On Saturday, March 12 a man living close to the Othello Playground located off the corner of South Othello Street and 45 Avenue South dialed 911 at 7:14 p.m. to report a group of teenage to early-20s men fighting in the park.
Some minutes passed and the caller dialed the police again, stating he heard an indeterminate number of shots fired and witnessed several black males running away from the playground area soon after the rounds rang out.
With the incident taking place within a half a mile of Seattle's South Precinct Police Station, officers arrived on the scene quickly and discovered the body of Jason Lee Jennings laying face down in the grass near the basketball court. Seattle Fire Department personnel were called in to help, and they pronounced Jennings dead at the scene around 7:30 p.m. According to the King County Medical Examiner's office, a single gunshot wound to his head killed the 22-year-old African American man, who lived in a South 334th Street apartment in Federal Way.
Seattle Police Department media relations officer Scott Moss confirmed Jennings murder and said his case is currently being handled by the department's homicide and crime scene investigative units. While sparse in details at this point, Moss did note that detectives determined there were several handguns involved in the incident due to the number and variety of shell casings found at the scene.
Moss also said several neighbors in the area placed 911 calls about the disturbance before the gunfight broke out. Several of these callers stated that the group of young men was playing basketball together before the murderous mayhem erupted after dark.
In addition to several people calling 911 from nearby the park, officers were able to interview two witnesses at the scene. The first is a 25-year-old African American man living in Federal way. The second is a 21-year-old, African American man residing in Kent. Their statements are part of an ongoing investigation and have not been released.
As this issue went to press, there are currently no suspects in custody, according to Moss.
Before Jennings' murder, the last reported homicide documented by the SPD in the South End occurred on Jan. 16. During this incident a mother shook her 19-month-old baby boy to death.[[In-content Ad]]