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Saturday, September 23, 2023
Sept. 23, 2023

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After shootings and new threats, Seattle’s Garfield High cancels in-person classes


SEATTLE — Seattle’s Garfield High School will close its campus Friday “out of an abundance of caution” after three recent nearby shootings, the school’s principal announced Thursday in an email to parents.

None of the shootings involved students, but they did prompt increased security on campus, according to the Seattle Police Department and previous statements from Principal Tarance Hart.

The school closed early Thursday, with police officers on campus and in the neighborhood “due to threats that appeared to be related to dismissal time and after school,” Hart wrote, without providing additional details about the threats.

“Please know that I take safety in our buildings very seriously,” Hart wrote. Classes will be online Friday, with a two-hour late start.

After-school events and weekend activities have also been canceled. The Garfield Teen Life Center, a city-owned facility near the campus, is also closed Friday, the email to parents notes.

The most recent shooting happened last Friday night near the Teen Life Center. Officers found a man who had been shot and a semiautomatic handgun near 25th Avenue and East Jefferson Street, according to police. The man was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

The first in this string of shootings happened May 18 as Garfield’s track and softball teams were practicing on campus, according to Hart. A 19-year-old man, who was not a Garfield student, was found with gunshot wounds in the parking lot of the Teen Life Center, according to police. He was hospitalized with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

Students practicing nearby sheltered in school buildings until police arrived and cleared the scene, Hart said in a previous statement.

On May 24, just after 5:30 p.m. at 26th Avenue and East Jefferson Street, police said they found casings and a bullet hole in a parked vehicle. No victims were found.

Police later learned a juvenile who had been shot was dropped off at a nearby hospital. Police said he was not a student at Garfield, and was in stable condition.

In the Thursday email to parents, Hart encouraged anyone with information to contact the Seattle Police Department. The agency’s Safe Schools Hotline phone number is 206-252-0510.