A man is in custody after police say he drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Seattle, injuring two people, including one critically.
As KING-TV reports, at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, protesters were gathered on a section of Interstate 5 in the city’s downtown. Though that particular section of the road had been closed off to traffic, one vehicle drove through a road closure, got onto the road, and then drove into the crowd of protesters.
Several videos of the incident were posted to social media in the aftermath of the video. In some of the videos, protesters could be heard shouting “Car! Car! Car!” as the vehicle approached. In another such video, which can be seen here, the car does not appear to slow as it approaches the crowd, who were desperately trying to jump away.
Though not shown in the video, the car hit two people, including a 32-year-old woman who suffered “serious” injuries, and a 24-year-old woman who suffered life-threatening injuries. Other videos reportedly showed the victims flying off the hood of the alleged assailant’s car.
Both women were taken to a nearby hospital.
A 27-year-old man has since been taken into custody. Police say they do not believe he was impaired, and his motive remains unclear, as of this writing. He could face felony charges.
One witness described the incident as a “purposeful attack.” However, Washington State Patrol Captain Ron Mead said that he’s not prepared to say that this was a deliberate assault, saying via CNN that this possibility remains “a focus of [the] investigation.”
Mead also noted that highways are simply not safe for pedestrians, in any circumstances.
“Whether they’re protesters, whether they’re homeless, whether they’re broken down motorists, the freeway is simply not a safe place for pedestrians and we’ve said that steadfast,” he said.
He added that he hopes that in the future, protesters will look to other places to hold their demonstrations.
As NPR News reported, since the George Floyd and other police brutality protests first broke out in late May, there have been at least 50 incidents in which a vehicle was used as a weapon against the protesters. Ari Weil, a terrorism researcher at the University of Chicago who compiled that list, says that the drivers of such vehicles are sending the message that they (the protesters) need to “get out of the street and stop these protests.”