Neighbors on edge, watchful after U District armed robberies

Neighbors on edge, watchful after U District armed robberies
SEATTLE - Neighbors are nervous and alarmed after a series of armed robberies carried out against people walking home near the University of Washington campus.

Residents in Seattle's University District say they're used to weekend displays of drunkenness and partying - but nothing like the recent series of armed attacks that have been happening.

According to Seattle police, three armed robberies happened within 30 minutes and just a few blocks of each other early Saturday morning. The victims - some of them believed to be drunk - were walking near the University of Washington campus.

And even if the victims were intoxicated, neighbors say that's no excuse for attacking and robbing them.

Resident Bill Quinn regularly cleans up his neighborhood the morning after a party night. He's lived in the University District for 36 years and says he's used to loud parties - but not violent attacks.

"It bothers me a lot. That's unusal. We've had crimes in the neighborhood, crimes of opportunity," he says.

Drunk victims who may have let their guard down appear to have been targets for their attackers. Seattle police say one or more suspects robbed three different victims at gunpoint - then whacked them on the back of the head with the gun.

"I'm absolutely concerned - concerned about the weapons they're using, too," says neighbor Meagan Rothschild. "Accessibility of guns is concerning to me."

She says it makes no difference that police say some of the victims were intoxicated.

"I don't care how anybody would want to justify it," says Rothschild. "There's no justifcation for violence, period."

Some of the victims could not provide much suspect information about Saturday's early morning attacks.

Irene Malloch, who also lives in the area, says she has never seen any violence there. Still - she takes precautions.

"I have pepper spray," she says.

She gets UW police alerts and tries to avoid walking alone at night - being careful not to become prey.

"No matter what the situation, it's a crime of violence. It's not OK," says Rothschild.

Police have made no arrests. The victims have given different vehicle and suspect descriptions.