The mother of a Federal Way woman killed during last year’s Capitol Hill Block Party is suing the event’s organizers.

Essence Greene-Madden, 20, was struck by a stray bullet last summer as she tried to leave the annual event, which was blocked by illegal street racing. A total of four people were shot. Police were already on the scene to put a stop to the street racing, but a crowd of about 500 people “interfered with the response,” according to KING 5.

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Greene-Madden died at Harborview Medical Center after being in “critical condition” three days after the shooting.

“Essence was an embodiment of joy, love and life itself,” Charlene Greene wrote for a GoFundMe for the victim’s family. “Her vibrant personality, infectious laugh and illuminating smile transformed every room she entered into an oasis of warmth. Those who were privileged to have known her will always remember her as a force of nature and a beacon of light.”

Her mother, Tina Madden, told KIRO 7 that organizers did the bare minimum to keep people safe. She stated that they simply put up barriers and left, leaving her daughter with no way out when the street races started.

“The publicity was all about street racing,” Madden told KIRO 7. “What about the people who organized this block party? What were your security measures? What were the things that should have been there? Why couldn’t the police get through the barricades at that time of the morning?”

Greene-Madden hopes the lawsuit will bring accountability to organizations like the Capitol Hill Block Party.

“If things like this are going to be planned, they really need to come up with this plan for the safety of the people that are there,” Greene-Madden told KIRO 7. “They are just there to have fun.”

The next Capitol Hill Block Party is scheduled for July 19, just over a month away.

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Contributions: KIRO 7

Frank Sumrall is content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.