SEATTLE » Gunfire rang out during a car show at a suburban Seattle parking lot, wounding 12 people as fearful crowd members and merchants took cover or fled the chaotic scene.
The shooting erupted after a fight broke out late Saturday afternoon during a low-rider car show at La Plaza shopping center on Pacific Highway in Kent.
None of the injuries was life threatening, officials said.
Kent police Sgt. Jarod Kasner said in a telephone interview early Sunday that investigators were still determining what caused the physical confrontation to escalate into gunfire.
"There had been an argument and a fight at the event," he said. "Shots were eventually fired."
One man told The Seattle Times that he saw a gunman firing from the front of the shopping center into the parking lot.
"First I heard like six shots, then they kept going," said Alejandro Lara.
Kasner said 12 people were wounded.
Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said eight of them — six men and two women — were admitted to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
"They’re all in satisfactory condition," she said. "All conscious and talking."
She said ages of the wounded ranged from 14 to 32. The victims, she said, were hit on a foot, leg and chest, among other places.
Kasner said he wasn’t sure where the other four were treated.
There have been no arrests but "detectives are still tracking down leads and have over a dozen witnesses," he said.
As crowd members fled or took cover, people in businesses around the parking lot hid in their stores to escape the shooting.
Adriana Velazco, a manager at a Los Cabos Mexican Restaurant in the shopping center, said she saw two people on the ground after the shooting. She said that she didn’t hear the gunshots but was told by an off-duty police officer dining at the restaurant to hide in the back of the restaurant along with patrons.
"We saw people running all over the place," Velazco said. "People were knocking on the door of restaurant but we weren’t allowed to open the door."
The car show, listed as La Raza low-rider car show on a Latino events website, allowed participants to display vehicles modified to ride low to the ground.
Kent, located about 20 miles south of Seattle, is a mix of suburban developments and older industrial centers.