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Shooting of anti-fascist at UW biggest scar on Seattle’s peaceful weekend of protest

University of Washington Police are investigating after an anti-fascist protester was shot during ongoing fighting in the crowds that gathered on the campus Friday night. The shooter has been identified and released from custody pending the investigation.

“We’re spending a great deal of time sorting through video we have received from the public and others,” Major Steve Rittereiser of UWPD tells CHS. Rittereiser tells CHS the department’s detectives are identifying witnesses and setting up interviews, a process that will stretch out over the coming days. A vehicle in the case has also been impounded and is being examined for evidence.

“UWPD detectives are continuing to gather details surrounding the incident and will forward their investigation to the prosecuting attorney’s office,” the department said in a statement released Saturday. “UWPD detectives encourage anyone with information about the incident or who witnessed it should contact UWPD at 206-543-9331.”

Seattle Police detectives are currently not running the investigation, a department spokesperson tells CHS, standard operation procedure for a crime of this nature on the campus, the spokesperson said. Rittereiser said his department is utilizing SPD resources including a few experts in the kinds of evidence being worked with. UWPD has five detectives as part of its department.

Federal officers were also at the scene Friday night, Rittereiser said, with FBI agents part of the security team organized to support the campus during the protests.

UPDATE 1/24/17: UWPD said its decision to release the shooter from custody was made in consultation with prosecutors. A spokesperson for the King County Prosecutor’s office tells CHS the amount of time expected to be required to complete the preliminary investigation was likely to take longer than the man could legally be held. “Under state law, a person can only be held for 72 hours pending a charging decision. However, more time is needed for the ongoing investigation,” the spokesperson said. The spokesperson added that the case has not yet been referred to the office for consideration of charges.

Crowds of protesters including hundreds who crossed Capitol Hill earlier Friday night filled Red Square outside Kane Hall where right-wing extremist Milo Yiannopoulos appeared at an event inside as the Breitbart News editor continued a controversial national speaking tour. Police radio, media, and witness reports said there were also groups of counterprotesters and increasing scuffles, shoving, and threats were reported through the night.

Just before 8:30 PM, UW and Seattle Police in the square monitoring the protests rushed into the crowd to respond to the shooting:

Police received a report that a man in the crowd had been shot and worked to enter the crowd and extricate him. Officer removed the 32-year-old man from the crowd and found he had sustained a life-threatening gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.

The incident was caught on camera and can be seen in this video posted to Reddit over the weekend.

The victim’s injuries were potentially life-threatening but his condition has improved.

The anti-fascist group Industrial Workers of the World say the victim is a member of the organization and have led a $40,000+ plus fundraising campaign to cover the unidentified member’s medical bills and loss of income from missed work:

The victim is a 34-year-old man from Seattle who has been a long-time anti-racist and anti-fascist activist. The shooter has apparently claimed that he shot the victim in ’self-defense.’ The victim was unarmed and attempting to de-escalate conflict at the protest. We request that the press not identify the victim by name. The so-called ’alt-right’ is notorious for creating virtual mobs to harass those with whom they disagree. The press should resist unintentional collaboration with these tactics. We recognize the pressure for the media to get stories out early and first. We request that the media engage with the victim directly, when he is recovered sufficiently to do so. In the meantime, please refrain from repeating the shooter’s claim that the victim was a white supremacist, without qualifying it with our statement.

A person identified as an IWW spokesperson said none of the money raised will go to legal costs, if needed.

The UW fights and shooting formed a rare pocket of violence on a weekend where thousands marched and protested across Seattle. Other reports of criminal activity were limited.

According to SPD, a Bellevue Police Department vehicle suffered a rock through its windshield Friday morning around 9:30 AM while the officer “was assisting Seattle police in the Capitol Hill area.”

