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caption: Candles light the sidewalk near The Postman in Seattle's Central District in remembrance of D'Vonne Pickett Jr. Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. Pickett died a day earlier at a bus stop near his shop on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
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Candles light the sidewalk near The Postman in Seattle's Central District in remembrance of D'Vonne Pickett Jr. Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. Pickett died a day earlier at a bus stop near his shop on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Credit: Jason Pagano / KUOW

Remembering D'Vonne Pickett Jr., a pillar of Seattle's Central District

On the evening of Oct. 19, gunshots startled the residents of the 1100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

When police arrived shortly after, D’Vonne Pickett Jr. was lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds. He was rushed to Harborview Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries.

D’Vonne Pickett Jr. and his wife Keanna Pickett are familiar faces throughout the Central District. When the United States Postal Service closed its office in the neighborhood, the two founded The Postman, a shipping and mailing business that quickly became a pillar in the community.

In a statement, Mayor Bruce Harrell said Pickett was known for "his kindness, determination, and passion for uplifting the Seattle community."

A day after the shooting, police arrested Ashton Christopher Leffall. Leffall has since been charged with murder, three counts of assault, robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm.

“When I think of D’Vonne, I see the epitome of the hometown hero," said Girmay Zahilay, King County Councilmember for District 2. "A young man who grew up here, stayed here, started a business here, raised a family here, and inspired countless kids to achieve beyond their wildest dreams. His legacy will live on forever through his incredible family and every person in our community whose lives he transformed for the better.”

To hear more about Pickett's lasting impact on the Central District community, Soundside spoke with Troy Landrum Jr. He leads KUOW's RadioActive youth media and spoke with community members about Pickett's relationship with the Central District for an article in the South Seattle Emerald.

The inspiration for The Postman, the family's shipping business, largely came from Pickett's grandfather, who worked for the postal service for 37 years. But the space has always been more than just a business.

"He wanted it to be everything for everybody," Landrum said. "You could be close and personal with the people who own the place, you can connect with your fellow community members — that's what they were to the CD. That's what they still are to the CD."

Kyle Hair, at one time Pickett's basketball coach, noted his tenacity and leadership in sport and in the community.

"I was inspired by him as well," Hair said.

"He just brought light, he brought laughter, he brought joy," Landrum said.

Converge Media is helping gather support for the Pickett family here. There is a Go-Fund-Me for support as well, which you can find by clicking here.

Listen to Soundside's full conversation with Troy Landrum Jr. by clicking the audio above. You can read his full article for the South Seattle Emerald on his Twitter, or by clicking here.

We would love to hear your feedback on our reporting