Witnesses of Central District Bar Shooting Recount Horrific Event

Police Outside Twilight Exit/Tom Fuccoloro (CDNews)

Police Outside Twilight Exit/Tom Fucoloro (CDNews)

Last evening shots rang out at the Central District’s Twilight Exit bar, the shooting led to the death of the gunman by Seattle Police. The gunman shot a bouncer, last reported to be in the ICU with a gun-wound to the leg, and a woman who is allegedly the gunman’s ex, suffered multiple gun shot wounds . We have spoken with witnesses who were in the bar at the time of the shooting, and two New City Collegian staffers who were on scene expressed their views on the deadly shooting.

Arielle Chilcote-Barnard was in the Twilight during the shooting describes her horrific run in with the gunman and a conversation he had with his alleged ex. “Fuck you, you ruined my life, you took my dogs,” she reports the gunman saying to his alleged ex. Chilcote-Barnard ducked behind the bar only feet away from the gunman saying a woman began crawling over her trying to escape, drawing the shooter’s attention. “I don’t want to hurt you guys, get out of here,” Chilcote-Barnard reports hearing the gunman say. Chilcote-Barnard then left the bar and describes hearing “six consecutive-gunshots” which was Seattle Police killing the shooter after he opened fire on them. She was later taken downtown with about 20 others on a King County Metro bus to speak with police. She wanted to emphasize to New City Collegian that despite recent shootings in the Central District that this is an event that “can happen anywhere”.

Another witness, who spoke to NCC on the condition of anonymity, describes his account of the deadly shooting.

The witness initially arrived at the bar at 10 p.m.,  about fifteen minutes before the incident. “We got there at the same time the guy [gunman] showed up…he had gone in just ahead of us.” The witness says after the man entered the bar he (the witness) was stopped by the bouncer after an argument erupted between the shooter and his alleged ex. The bouncer apologized to the man for the incident saying,  “sorry this is very unusual.”  The witness entered the bar and the shouting was still occurring, adding that after the gunman was ejected by the bouncer “things calmed down.” What came next left the man rattled and fighting to save his life.

“There was just a pop and I think several people thought it was a party popper…Then I heard what I assume was the barman screaming and yelling: call 911.” The shooter re-entered the bar and “everybody kind of jumped up and ducked,” the witness says.

“I just looked around for an exit.” The witness ran towards the kitchen passing the shooter and “saw the gun in his hand.”  “My brain just shut down and went into autopilot.” The witness ran into an employee in the kitchen and they both proceeded to a fenced-in patio in the back, the witness tried to hop the fence but couldn’t make it over. He proceeded to lock himself in a storage closet with three employees until they heard more gunshots. After police radios were heard inside the bar the witness and employees left as police secured the area. He saw responders pull the female victim out of the bar. In addition to his account of events, two NCC staff writers were at the bar. One, Alexander M. Koch was a primary source for The Seattle Times coverage of the event, and Ian Awesome showed up on the scene minutes after the shooting.

It was a “confusing” scene says Ian, who was heading to the bar to celebrate a friend’s 21st birthday. “I had just gotten out of a meeting and we were going to celebrate our friends 21st birthday”. Ian “had to stop by a friend’s house to pick up a CD,” which he says is the only reason he was not in the bar during the time of the shooting. He did not hear any shots by the time he had arrived at the Twilight Exit and was outside of the police line.

Koch told The Seattle Times:

“I heard that first shot; everyone [was] getting under tables,” Koch said. “I used a small table to barricade myself as he was shoving through the door.”

Koch and others began streaming out a door onto East Cherry, while other patrons fled.

“At that point, there were two gunshots, then I heard a bunch of other gunshots,” Koch said.

News partner, Central District News, reports the bouncer remains in the “ICU in stable condition with a gunshot wound to his thigh,” and the Seattle Times adds “The woman in her mid-20s was in stable condition, with multiple gunshot wounds.” We will provide updates on the victims conditions as they become available.

UPDATE: The Seattle Times has identified the gunman as a 33 year old man named James Anderson. The Seattle Times expounds on his rocky relationship with one of the shooting victims.  The Capitol Hill Seattle Blog says that, based on information garnered from the gunman’s Facebook page, he was a Seattle Central Community College student .

