Early on Saturday morning, at least two people were shot in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) area, according to a post on the Seattle Police Department’s website. One of the people shot, a 19-year-old man, died. The other man who was shot during the incident is currently at Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.
Seattle PD first tweeted about the shooting just after 6 a.m. on Saturday, saying they would provide additional details as they were available. The blog post with the details of the incident was posted to the Seattle PD’s site a few hours later.
That blog post said that the shooting occurred around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. Police officers were called to Cal Anderson Park, which is inside the section of Seattle being called the CHOP, or the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), because of the ongoing protests happening in the area. The Police Department claimed that when officers arrived on the scene they were met by violent protesters and could not safely get to the shooting victims.
The statement went on to say that protesters told the police officers that the men had been transported to Harborview Medical Center. Police then went to the hospital to check on the shooting victims and were told that one of the men had died and another was being treated for “life-threatening injuries.”
Seattle PD stated in the blog post that no arrests had been made and that the shooter was still at large. They also said that they were investigating the shooting “despite the challenges presented by the circumstances.”
The CHOP section of Seattle is currently a police-free zone. The area has been claimed by protesters who are demonstrating their opposition to police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Police were driven out of the area by confrontations with protesters earlier this month.
The challenges to the investigation the Seattle PD referred to presumably have to do with the fact that protesters have been reluctant to let police officers back into the CHOP.
Video of the aftermath of the shootings was taken by a local media outlet called Converge Media, which produces content relevant to the Pacific Northwest and has been covering the day-to-day events in the CHOP. The video showed a reporter from Converge Media talking to people who witnessed the shootings.
One person told the reporter that one of the men who was shot was receiving CPR from medics. People were overheard on the video talking about shell casings that they found at the scene. The video also showed protesters coordinating with EMTs to ensure that the victim could be transported to the hospital.
Converge Media’s video also showed the arrival of the Seattle Police Department. Several police officers arrived on the scene in full riot gear. The reporter taking the video was heard saying that the police officers entered the CHOP with their weapons drawn.
Though the Seattle Police Department claimed that they were prevented from coming into the CHOP by violent protesters, the video showed that the protesters created a peaceful barricade, and shouted “Hands up don’t shoot” and shouted for the police to put down their guns.
The reporter said that the police told protesters they were coming into the CHOP to get the victim out of the area. He said that the police officers might not have known that the victim had already been transported to Harborview Medical Center.
Later in the video, the reporter was heard gathering witness statements about the second victim.
More information about the shooting was not been released, but Seattle PD’s Twitter account said that they would post more information as it became available.