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One dead, one in critical condition in early morning shooting at Capitol Hill protest zone known as CHOP

Marcus Henderson CQ, with blue masks, talks with Adam Powers, center right, at the gardens at the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) or the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) in Seattle Saturday, June 13, 2020. Henderson is organizing the large-scale gardening operations at Cal Anderson Park. (Erika Schultz/Seattle Times/TNS)

Seattle police homicide and assault detectives are investigating an early morning shooting in the Capitol Hill protest zone known as CHOP that left one person dead and another in critical condition.

Sgt. Lauren Truscott, the department’s public information officer, said she did not know early Saturday whether detectives had taken anyone into custody and said she did not have immediate details as to a sequence of events. She said the department is reviewing public-source video and body-camera video for clues.

The roughly six block area has been a gathering point for demonstrators protesting police violence against Black people nearly two weeks ago. The SPD was forced to abandoned its East Precinct, just a block from where the shooting occurred, on June 8 following days of violent confrontations with thousands of protesters that began downtown following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25. Floyd, a Black man who suffocated with the knee of a white police officer on his neck, has sparked nationwide protests against police racism and violence against people of color.

The empty precinct building, now boarded up and covered with graffiti, has been the hub of the ongoing occupation of the area, which includes Cal Anderson park just across the street.

Nearly two hours of video posted on Facebook (now removed) by Omari Salisbury, citizen journalist with Converge Media who has been documenting the protests, showed a tumultuous scene while he described how one of the victims was receiving CPR by CHOP volunteer medics, who apparently drove the critically injured victims to Harborview Medical Center, about six blocks away.

Susan Gregg, a spokeswoman at Harborview Medical Center, said two gunshot victims were treated there. One died, she said, and the other was in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit. She did not know how they were transported from the scene to the hospital.

Salisbury’s video also shows a police extraction team — handguns drawn and in a phalanx led by officers holding shields — attempt to enter the so-called autonomous zone to retrieve the victims, who according to Salisbury had already been transported to the hospital by private care.

The group of officers was quickly surrounded by angry and yelling protesters, who prevented them from moving forward. The team left, but not before other protesters lined up to apparently protect the officers from angry members of the crowd as they retreated.

The incident occurred about 2:20 a.m. near 10th Avenue and Pine Street, according to Truscott. She said police would be releasing additional information later.


©2020 The Seattle Times

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.