Seattle shooting: One person shot dead inside autonomous protest zone
AFP via Getty Images
Seattle police have launched a murder investigation after one person was shot and another man was seriously injured in the city's self-declared autonomous protest zone.
The shootout took place early in the morning on Saturday morning, the Seattle police said in a statement. They added that a 19-year-old man died from his injuries and another man with life-threatening injuries remains in the hospital.
"Officials tried to find a victim of the shootout, but were hit by a violent crowd that prevented officials from safely accessing the victims," the statement said. "The suspect has fled and is still at large. There is currently no description."
Police sergeant Lauren Truscott informed the local Seattle Times that the police were reviewing the video footage taken at the scene, but had no direct information about the shooting.
Harbourview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said two men with gunshot wounds arrived at the hospital in a private vehicle at around 3 a.m. local time. One died and the other was in critical condition.
The Capitol Hill Protest Zone (CHOP), originally known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), has become a focus of the city's anti-racial demonstrations after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The demonstrators are currently occupying the East Precinct Police Department building in Seattle, which the police left after days of clashes. They have largely stayed away from the area since then, while local officials have been in regular contact with demonstrators.
The protest zone attracted national attention after Donald Trump warned that he would "violently" withdraw the area from what he described as "ugly anarchists". The president has made similar threats of violence against democratically led states, in which there are large-scale demonstrations demanding racial justice.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan hit the president back at a press conference earlier this month.
"We don't need anyone, including the President, to try to sow more divisions, distrust and misinformation," said Durkan. "The threat to enter Seattle, split and encourage violence in our city is not only undesirable but also illegal."
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