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One dead, one wounded in overnight Capitol Hill protest zone shooting — UPDATE

Livestreamer Converge Media showed the aftermath of the shooting

One man was reported dead and another person was shot and wounded in an overnight shooting at the Capitol Hill protest zone.

Police have confirmed the shooting but have not released further details. It was not clear if any suspects were in custody.

UPDATE 10:10 AM: Seattle Police have confirmed CHS’s early reports on the shooting and say that a 19-year-old is dead and that there have been no arrests:

On June 20th, at approximately 2:30 AM, East Precinct officers responded to a report of shots fired in Cal Anderson Park. This is inside the area referred to as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP). Officers attempted to locate a shooting victim but were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims. Officers were later informed that the victims, both males, had been transported to Harborview Medical Center by CHOP medics. Officers responded to Harborview and were informed that one of the victims, a 19-year-old male, had died from injuries. The other victim, also a male, unknown age, remains in the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The suspect or suspect(s) fled and are still at large. There is no description at this time. Homicide detectives responded and are conducting a thorough investigation, despite the challenges presented by the circumstances.

Police are asking for the public’s assistance in gathering evidence. Anyone with information about the shooting or who may have video from the incident is asked to contact the Seattle Police Department’s Violent Crime tip line at (206) 233-5000.

UPDATE 4:45 PM: SPD has taken the unusual step of immediately posting a video that shows social media streams along with officer worn body video of the scene around the shooting as it happened:

The video begins with the seconds before a series of quick shots rings out and mostly reveals the frantic minutes that followed the shooting as police faced groups of demonstrators.

Police have also posted a log of the timeline of the events (PDF) from the department’s perspective. We have embedded the timeline below.

UPDATE 6:07 PM: Decriminalize Seattle, a coalition of groups involved with CHOP, has released a statement on the shooting.

“Last night’s shooting at CHAZ/CHOP is a tragedy. Our task now is to support the family and community of the person killed, the people injured in the shooting, and the people who witnessed the shooting,” the statement reads.

“We know that in every neighborhood of our city, violence is a constant. We know that police do not stop violence,” they write. “We know that violence happens even when the police are present. Less than a year ago, a Black woman was killed on the same block as last night’s shooting, with the East Precinct fully staffed with officers only 200 feet away. The presence of police did not stop that death.”

In 2019, 25-year-old Rayshauna Webber was stabbed and killed in Cal Anderson in a dispute with a man who took offense to a rejection of his offer to light a cigarette. David Nichols, 50, faces charges of second-degree murder and assault in the second degree in the killing.

In the statement, the groups say they do not yet know who is responsible for Saturday morning’s shooting but “real solutions do not look like continuing to fund and support the police.”

The full Decriminalize Seattle statement can be found at the end of this post.

Multiple people reported hearing three to six gunshots from the area of 10th and Pine around 2:20 AM. Police radio updates described people seen fleeing to the north on 11th from Pine and through Cal Anderson.

One victim was reported undergoing CPR in front of the Rancho Bravo restaurant at 10th and Pine before he was transported to Harborview by the protest camp medical volunteers. According to Seattle Police radio updates the man was dead when he arrived at Harborview. Livestreams from the camp in the wake of the shooting also showed a video of an announcement of the man’s death to the protest camp.

A second victim was reported with a gunshot wound to the arm and chest. Seattle Fire was called to treat the victim but they too were driven by private vehicle to Harborview. We do not have more information on the second victim’s condition. UPDATE: Police say the second victim is a male who suffered life-threatening injuries.

Arriving police reported encountering hostile crowds after a large force assembled on the edge of the protest zone and entered the area on E Pine to secure the victim. He had already been driven from the scene by the time police arrived, according to East Precinct radio updates.

Police were collecting shell casings and evidence in the area and East Precinct radio reported video of the incident was being provided.

UPDATE: A security employee working in the area reported the shooter had been in a black SUV that arrived in the area on E Pine. A 911 caller told police a man carried a rifle out of the SUV before gunfire erupted, according to East Precinct radio updates. The man who was killed was hit by multiple shots on the southwest corner of E Pine in front of the Odd Fellows building. Camp security was reported following the suspect after the shooting. There have been no reported arrests by police.

The early Saturday shooting marks the second major gun violence incident at the Capitol Hill protests. Nikolas Fernandez has been charged with one count of first degree assault after police say he drove into a crowd of protesters at 11th and Pine and shot a man attempting to disarm him in a June 8th incident.

