Seattle • Police on Sunday pursued their investigation into a weekend shooting in a park in the city’s protest zone that killed a 19-year-old man and critically injured another person. No arrests had been made.
An “active and ongoing” investigation was underway into the shooting, which occurred about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in an area near downtown known as CHOP, for “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone, Detective Mark Jamieson said. The suspect or suspects fled the scene, and police asked the public for any information that could identify them.
The zone evolved after weeks of protests in the city over police brutality and racism following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Officers responding to the shooting 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,” according to a police blog.
Video released later Saturday by police appears to show officers arriving at the protest zone saying they want to get to the victim and entering as people yell at them that the victim is already gone. Police mostly retreated from the zone after clashes with protesters, KIRO-TV reported.
Private vehicles took two males with gunshot wounds to Harborview Medical Center, where the 19-year-old man died. A 33-year-old man, whose name was not immediately released, remained in critical condition Sunday, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg told KOMO-TV.
The King County Medical Examiner's Office had yet to release the identity of the dead man. Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant said he was Black.
The CHOP zone is a several-block area cordoned off by protesters near a police station in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood following demonstrations against police violence since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis several weeks ago. President Donald Trump has criticized Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee for allowing the zone.
Mike Solan, president of a police union representing more than 1,000 Seattle officers, told KIRO after the shootings that he fears for both the safety of law enforcement and the community at large.
“The community is at grave risk, and the men and the women that provide that public safety service, they’re at grave risk as well,” Solan said. He urged Seattle police to release all body-cam footage of the early Saturday incident to show the public the dangers officers face daily.