Shooting in Seattle protest zone leaves 1 dead, 1 injured
SEATTLE (AP) - A 19-year-old man was killed and another person seriously injured in a pre-dawn shooting in a park in the Seattle protest zone, authorities said on Saturday.
The shootout took place around 2:30 a.m. near downtown, known as the CHOP, which stands for "Capitol Hill Occupied Protest," the police said.
Officials who responded to the shootout initially said they had trouble being there because "they were hit by a violent crowd that prevented officials from safely accessing the victims," the police said on their blog. The video was released later in the day by the Seattle police seem to show officials arriving in the protest zone say they want to get to the victim and enter while people yell at them that the victim is already gone.
Two men with gunshot wounds arrived at Harborview Medical Center in private vehicles around 3:00 a.m., hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. The 19-year-old man died and the other person was in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
The suspect or the suspects fled. The investigators had no description of the shooter or shooters until Saturday afternoon, the police said.
"Murder commissioners have responded and are conducting a thorough investigation despite the challenges posed by the circumstances," the police said.
The CHOP zone is an area where demonstrators have been blocking several blocks near a police station in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle since demonstrations against police violence since George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis a few weeks ago.
Most of the Seattle police pulled out of the zone after the clashes with protesters ended with people throwing things at the police and police and using other ammunition to control the crowd. Protesters and others said the police overreacted. City officials have said they are still communicating with protest leaders who have committed to maintaining peace in the zone.
Union president, who represents more than 1,000 Seattle police officers, Mike Solan, told Fox News: "Violence has now besieged the area known as CHOP and it is no longer the summer of love, it is the summer of chaos. "
Hours after the shootout, the scene in the protest zone was calm. People were pushing strollers, and other visitors were romping around in the cool, cloudy weather and taking pictures of themselves with CHOP signs.
Protest organizers held a meeting to discuss the early morning shootings, and several volunteers patrolled the area with weapons. They did not bother anyone entering or leaving the zone.
Kshama Sawant, a member of the Seattle City Council, expressed her condolences and said the man who died was black.
"Socialist Alternative and I stand in solidarity with the victim's family and friends and with the injured protester who is now in the hospital, as well as with all community members and activists," she said.
The zone has drawn President Donald Trump's continued anger. His tweets about the possible deployment of the military were condemned by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and both Democrats' governor Jay Inslee.
When asked about Saturday's shooting, Inslee said, "We need to have a way for the community to speak and for the police and fire departments."
Inslee added, "Of course, one way or another, we have to offer a way to protect people, and that's a necessity."
AP photographer Ted Warren contributed from Seattle.
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