(This article originally appeared on Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and has been reprinted with permission.)
One man was reported dead and another person was shot and wounded in an overnight shooting at the Capitol Hill protest zone.
Police have confirmed the shooting but have not released further details. It was not clear if any suspects were in custody.
UPDATE 10:10 a.m.: Seattle Police have confirmed CHS’s early reports on the shooting and say that a 19-year-old is dead and that there have been no arrests:
On June 20th, at approximately 2:30 AM, East Precinct officers responded to a report of shots fired in Cal Anderson Park. This is inside the area referred to as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP). Officers attempted to locate a shooting victim but were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims. Officers were later informed that the victims, both males, had [already] been transported to Harborview Medical Center by CHOP medics. Officers responded to Harborview and were informed that one of the victims, a 19-year-old male, had died from injuries. The other victim, also a male, unknown age, remains in the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The suspect or suspect(s) fled and are still at large. There is no description at this time. Homicide detectives responded and are conducting a thorough investigation, despite the challenges presented by the circumstances.
Police are asking for the public’s assistance in gathering evidence. Anyone with information about the shooting or who may have video from the incident is asked to contact the Seattle Police Department’s Violent Crime tip line at (206) 233-5000.
Multiple people reported hearing three to six gunshots from the area of 10th Avenue and East Pine Street around 2:20 a.m. Police radio updates described people seen fleeing to the north on 11th Avenue from East Pine Street and through Cal Anderson Park.
One victim was reported undergoing CPR in front of the Rancho Bravo restaurant at 10th and Pine before he was transported to Harborview by the protest camp medical volunteers. According to Seattle Police radio updates the man was dead when he arrived at Harborview. Livestreams from the camp in the wake of the shooting also showed a video of an announcement of the man’s death to the protest camp.
A second victim was reported with a gunshot wound to the arm and chest. Seattle Fire was called to treat the victim but the victim was also driven by private vehicle to Harborview. We do not have more information on the second victim’s condition. UPDATE: Police say the second victim is a male who suffered life-threatening injuries.
Arriving police reported encountering hostile crowds after a large force assembled on the edge of the protest zone and entered the area on East Pine Street to secure the victim. He had already been driven from the scene by the time police arrived, according to East Precinct radio updates.
Police were collecting shell casings and evidence in the area and East Precinct radio reported video of the incident was being provided.
UPDATE: A security employee working in the area reported the shooter had been in a black SUV that arrived in the area on East Pine Street. A 911 caller told police a man carried a rifle out of the SUV before gunfire erupted, according to East Precinct radio updates. The man who was killed was hit by multiple shots on the southwest corner of East Pine Street in front of the Odd Fellows building. Camp security was reported following the suspect after the shooting. There have been no reported arrests by police.
The early Saturday shooting marks the second major gun violence incident at the Capitol Hill protests. Nikolas Fernandez has been charged with one count of first degree assault after police say he drove into a crowd of protesters at 11th Avenue and East Pine Street and shot a man, Daniel Gregory, attempting to disarm him in a June 8 incident.
The latest shooting comes at the start of a second week of occupation by protest crowds after police pulled out of the East Precinct building amid growing criticism of heavy-handed crowd-control tactics and an ongoing standoff with protesters marching against law enforcement violence and racism.
With the protest camp as a center, the Seattle effort had marked a handful of gains and promises from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and SPD Chief Carmen Best of ongoing talks with activists and community groups and a review of police crowd control tactics. Since its formation upon the exit of police from the East Precinct building and the barriers at 12th Avenue and East Pine Strett on June 8, the camp was celebrated as a center of protest and also for its art and community even as there were also reports of open-carry enthusiasts joining the crowds and a regular presence of armed sentries posted around the area as part of camp security. The city worked out a new layout plan with protesters to better open the area to traffic and emergency vehicles but there was also a growing unease about Seattle Police’s limited presence in the zone around 11th and Pine and Cal Anderson Park and growing criticism that the camp’s purpose of occupying the area and the “Seattle People’s Precinct” was overtaking greater Black Lives Matter goals.
Friday, thousands marched to celebrate Juneteenth and rally for the Black Lives Matter movement and local demands to cut Seattle’s police budget and increase spending on social and community investment in the Central District.
Friday had also been celebratory at the protest camp with a night of sometimes large fireworks lighting up the sky above Cal Anderson Park and echoing off the surrounding restaurants, bars, and apartment buildings in the area.