Man killed in shooting in Seattle’s ‘Capitol Hill Occupied Protest’ zone
A teenager has been shot and killed inside a section of Seattle that has been taken over by protesters.
- Another man was critically injured in the shooting and remains in intensive care
- A local council member offered condolences to the family of the black teenager killed
- The head of a police union in Seattle said violence had “besieged” the autonomous area
Authorities said another person was critically injured in the shooting at about 2:30am on Saturday local time in the area known as CHOP, which stands for “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest”
Officers responding to the shooting initially said they had trouble getting to the scene because they were “were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims,” Seattle Police said on their blog.
Video released later in the day by the police and seen by the AP news agency appeared to show officers arriving at and entering the protest zone. In the vision, officers are seen saying they want to get to the victim, as people yell at them that the victim is already gone.
Two males with gunshot wounds arrived in private vehicles at Harborview Medical Center about half an hour after the shooting, a hospital spokeswoman said.
A 19-year-old man died while the other person was in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
Investigators had no description of the shooter or shooters on Saturday afternoon and the suspect or suspects fled, police said.
“Homicide detectives responded and are conducting a thorough investigation, despite the challenges presented by the circumstances,” police said.
The CHOP is near a police station in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighbourhood.
It was established amid large demonstrations against police violence following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
Seattle police retreated from the zone after clashes with protesters.
City officials said they were communicating with protest leaders, who had promised to keep the zone peaceful.
“Violence has now besieged the area known as CHOP, and it is no longer the summer of love, it’s the summer of chaos,” Mike Solan, head of a union representing more than 1,000 of Seattle’s police officers, said.
The scene in the protest zone was quiet hours after the shooting.
People pushed baby strollers, and other visitors milled about in the cool, cloudy weather, taking photos of themselves with CHOP signs.
Protest organisers held a meeting to discuss the early morning shootings, and some protest volunteers patrolled the area carrying guns.
They did not interfere with anyone entering or leaving the zone.
Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant expressed her condolences and said the man who died was black.
“Socialist Alternative and I stand in solidarity with the family and friends of the victim, and with the injured protester now in the hospital, as well as with all community members and fellow activists,” she said.
The area has drawn the ire of President Donald Trump, who tweeted about possibly sending in the military.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Governor Jay Inslee condemned Mr Trump’s comments.
“We need to have a way for the community to have a way to speak and for police and fire services to be provided,” Mr Inslee said.
“One way or another we obviously need to provide a way to offer protection for people, and that’s a necessity.”