Seattle Motel where Murder Occurred Had Planned to Install CCTV

SEATTLE -- A north end motel where a man was shot to death was a frequent source of complaints from neighbors and the scene of an apparent murder attempt last year, police say.

Eric Bard, 47, reportedly a former transportation engineer in Bellevue who was unemployed because of illness, was shot Sunday night after leaving a room for a smoke at the A-1 Motel off Aurora Avenue North. He died early Monday.

Investigators said they found little evidence at the scene and no drugs or indication of criminal activity in the motel room.

"We're looking for any witnesses who saw anyone coming or going around 10 p.m.," officer Sean Whitcomb said.

Police said they received 111 calls about the motel last year and officers were called there 58 times in 2003. One person was shot in an apparent murder attempt at the motel in September, and a man is being held in that attack, Whitcomb said.

Owners Ming Wang and his wife signed a Community Good Neighbor Agreement that specified certain business practices last month but said they needed some time to install a video surveillance system, said Edward McKenna, an assistant city attorney assigned to the area.

Wang said he and his wife were seeking bids at the time of the shooting and expect to have the surveillance system operating within a week.

Bard had been visiting a weekly renter and was not registered as a guest, Wang said, adding that he had been meeting the terms of the agreement.

"We are kind of wondering what else can we do," he said. "We screen our guests so much that we had only four long-term renters."

Aurora motel owners and managers have been asked to help curb crime. Owners of all 26 motels from the Aurora Bridge to North 145th Street recently signed up with the city's criminal trespass program, and police and state corrections officers have begun regular checks for probation violators at the motels.

John Coelho, who lives near the A-1, said crime in the area appeared to have decreased recently.

"We've seen it change in terms of the amount of crime," Coelho said, "but as you can see, it is still going on there.