Auburn woman begs city to act on frequent gunfire

“I appreciate the pressure that you, our mayor and our council have put on state and county officials, but it’s just not enough.”

In Diana Johnson’s neighborhood, gunfire is common.

And as the Auburn woman told city leaders Monday evening, July 1, during the part of the council meeting when members of the public can voice their opinions: it’s past time for the City of Auburn to do something about the violence.

“I have tried really hard to trust that the leaders of our city are doing everything they can to make Auburn a safe place to live. But I also keep hearing promises and reasons why it is what it is and can’t be changed,” Johnson said.

Johnson, a member of Auburn’s Police Advisory Committee since 2020, said she knows how hard Police Chief Mark Caillier and the entire department are working.

“I know about the challenges, the legislation, the lack of prosecution, the judges letting people go,” Johnson said. “I appreciate the pressure that you, our mayor and our council have put on state and county officials, but it’s just not enough, and we need you to stop focusing on what you can’t do, and start focusing on what you can do. And if you don’t know what that is, please say that,” Johnson said. “Let’s all work together on it. I am begging you to focus on making Auburn the safest city in Washington.”

To bring it home to official ears, Johnson played a video clip that her home security system captured recently that recorded the stark reports of gunfire near her home in the 2100 block of F Street Southeast. And that clip, she said, was one of many videos she has captured recently of shootings in her area.

But it was the shooting that broke out — six doors down from her home — in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 29, coupled with the city’s seeming inability to do anything about it, that compelled her to speak up.

Here is a summation of what happened, according to the Auburn Police Department and Johnson.

According to Auburn police, King County paramedics transported a 15-year-old boy to Harborview Medical Center with a gunshot wound near the right eye, and took his 16-year-old neighbor to a local hospital with a leg wound. As of July 2, both boys were listed in stable condition and were recovering.

The Auburn Police Department has pulled videos and photographs from the scene and is following up on leads, but cannot confirm how many suspects may have been involved. As of July 2, Kolby Crossley, public information officer for the Auburn Police Department, could not confirm any other injuries.

The investigation is ongoing and no motive for the shootings has been revealed.

“A lot of people are wondering about whether it’s gang-related,” said Crossley. “We can’t confirm that. We don’t know. It’s just a good thing they’re both stable and recovering.”

That it keeps happening is all too much for Johnson, and she left city leaders to contemplate the June 29 attack from a personal perspective.

“I want you to imagine that this is your child, or your nephew [who] was walking with friends and was suddenly shot at 40 times. Imagine your friend shot in the leg or your child shot just below the eye, in the back and in the thigh. Imagine the terror that they feel crawling home to you for help, leaving a trail of blood behind them. Imagine trying to figure out what’s going on because they can’t talk. Calling 911 and thinking it’s a really bad nosebleed. Imagine that they’re stable in the ICU, and you rush home to clear up the blood all over your house so their siblings won’t see it,” Johnson said.

The city declined comment on this story, except to invite Johnson to speak to Police Chief Caillier.