Seattle, WA – Seattle police announced that the two victims shot early Monday morning in the city’s cop-free autonomous zone were 14 and 16 years old, and that it was the 16-year-old boy who had died.
“Enough is enough,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said on Monday afternoon. “We have yet another murder in this area known as #CHOP. Two African American men dead… a child, a 14 year old is hospitalized.”
Even before she was made aware of the age of the latest fatality, Chief Best asked why the Capital Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), formerly known as the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), was being allowed to continue, KIRO reported.
“We’ve had two men killed. And we’ve had a child that’s injured from gunfire. So this is a real problem,” the chief told reporters at the scene of the shootings. “And I would question why we would continue to allow this to happen.”
However, she gave no indication there was any plans for the Seattle police to try to take back the East Precinct in the near future, KIRO reported.
The latest shootings happened at about 3:45 a.m. on June 29 near 12th Avenue and Pike Street, KING reported.
“You heard a lot of gunshots near the Cal Anderson Park,” witness Giovanni Medina told KIRO. “A lot of us ran down there, a lot of people were running back. It was almost literally right outside in front of the East Precinct.”
Police said 911 callers reported having seen a white Jeep Cherokee near one of the barriers and several people firing guns into that vehicle.
The 14-year-old victim arrived at Harborview Medical Center at about 3:15 a.m. in a private vehicle in critical condition.
The 16-year-old victim arrived at the hospital via ambulance at about 3:30 a.m., KING reported.
Harborview Medical Center Spokeswoman Susan Gregg said that the second victim died from his wounds.
There were reports of other people wounded but none had yet been confirmed by the hospital or by the authorities.
Four people were shot between Friday and Tuesday the prior weekend in the CHOP.
Among the victims, a 19-year-old man died and a 17-year-old was seriously wounded.
The mayor and Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announced at a press conference on June 22 that they would be dismantling the city’s “autonomous zone” after the bloody weekend in what Durkan had dubbed the city’s “summer of love.”
Durkan asked community leaders to spread the message that it was time to clear out to the people camping out in the six blocks surrounding the East Precinct, KOMO reported.
The mayor’s office has been swamped by a deluge of complaints from residents and business owners whose lives have been upended by the restricted access to the area barricaded off and guarded by armed protesters.
But on Friday, protesters stopped city crews from removing the barricades blocking the six blocks that surround the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct on Friday morning by lying in the road and brandishing a firearm.
KOMO reported that people laid down in the street to block equipment and at least one weapon was drawn by protesters when city crews arrived to begin cleaning up that area on June 26.
Self-appointed leaders of the CHOP have told city officials that they will not relinquish the occupied zone until their list of demands has been met, KOMO reported.
And after a brief standoff on June 26, the city backed down and announced it would not attempt to retake the East Precinct that day.
“SPD had no plans to return to the East Precinct today,” a spokesman for Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told reporters, according to KOMO.
No announcement has been made with regard to when the city will make its next attempt.
A representative for the mayor attempted to tour the occupied zone with the Seattle fire chief, but they were both run out of the area by angry protesters, KOMO reported.
Durkan also has not publicly addressed the group’s list of demands.
The group which has called itself the “CHOP Council” wants the Seattle Police Department and the associated court system to be abolished, according to a list of demands posted to Medium on June 9.
The protesters who have illegally occupied six blocks of the city also demanded “the abolition of imprisonment, generally speaking, but especially the abolition of both youth prisons and privately-owned, for-profit prisons” and an end to prosecutorial immunity for police, among other weighty topics.