‘It’s better, but it’s still bad:’ Crime affects businesses in downtown Seattle

ByShannon J. Cortes

Aug 9, 2022

Downtown Seattle business owners are feeling the effects of crime in the area.

A man was attacked by another man swinging a metal rod last week, but died of the injuries over the weekend.

The attack happened on 3rd Avenue and Pike Street, an area notorious for drugs and violence. Seattle police deployed a mobile enclosure nearby to deter criminals. The attack happened at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, surrounded by strangers and police officers who witnessed the incident.

While some people who live and work in the area say they have seen an improvement when it comes to criminal activity, some say more needs to be done.

“My job has gone from helping people try on clothes to helping people try on clothes and becoming a bouncer,” said retail worker Erica Loendorf.

She gets a front-row view of what’s going on in downtown Seattle as she works at a clothing store.

“It’s better, but it’s still bad,” she said.

The surveillance video shows the hard part of his job. Loendorf shared footage that showed her removing troublemakers from the store and sometimes chasing would-be shoplifters. Loendorf says she’s been punched in the face by strangers twice this year alone, but she loves her job.

“I get a really good deal on really good clothes,” she said.

Just down the block, a mobile Seattle police precinct makes cop visibility unmistakable. Still, last Tuesday, a vicious attack a block from 3rd Avenue and Pine Street seriously injured 66-year-old Rodney Peterman.

Court documents allege Aaron Justin Fulk, 48, used a metal object to hit Peterman twice and then a third time when he was unresponsive to the ground. Police were so close they also witnessed the attack and almost immediately arrested Fulk, who allegedly admitted to his crimes, saying in court papers he thought Peterman was “doing the devil’s work”.

In July, the King County District Attorney’s Office said it filed 598 felony cases, totaling about 30 charges filed each business day. The majority of the charges relate to violent or gun crimes and 21% were related to domestic violence. Additionally, felony charges related to firearms and repeat offenders were filed every business day throughout the month.

“It’s clean now,” said Fuikru Kelifa, a bus commuter.

Kelifa says security has improved over the past year. This part of downtown was a place he used to avoid.

“I didn’t even want to drive through downtown,” he said, “it was scary.”

Fulk is a repeat offender, but not from King County. Just eight days before the downtown Seattle attack, Fulk was charged with criminal harassment for allegedly threatening to kill a Pierce County public safety officer.

Fulk was convicted of attempted assault, disorderly conduct, misrepresentation and Idaho.

He remains in the King County Jail on $2.5 million bond.