns. According to Seattle Police, there were more than 30 shell casings recovered from within 20 feet of the driver’s side of the vehicle. Seattle Police deduced, based on the ammunition, that there were only two shooters.
Waqo was arrested in Yesler Terrace later that night. When interviewed by police officers he claimed he was at other hookah bars in Burien and downtown and then changed his story claiming he was “at a bar in Chinatown.” He first denied being involved in the shooting but changed his story multiple times about the shooting finally stating that he was not the shooter. There is no word if Nguyen and the other individual at the scene have been arrested by Seattle Police.
King County Prosecutors request that bail be set for $1 million despite no criminal history. Waqo was charged in Seattle Municipal Court for possessing stolen property, forgery, and attempted theft. Records indicate that he did not show up for a hearing in that case. However, prosecutors state that the defendant “is a certain danger to community safety.” Prosecutors cite to Waqo’s bold act of shooting Woods-Hall as the reason.
The shooting is another example of the issues voiced by community members that have lobbied for the closure of hookah lounges in the city in the wake of the death of Donnie Chin. A community safeguard, Chin was shot in the early morning hours of July 23rd in the International District. On August 3rd, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced that the city would “step up” enforcement against smoking lounges which would have effectively closed all hookah lounges in the city since smoking is prohibited indoors in Seattle. However, Mayor Murray backed off the decision to close down the hookah lounges amid protests from hookah lounge business owners, patrons and supporters. (See related story.) (end)