A downtown Seattle bakery closes, citing excessive crime, after a fatal shooting on Sunday

ByShannon J. Cortes

Feb 27, 2022

It wasn’t just Sunday’s fatal shooting that led Olga Sagan to close her Piroshky Piroshky bakery in downtown Seattle.

Last week, someone was shot and injured near the location of the bakery near Third Avenue and Pike Street, Sagan said. When she tried to open the store on Saturday, she found people using drugs at the entrance who refused to budge. Private security couldn’t get them to move. She called the police, she said, but no one answered. The store, which serves traditional Russian pastries, remained closed.

On Sunday afternoon, a man was shot dead near the bakery block. It was then that Sagan told employees she was closing the bakery and would try to find them jobs in other locations, adding that she hoped to reopen when it was safe.

“How many shootings do we have to have to realize this is an active emergency in downtown Seattle?” she said in an interview. “The downtown streets have been abandoned by the government,” she said, “and given over to criminal activity.”

The Seattle Police Department did not comment on Sagan’s concerns Sunday night.

Police detectives were investigating the Sunday shooting death of a man near Third Avenue and Pine Street. Officers found the man with multiple gunshot wounds around 12:30 p.m., Detective Valerie Carson said.

“Seattle Fire Department officers and medics both attempted to save lives, but the man was pronounced deceased at the scene,” she said, adding that she had no other information about the crime.

For Sagan, crime along downtown Third Avenue has become a more frequent and serious concern since the reopening of downtown Piroshky Piroshky last September. Business at the restaurant’s location in Pike Place Market, which remains open, has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, she said. Third Avenue store sales were down about 85%.

Sagan emphasized that his concern was with crime, not homelessness, and that criminal activity alone drove his decision to close. “I really don’t want to wait for my employees to get shot or for my customers to get shot,” she said. “I think it’s not overdone right now.”

In early February, Sagan invited Ann Davison, Seattle’s newly elected city attorney, to accompany him on his walk to and from work. She prefers the route with more street litter which has more security and lighting.

“It’s safer, but still, it’s still drug use and people yelling at you no matter how you walk,” she said at the time.

Davison pledged to prosecute misdemeanors more often and faster. Yet even in recent weeks, Sagan said, the level of crime has escalated and she has felt a sense of hopelessness.

“It’s just too dangerous,” Sagan said Sunday.