UPDATE: New City Collegian staff writer Alexander M. Koch writes of his experiences during this terrible event.

I walked into the Twilight Exit on 25th and Cherry at approximately 10:00 pm on Sunday January 27th.

It was dim and smelled of beer; there were people sitting at tables, at the curved bar, talking, laughing, and drinking. As I stood with my friends just inside the doorway while the bouncer checked our identification I was enthusiastic. It was my friend’s birthday, and I was happy that she was getting the opportunity to go out with a large number of our friends and celebrate. She had just turned 21. Immediately my attention, and focus, went to the bar area where a man in a gray sweatshirt was yelling at a woman. He was talking about her allowing all of his belongings to be stolen. I didn’t catch all of it, still half-focused on my friends. The bouncer had stepped over to the bar area, my ID had been checked already. He put his arm around the man who had been yelling and moved him towards the door, which was still just behind me. I moved to the side to allow them to pass as he ejected the irate man from the bar. Then I thought nothing of the situation, back to focusing on my friends.

A few of my friends got drinks. A few of us did not. But we stood and sat, chatted, and were elated by the mood of the evening. After about fifteen or twenty minutes had passed I heard something that would change the course of the night, and the course of many people’s lives. I heard a gunshot.

I immediately knew what it was, but was not sure where it had come from. Quickly looking to see, I heard the rush of people scattering, diving, crawling, and positioning themselves under tables and behind chairs. I lost my friends, who had moved towards the bar to hide, and ducked down into the walkway between sets of tables and chairs on the Cherry Street side of the bar. Chairs were shoved in front of me; I used a flipped over table as a barricade, placing myself behind it as I saw a silver gun push through the opening door. The handgun was followed by the person wielding it. It was the same man who had been ejected from the bar only a short time earlier, the irate man in the gray sweatshirt.

Whimpering, crying, whispering, and shushing. The slightest movement sounded loudly in my ears. Chairs scraped the floor. I heard people moving, rushing, the door behind me had been opened and everyone underneath tables to either side of me was scrambling to reach it. The gunman was moving towards the bar area, not towards me. I had no idea where any of my friends were. They had gone in another direction when the first shot, just outside of the entry door, had been fired. Almost everyone in the same area of the bar as me was going towards the door now. I looked up, over the table-become-barricade, and could no longer see the gunman. Shots rang out. I clamored upwards, grabbing a chair, stood, and turned my back going for the door. I was the last one out, I thought. But as I reached the door I saw one person still inside, near the door, coming out from under a small table. I grabbed her hand and pulled her out. With one last glance inside I saw a jacket, and keys, overturned tables and chairs astray, and I slammed the door shut.

Once outside I moved towards the corner of 26th and Cherry, trying to remove myself from the vicinity of the Twilight Exit. A friend of mine was by the corner store next to the Twilight Exit, still on the phone with police dispatchers. More of my friends were down the street, at the corner. As I kept moving around the corner onto 26th I heard another gunshot. Loud. It was followed in quick succession by the sound of an entire magazine emptying.

Hugging friends, wondering where people were, what had happened, we stood. People cried. People stood in silence, shocked. A police officer asked me if I had been inside. “Yes,” I told him. He took my ID.

Much went on in the interim between when he took my ID and when he told me I would need to be questioned by homicide detectives. By this point we had no idea if the gunman had killed anyone, but we knew that he had been shot by the police. I joined two of my friends and numerous others who had been inside the bar as we were herded to a Metro bus to be sent downtown to Police Headquarters for interviewing. The crowds began to dissipate, my friends who were not going to be interviewed left to decompress and spend time with one another.

There is much more to this story, and perhaps someday I will have the chance to tell it all. But right now it is still too much, and much of it is too personal to be publishing online.

2 responses to “Witnesses of Central District Bar Shooting Recount Horrific Event

  1. Pingback: Twilight Exit shooter identified, bar plans to reopen Tuesday | Central District News·

  2. Pingback: FAS PR release: Editor of award-winning newspaper starts downtown Seattle blog amid media paywalls | fifthavenueseattle.com·

What do you think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s