The latest shooting comes at the start of a second week of occupation by protest crowds after police pulled out of the East Precinct building amid growing criticism of heavy handed crowd control tactics and an ongoing standoff with protesters marching against law enforcement violence and racism.

With the protest camp as a center, the Seattle effort had marked a handful of gains and promises from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and SPD Chief Carmen Best of ongoing talks with activists and community groups and a review of police crowd control tactics. Since its formation in the exit of police from the East Precinct building and the barriers at 12th and Pine on June 8th, the camp was celebrated as a center of protest and also for its art and community even as there were also reports of open-carry enthusiasts joining the crowds and a regular presence of armed sentries posted around the area as part of camp security. The city worked out a new layout plan with protesters to better open the area to traffic and emergency vehicles but there was also a growing unease about Seattle Police’s limited presence in the zone around 11th and Pine and Cal Anderson Park and growing criticism that the camp’s purpose of occupying the area and the “Seattle People’s Precinct” was overtaking greater Black Lives Matter goals.

Friday, thousands marched to celebrate Juneteenth and rally for the Black Lives Matter movement and local demands to cut Seattle’s police budget and increase spending on social and community investment in the Central District.

Friday had also been celebratory at the protest camp with a night of sometimes large fireworks lighting up the sky above Cal Anderson Park and echoing off the surrounding restaurants, bars, and apartment buildings that surround the area.

UPDATE 2:55 PM: District 3 Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant has issued a statement on the shooting. “Though we await confirmation of the details of the killing, there are indications that this may have been a right-wing attack,” the representative for Capitol Hill and the Central District on the council said in the statement issued Saturday afternoon. “If so, this would not be the first such attack on the Capitol Hill Black Lives Matter protest,” Sawant writes, connecting the incident to the June 8th shooting that sent one at the demonstration to the hospital. “As many recall, an armed man drove into the protest action on June 8, and shot black activist Dan Gregory, who had heroically intervened to stop the driver,” Sawant writes.

In her statement, Sawant said it is crucial that the group has developed “a self-defense committee that has played an important role at the encampment, and that general assemblies to ensure ongoing political discussions have been taking place.”

She also called on SPD to fully investigate the killing. “Because of the repressive role of the police under capitalism, and often with developed links to reactionary groups, police have historically frequently failed to prosecute violence by the right – even going as far as to shield the perpetrators. For decades in the South, law enforcement across the country did not lift a finger to stop the KKK’s lynch mobs, and often participated in them,” Sawant writes.

Saturday, groups at the camp were meeting to discuss strategic planning including security, mental health and medical de-escalation.

The full statement from Sawant’s office is below:

Our deepest condolences go out to the loved ones of the black protester who was tragically killed this morning by gunfire at the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP). Socialist Alternative and I stand in solidarity with the family and friends of the victim, and with the injured protester now in the hospital, as well as with all community members and fellow activists.

Though we await confirmation of the details of the killing, there are indications that this may have been a right-wing attack. If so, this would not be the first such attack on the Capitol Hill Black Lives Matter protest. As many recall, an armed man drove into the protest action on June 8, and shot black activist Dan Gregory, who had heroically intervened to stop the driver.

We need immediate solidarity with the protest at the CHOP, and unity in our movement against reactionary violence. Our movement refuses to be intimidated.

It is no accident that right-wing hate and violence has grown dramatically with Donald Trump in the White House. If this killing turns out to be a right-wing attack, President Trump bears direct responsibility, since he has fomented reactionary hatred specifically against the peaceful Capitol Hill occupation, and even threatened to intervene with federal troops. Also responsible are the conservative and corporate media outlets, both locally and nationally, which have themselves whipped up right-wing hate by completely misrepresenting the nature of the peaceful protest occupation, and who are continuing to do so even now, claiming that this shooting proves the CHOP is descending into chaos. Seattle’s establishment Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best also share responsibility for having portrayed our protest movement as violent.

It is crucial that the CHOP occupation has developed a self-defense committee, which has played an important role at the encampment, and that general assemblies to ensure ongoing political discussions have been taking place. Socialist Alternative and I believe we should further develop both these important initiatives and the democratic structures of the CHOP with regularly scheduled general assemblies to vote on decisions for the movement, and democratically agreed plans around self defense. Elected committees of self defense have historically played vital roles during general strikes, occupations, and in mass movements, in order for the working class and marginalized people to defend themselves and carry out necessary functions in place of the forces of the state. Our labor movement has a crucial role to play in the protest movement, and should provide people and resources to assist in the defense and organization of CHOP.

