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By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Just before three a.m. last Thursday morning, Seattle Chinatown-International District community leader and International District Emergency Center (IDEC) Director Donnie Chin was fatally shot in his car. Seattle Police do not believe that Chin was the intended target of the shooting. According to local media, his friends suspect that he may have been responding to a disturbance and gotten caught in the crossfire.

“I grieve with Donnie’s friends and family at the senseless way he was taken from us,” Deputy Mayor Hyeok Kim told NBC News. “Before joining Mayor Ed Murray’s administration, I worked in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District for five and half years. I knew Donnie as an unsung hero who always put the needs of others above his own. He fiercely loved and guarded the neighborhood, and everyone in the C-ID respected Donnie. He will be missed for years and years to come.”

Heralded as the "heart and soul" and "frontline hero" of Seattle's Chinatown-International District, many are mourning Chin who humbly served and protected the community, including Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Congressman Adam Smith, Seattle City Councilmembers, Seattle Fire and Police Departments, OCA-Greater Seattle, Chinese American Citizens Alliance (CACA), Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS). Chin checked on seniors living alone, fed youth whose parents worked late, administered first aid, and once pulled a man out of a burning building while simultaneously fighting off the man’s dog before the fire department arrived.

He fiercely loved and guarded the neighborhood

At a community meeting after his death, many spoke about Chin, and the Seattle Fire Department extended and crossed their ladders in Chin’s honor. A protest walk was held in Chin’s honor Saturday night, and a candlelight vigil was held Sunday night at Hing Hay Park. Several groups are working to rename the International Children’s Park the “Donnie Chin Children’s Park.”