Police arrived at the scene shortly after 2 a.m., responding to a 911 call about shots fired outside the restaurant, said Tukwila police spokesman Mike Murphy.
There they found a chaotic scene of 200 to 300 people who had been leaving a party at Gordon's on the Green at Foster Golf Links in Tukwila. The party followed a book-signing by Bruce Williams and Donnell Alexander, authors of a book about Dr. Dre entitled "Rollin' With Dre: The Unauthorized Account."
The rap star himself was not at the book signing or the party. Several other high-profile guests - including former Seattle SuperSonics Gary Payton, Sam Perkins and Jerome Kersey - were invited to attend, but it's not known if they actually there.
The party had been peaceful and orderly throughout the evening, said Gordon Harris, owner of the restaurant. But as the patrons were leaving the building, an altercation broke out in the parking lot and shots were fired.
Many of the people inside and outside the building panicked when they heard the gunfire. Someone kicked out the glass in a doorway, while others got on the ground or ran to the aid of the victims.
Additional police reinforcements were called in to help control the huge crowd at the scene and to help medics get through to the victims amid the mayhem.
Officers determined that five to eight shots were fired during the altercation and that two men were hit. Both victims were taken by ambulance to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
One of the victims, a 24-year-old from Renton, died from his injuries. The other, a 25-year-old from Skyway, remains in critical condition, Murphy said.
"We're fortunate that no one else was hit," he said, considering the density of the crowd and the number of shots fired.
As medics were transporting the victims to Harborview, about 100 people who had been at the party followed the ambulances in their cars and created a scene at the hospital. Some reportedly tried to climb into the ambulances as they victims were being taken out on stretchers, witnesses said.
Seattle police called in reinforcements to enforce crowd control at the hospital.
Police are still trying to piece together information about the incident and what led to the altercation and the shots being fired. All witnesses said the party had been a peaceful affair until it broke up and people were leaving the restaurant.
No suspects have been arrested at this time.
Murphy said anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Tukwila police at (206) 433-1808.
Harris said some of his employees were shaken up by the incident. And he worries about the impact of the shooting on efforts to reclaim Tukwila's image.
"It's another strike against the city of Tukwila," he said. "We've been working hard to change that image, and then this happens."