Our movement should also demand and insist that the Seattle Police fully investigate this attack and be held accountable to bring the killer(s) to justice. Because of the repressive role of the police under capitalism, and often with developed links to reactionary groups, police have historically frequently failed to prosecute violence by the right – even going as far as to shield the perpetrators. For decades in the South, law enforcement across the country did not lift a finger to stop the KKK’s lynch mobs, and often participated in them. It is being reported that police resources nationwide have been used to spy on, repress, and infiltrate the #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protest movement, and to surveil protest occupations like the CHOP. But on the other side, how much time has been spent investigating the right wing, with their threats and acts of real violence? Just in recent days, neo-Nazis have been making public statements calling for the killing of protesters. Yesterday, on Juneteenth, the day of celebration of defeating the confederacy and ending the institution of slavery, many far-right and reactionary figures have made calls to start a new Civil War. We must demand accountability and justice, and if the police fail to thoroughly investigate and bring the killer(s) to justice, we may need to launch an independent community investigation.

We must show our solidarity with the victims of this violence by continuing to build our movement and fight for our demands: to defund Seattle police by at least 50 percent; for the immediate release of all protesters without charges; for the East Precinct to be permanently brought into community control; for at least 1,000 publicly-owned affordable homes in the Central District and the Amazon Tax to fund citywide affordable housing and green jobs with priority hire for marginalized communities; and for an independent elected community oversight board with full powers over the police, including hiring and firing.

UPDATE 4:45 PM: Here is the SPD timeline of the night’s events.

UPDATE 6:07 PM: Here is the full statement from Decriminalize Seattle, a coalition of groups involved with CHOP and working to increase social spending and cut the city’s police budget

Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone/Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHAZ/CHOP) emerged from struggle and resistance against the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and its East Precinct in defense of Black lives. No single group fought in the streets against cops–instead, many different people from many different belief systems and organizations who all agreed that anti-Black police violence must end struggled together against the SPD and lifted demands for defunding SPD. Following SPD abandoning the East Precinct, thousands of people have helped hold the blocks around the precinct, providing decentralized support to each other. From food tents, to medics, to healing spaces, to political education, CHAZ/CHOP has provided a space to experiment with self-governance and self-determination, without police presence.

Last night’s shooting at CHAZ/CHOP is a tragedy. Our task now is to support the family and community of the person killed, the people injured in the shooting, and the people who witnessed the shooting.

We know that in every neighborhood of our city, violence is a constant. We know that police do not stop violence. We know that violence happens even when the police are present. Less than a year ago, a Black woman was killed on the same block as last night’s shooting, with the East Precinct fully staffed with officers only 200 feet away. The presence of police did not stop that death.

We also know that Seattle police do cause violence, including murdering people like Charleena Lyles, John T. Williams, and many others. Resistance against police violence and calls for a radical shift away from policing is why so many people have engaged with the global and local protests, and with CHAZ/CHOP. Police don’t keep us safe, we keep us safe. Last night’s shooting should redirect us to the task at hand – to defend Black lives by dismantling the Seattle Police Department and investing in real community safety.

We don’t yet know who was responsible for last night’s violence. It could have been carried out by people who know each other, or it could have been carried out by a stranger. We know that most violence occurs between people who know each other, such as family members, romantic partners, and neighbors, and that policing and criminalization are ineffective at preventing or addressing it. We also know that racism and sexism are the causes of enormous violence, and that police violence is a part of that, not a solution. Whatever the cause of last night’s shooting, real solutions do not look like continuing to fund and support the police. If we want to stop violence, we need to resource people and communities in a way this City has never committed to doing. We need people housed, we need people fed, we need healthcare for all, we need childcare for all, and we need real investments in the programs and communities that are developing to replace police responses to violence.

UPDATE 6/23/2020 10:00 PM: KIRO’s Deborah Horne is reporting the story of the second victim. The report details the victim’s account of a previously unreported second shooting perpetrated by group of men at 11th and Pike. “I’m not sure if they were Proud Boys or KKK,” DeJuan Young tells Horne:

SPD and Seattle Fire’s timeline of the night’s events accounts for Young as an unnamed second victim found at 11th and Pike but does not include details specifying a second shooting.

In his interview with KIRO, Young says he was left unprotected because of SPD’s reluctance to enter the protest area.

SPD hasn’t yet publicly responded to the new details reported by KIRO.

UPDATE 10:45 PM: Video from Converge Media and Omari Salisbury shows camp medics searching for and finding shell casings at 11th and Pike where Young was shot. We’ve embedded the video below around the 35:39 mark as Salisbury shows the medics trying to collect evidence from the scene.


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