Later Friday, police and King County Sheriff vehicles could be seen parked inside the entrance to Capitol Hill Station. A Sound Transit spokesperson said the protective measure is allowed and offered up this rather opaque statement: “It’s an option in our contingency plan; security/the agency considers all factors and then decides, based on known factors, how each event should be handled.” Friday night, the gates of Capitol Hill Station were closed for just over 10 minutes as marchers passed up Broadway.

SPD also said it seized “wooden dowels, homemade shields, flares, hammers, and other items from masked individuals in the crowd” at Westlake before the UW violence Friday night. But there were no arrests. Similarly, Saturday’s Seattle Women’s March included an estimated 120,000+ marchers — and zero related arrests.

Police were also investigating reports of property damage and tagging around the Hill with messages related to the weekend’s protests, including this knuckleheaded attempt at pro-fascist provocation on North Capitol Hill reported on Saturday afternoon:fullsizerender

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24 thoughts on “Shooting of anti-fascist at UW biggest scar on Seattle’s peaceful weekend of protest” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

    • I disagree intensely with what Milo has to say, but he does have a First Amendment right to say it, and surely an academic environment is one of the most appropriate venues. If free speech is not allowed there, then where? If we censor people like Milo, then we must also censor people on the left.

    • Bob, I can’t think of equivalents to someone like Milo on the left, but how about they have anti-vaccine people, maybe some eugenicists, some flat earthers… the list goes on and on of people who aren’t really contributing anything of value to public discourse. Milo and folks of his ilk are just normalizing seriously anti-social behavior, as anyone that’s been under attack by his followers can attest.

      Anyway, the first amendment doesn’t require the school give access to an auditorium for any speaker; it can, and does, choose who speaks. And a person like Milo wouldn’t be censored, because he’d still be able to stand on the campus and be a racist, misogynistic asshole to every person that walks by instead of hiding behind a lectern behind a phalanx of security. Of course he’d probably get his ass kicked, but that’s the whole “consequences” part of speech. You may get punched in the face for being an asshole.

  1. So skinhead fascists shoot someone during a protest and the shooter doesn’t even come to jail? The guy is just released after turning himself in to police? During other protests protesters have been booked in to jail for things like throwing a cigarette in to the crowd, riding the carousel while holding a flag, etc. Why the HECK wasn’t this guy booked in to the jail on a felony investigation? If that doesn’t tell you which side of this story LEO’s are on I don’t know what does.

    • The shooter is a huge asshole for showing up to what is almost certainly going to become a violent protest with a firearm, but initial videos (, at least, did support the story that it was done in self-defense, and the authorities must have agreed. I personally hope that anyone on either side who was shooting, punching, shoving, or committing other forms of assault all get the harshest appropriate punishment. :/

    • Actually, the shooter was a dumpy, short, 50-year-old Asian man.

      The only “skinhead” was the one who got shot–a tall, 34-year-old, shaved-headed, muscular, ex-skate-punk who attacked him, and was shot after repeatedly grappling with him, punching him, and preventing the Asian guy from escaping his attack.

      Get your story straight, Del…

  2. There is much to ask about this. The shooter is indeed an total asshole for bringing a firearm onto campus to this event. Red Square is a very big space, why could he have not backed away from whatever the situation was? Who was this second person who went with him to the police station? Why did the police stand by and allow a sixteen year old boy to be beaten bloody by anarchists? Why did the university think it was a good idea to allow protesters from downtown to join the groups in Red Square? Why didn’t authorities provide greater separation between the groups? Why did I find an SEIU sign the next day in Red Square? Are they busing in paid outside “protesters” to incite crowds? Why does the city continue to pretend that anarchists with a terrible track record might behave themselves “this time”? They won’t. Much to ask about all this and I hope the media does not just drop it after today.

  3. Other reports of the incident say the shooter was also an anti-fascist demonstrator who thought he was being assaulted by a fascist. So probably not a great idea to jump to conclusions, except, how dangerous to bring a gun to a demo. And maybe, “paranoia strikes deep…”

    Paul — What’s this about anarchists beating someone bloody? Was this at the demo? Can you link to a report?

