Second person is killed in shooting in Seattle protest zone. Police chief says: ‘Enough’
A 16-year-old boy was killed and and a younger teenager was wounded early Monday in Seattle’s “occupied” protest zone — the second deadly shooting in the area that local officials have vowed to change after business complaints and criticism from President Trump.
The violence that came just over a week after another shooting in the zone left one person dead and another wounded was “dangerous and unacceptable,” Police Chief Carmen Best said.
“Enough is enough,” Best told reporters. “We need to be able to get back into the area.”
Demonstrators have occupied several blocks around the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct and a park for about two weeks after police abandoned the precinct following standoffs and clashes with protesters calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.
Witnesses reported seeing a white Jeep SUV near one of the makeshift barriers around the protest zone about 3 a.m. Monday, just before the shooting, a police statement said.
Callers to 911 said several people fired shots into the vehicle. Police said two people who were probably the occupants of the vehicle were transported to a local hospital.
The 16-year-old was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center. The second victim, a 14-year-old boy, was hospitalized with gunshot injuries. He was reported in critical condition.
“Detectives searched the Jeep for evidence, but it was clear the crime scene had been disturbed,” the police statement said.
In the previous fatal shooting in the zone, a 19-year-old man was killed on June 20 and a 33-year-old man was wounded.
Best said the shootings were obscuring the message of racial justice that protesters said they were promoting.
“Two African American men are dead, at a place where they claim to be working for Black Lives Matter. But they’re gone, they’re dead now,” the police chief said.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said last week that the city would start trying to dismantle what had been named the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” area. City workers on Friday tried to remove makeshift barriers erected around the area but stopped their work after demonstrators objected.
Nearby business and property owners filed a federal lawsuit against the city last week, claiming officials had been too tolerant of those who created the zone and that officials had deprived property owners of their property rights by allowing the zone to continue.
The business owners said they were not trying to undermine the protesters’ anti-police-brutality and Black Lives Matter messages.
But the owners said they had suffered because the creation of the zone had limited their access to their businesses and that some owners trying clean graffiti from their storefronts or attempting to photograph protesters had been threatened.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the Seattle protest area and city leaders, saying the zone is run by “anarchists.”
Some demonstrators in the occupied zone say the demonstration isn’t the reason for the shootings.
“The bloodshed you’re talking about has nothing to do with the movement,” Antwan Bolar, 43, told the Seattle Times. “That’s people who would have been doing it in North Seattle or South Seattle anyways — it’s just concentrated here.”
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