We are fast approaching the three-year mark since Donnie Chin was murdered in the International District.
The community hero and unofficial patrolman of Chinatown was caught in a crossfire between rival gangs on South Lane Street in the middle of the night on July 23, 2015. He died from his wounds.
And June 27 marked three years since Benito “Benny” Enriquez was killed near Uwajimaya. The 31-year-old father of two girls was beaten in the neighborhood after attending a Kenny Chesney country music concert at CenturyLink Field. Surveillance video captured Benito walking next to a man and woman. A short time later, medics found Benito about 300 feet away at 5th and South Weller with no pulse.
Community activist Frank Irigon said after Enriquez’s murder, “His death highlights the public safety needs of the Chinatown-International District neighborhood.”
Two men killed in our neighborhood, a month apart, and now three years later, both their cases are still unsolved. The community is disappointed and are still waiting for answers.
During a community forum in August 2017, Seattle Police announced it will form a new gang task force which, along with local and federal agencies, will focus specifically on gang-related murders like Chin’s.
Then-Deputy Chief Carmen Best told the community that the Chin investigation is not a cold case.
We had high hopes when she became interim police chief after Kathleen O’Toole resigned, because Best promised us that “justice for Donnie is justice for the whole community.”
Then we were disappointed again when Best wasn’t named one of the top three finalists for the Seattle police chief job under our new mayor, Jenny Durkan. The new chief will likely know nothing about our community.
When she was courting votes ahead of the election, Durkan shared at a debate before the API community what she would do to find the killer of Donnie Chin.
Durkan said, “Number one, I would try to raise the reward, and go to the community and the police, to get a larger reward. Second, we need to put the flyers out, asking for information, in multiple languages. The police believe they know where it came from, these particular gangs. We need to get the flyers out, not just in Asian languages, but in East African languages.
“Third, I would ask that the chief of police brief me within two weeks of becoming mayor, on where they were, and what they were doing, and what their plan was. And then I would communicate with the community.”
Mayor Durkan — you were sworn-in in November. Seven months later, we haven’t forgotten and we are still waiting for answers.