  4. @jseattle Will you be asking Dan Satterberg’s office why this shooter wasn’t booked on a 72 hour felony investigation like any other shooter would be? This is just bizarre. People spit at cops and get held for 72 hours on a felony investigation. A black kid in the CD who shoots someone is booked. Why wasn’t this shooter booked?

  5. I watched the video. It looks like the guy that got shot was the one being aggressive…very aggressive. People engaging in this type of behavior need to understand the potential consequences. To me the “anti-fascist” guy was acting “fascist”….

    • Well, maybe, but please let the investigation reach its conclusions before you speculate. For sure, the victim didn’t need to be shot (unless he brandished a weapon, which he did not)….the shooter could have just walked away.

    • I’m not speculating. I’m just commenting on what I saw with my own eyes on the video. Yeah, maybe the guy could have walked away. But is he really the one that initiated the conflict? Maybe the skinhead “anti-fascist” could have decided not to assault – it did look like he physically engaged with the shooter? To me, it just seems like a lot of these anarchist, anti-fascists…yada, yada, yada “activists”…are just bullies and are happy to use a political umbrella to justify their behavior. That’s just my opinion but watching the video simply makes me conclude he brought it on himself. I hope he recovers though (I really do)

  6. I was observing the surrounding scene from the other side of the square at the time, but did not witness this shooting first-hand. The shooting victim is an acquaintance, and I like him a lot. I have not spoken with him since the incident, nor with anyone who was near enough to witness first-hand.

    Given all the views of the incident I’ve seen and what I know, this explanation fits: Yellow-hat-guy brings a loaded gun to campus in violation of state code on his way to a talk by a white supremacist, tries to pick fights with protesters throughout the evening, and eventually is threatening others, at least with pepper spray, then maybe with a gun. Victim (antifascist) sees this, runs over to separate YHG from others, pushes him away (this can be seen on video). Others assist in restraining YHG from heading not away to safety, but back toward an ongoing conflict between him and others (this can be seen on video). YHG, while tugging at those trying to separate him from others, fires his gun, shooting victim in the abdomen.

    It’s hard to justify a claim of self-defense if someone escalates a situation to the point that other people try to remove him from the situation and he then fires a gun at them.

    • Can someone please explain to me how a gay, Jewish Brit who’s dating resume looks like a Benetton catalog got declared by the media as the “Leader of the AltRight”? I thought they were all American Ultra-Right Nationalists, and white supremicists.

      Also, it is 100% legal for a concealed carry permit holder to carry on a college campus in WA–as it is in many states. The prohibition on carry on “school property” only applies to primary and High Schools, NOT colleges and universities under the WA code.

    • Richard, if you followed the link I provided, you would see where Media Matters wrote:

      Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos has made his mark as a stridently anti-feminist provocateur. He declared his birthday to be “World Patriarchy Day” and encouraged his followers to “cat-call at least five women” and to tell a woman, “This isn’t going to suck itself.” He attended a protest against sexual assault and held a sign that said, “’Rape culture’ and Harry Potter. Both fantasy.”
      In a Breitbart piece on the “alt-right” he praised the movement for its “youthful energy and jarring, taboo-defying rhetoric that have boosted its membership and made it impossible to ignore.” He dismissed the movement’s racial undertones, writing, “the alt-right’s young meme brigades shock older generations with outrageous caricatures, from the Jewish ‘Shlomo Shekelburg’ to ‘Remove Kebab,’ an internet in-joke about the Bosnian genocide.”
      Discussing Islam, Yiannopoulos said, “There is a structural problem with this religion that is preventing its followers from assimilating properly into Western culture. There is something profoundly antithetical to our values about this particular religion.”
      In July, Twitter permanently suspended Yiannopoulos’ account after he led a harassment campaign against actress Leslie Jones, who is African-American. As BuzzFeed reported, many of the tweets “decried Jones for being black and a woman.”

