Donnie Chin, executive director of the International District Emergency Center (IDEC), passed away July 23, after being shot before 3 a.m. at 8th Ave. S. between S. Lane St. and Weller St. in the Chinatown International District. Chin’s service in the I.D. was usually a one-man show, patrolling in the ID. For the past decade, he was able to organize a board and recruit volunteers to assist him in his patrol and provide security service for community events.
There was not only grief but an outpouring of anger at a community meeting July 23 at the Bush-Asia Center, demanding to know why the shooting occurred. Community leaders demanded justice and answers.
What we know: The front of Chin’s red Chevrolet SUV was found smashed and next to a wall in the middle of 8th Ave. The left side of his car had five shots. The driver’s side and passenger window were broken with glass everywhere. The car also had a flat tire caused by a bullet.
Chin just celebrated his 60th birthday. The day before, he was joking and grilling in Canton Alley at one of his regular BBQs, according to his friend, Sharon Maeda.
He is survived by two sisters, one in Seattle and one in Hawaii. He wasn’t married. The Asian Weekly honored Donnie and helped fundraise for IDEC several times over the past two decades. Many stunned community members called the Weekly throughout the day to confirm the death of Donnie Chin.
Public and elected officials including representatives from the police and fire department were at the community meeting to answer questions from the public. Friends, community, and residents city-wide filled Legacy Hall and Hing Hay Park in Chinatown. It was standing-room only, with many in tears. Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim moderated the discussion, which included statements from those who were mourning, to those who were outraged about the violence in the community.
Currently, the investigation about the shooting is ongoing and unclear. However, police officials provided this information:
Approximately 2:50 a.m. July 23, there were multiple calls to 911 about shootings. Officers and a civilian passerby helped assist Chin to Harborview, but Chin passed before reaching the hospital. There is extensive forensic testing underway. There were multiple shots, indicating a probability of multiple shooters, but this is not confirmed.
Although there are many questions left unanswered, it is clear that Chin was much loved and revered in Seattle, not just in the International District.
There will be a candlelight vigil at Hing-Hay Park on Sunday, July 26 at 9 p.m. There will also be a bbq at Sun May restaurant on Tuesday, July 26, at 6 p.m. Bbq information is available on Facebook page, “thank you donnie chin.”
Protest/walk honoring Donnie
Friday, July 24, 11pm
8th and Lane
Vigil for Donnie
Sunday, July 26
8pm gathering, 9pm speeches and vigil
Tuesday, July 28, 6pm
Please send us your thoughts, memories, stories, and photos about Chin. Tell us how you want to honor Donnie, who did so much for the I.D. and the Asian community.
johnny chan says
i know donnie from way back in the days, precisely around the late 1970’s. he saw something in me that i made him wanted to recruit me as his assistant. throughout the decades, donnie had taught me so much about his profession as well as learning about the tough streets that no books can teach. all the years from rainy to sunny, we just talk about his memory of what chinatown once were. he always emphasized that the words from someone who has been there is something no books can teach you. it was a tough love kind of relationship. although i resisted from wanting to dive in to his profession, he never wavered in teaching me all he knows. being a key latch kid living in chinatown, he took in many kids off the streets to participate in an after school tutoring session. i am so grateful for what he provided me along with many other amenities. i considered him to be a father figure as well as a brother i never had growing up. during those times, he took me under his wing, we patrolled daily, nightly. whether it is a normal routine detox call or just hanging out, i always called idec as a second home. lastly, i can say that every kid that came through his watch will always remember this man for all that he has given to us. you can never put a price on the little things, so i want to say thank you.