      Absent prior approval, possessing a gun on UW campus is a violation of Washington Administrative Code. WAC 478-124-020 states:

      the following types of conduct are hereby prohibited on or in property either owned, controlled or operated by the university which is used or set aside for university purposes, hereinafter referred to as the university campus: […] Possession or use of firearms, explosives, dangerous chemicals or other dangerous weapons or instrumentalities on the university campus, except for authorized university purposes, unless prior written approval has been obtained from the university chief of police, or any other person designated by the president of the university;

    • Come on….Milo is not a white supremacist. Is every young person a drama queen? What is wrong with young people today? He’s a sarcastic firebrand but he’s really funny. That’s his schitck. (sp?) He says shocking things. Wasn’t Madonna trying to do the same thing with her “White House” comment the other day? It’s all the same thing. Getting angry and freaking out about him only helps him. Snowflakes must chill and understand it’s OK for others to express their ideas that they don’t agree with. If you don’t like Milo just IGNORE him. Don’t show up protest. Stay home and take away all the media oxygen. Seriously, simply ignore him and he will go away…….. Snowflakes don’t understand humor or sarcasm.

  7. I am an alumni of UW and know there are many far leftist, Islamist apologists, black nationalists who have given lectures at UW both when I was student and very recently, without any protest or disruption. Many of them are virulent anti-Jewish and anti-white racists, some support terrorism against the UW. Steven Salatia did so last year.
    There are two kinds of fascists: fascists and anti-fascists.
    I wish I could claim authorship for that, but I can’t.
    It sounds like the anti-fascist who got shot was acting kind of fascist by trying to stop an Asian guy (the shooter) from attending a lecture given by a gay Jew.
    Louis Farrakhan speaks at colleges all over this country on an ongoing basis. I honestly don’t know if he speaks at UW but I know the Seattle library and mainstream bookstores carry his newspaper The Final Call. Strangely enough similar white nationalist literature isn’t available at these same places despite being told that carrying this hate speech is being done in the name of freedom of speech.
    I would like to see these anti-Fasicsts go after Farrakhan an his ilk for a change. He ever did a march on Washington last year. What cowards the left are with their turning a blind eye to horrific hatred when it comes from black Muslims then declaring some Jewish gay guy to be “a Nazi”. Milo is pretty inflammatory but not half as bad as Farrakhan.

    • “It sounds like the anti-fascist who got shot was acting kind of fascist by trying to stop an Asian guy (the shooter) from attending a lecture given by a gay Jew.”

      He is on video, during the protest, trying to stop fights by interposing himself between troublemakers and their targets.The shooter is reported by multiple sources as having attempted to start fights and threaten people.
      Video of the actual shooting doesn’t make it clear exactly what went down, but it sure looks like said Antifascist saw the shooter getting into shit with someone, interposed himself (admittedly pretty forcefully), escorted the shooter away from trouble, and moments later saw the shooter draw a firearm and turn back towards his original target. Shooter fired with right hand after turning back around, antifascist appeared to have a grip on shooter’s right arm; the only way that could have happened is if the shooter had the gun out already when the antifascist grabbed hold of that arm. In all likelihood he was trying to stop shooter from opening fire in a crowd, and tragically did not succeed.

      If the shooter genuinely felt threatened by the antifascist prior to drawing his weapon, I doubt he’d have turned his back on him like in the video.

      “I would like to see these anti-Fasicsts go after Farrakhan an his ilk for a change.”

      Wouldn’t that, by definition, require that Farrakhan and his ilk have at least some hint of government power? Remember, as jarring as this may be to adjust to, Milo is the “The Establishment” now.

  8. That’s pretty interesting about Farrakhan. I had no idea Seattle bookstores carry his newspaper. Honestly, I’ve never heard of it. I wonder if Elliot Bay carries it? I like them a lot but if they do carry it, my assumption is that they probably haven’t thought about it too much or even know its contents. Yeah, the left is rather selective in who they like to go after.