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‘They’re kids’ — 19-year-old remembered in the aftermath of Capitol Hill protest zone shooting

A memorial to AndersonThe 19-year-old shot and killed at the corner of 10th and Pine early Saturday morning has been identified by friends and loved ones as Lorenzo Anderson.

While his killing became an international story amid Seattle’s ongoing Black Lives Matter demonstrations and the protest camp that has grown on Capitol Hill, those that knew Anderson saw a different sort of tragedy than the versions being spun for political ends Saturday.

“They’re kids,” Renton High School dean of students and head basketball coach Rashaad Powell tells CHS. “This is my tenth year as an educator. Over the course of 10 years, there have been double digits of young people we lost.”

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Police continue to investigate the shooting early Saturday morning on the edge of the CHOP camp that left Anderson dying on the sidewalk in front of the Molly Moon’s ice cream shop and sent a second victim to Harborview in critical condition. UPDATE 6/23/2020: New details of a possible separate shooting that involved the second victim have emerged.

“I do not know the circumstances that led to what happened last night in the CHAZ/CHOP, but I know from the day I met the young man who lost his life this morning, it was never anything but LOVE when he saw me or when we interacted,” Powell wrote on social media about Anderson’s death.

“One of the toughest parts of working in a school is the realization that you cannot save the world,” Powell writes. “In the process of trying, you will meet these great young people who have infinite potential and are good people, and unfortunately, some of their lives will be cut short to violence. This I will never understand.”

The circumstances of the shooting are still not known but early attempts by some to frame the murder only in terms of the protests and the CHOP camp now seem short-sighted.

“Though we await confirmation of the details of the killing, there are indications that this may have been a right-wing attack,” Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant said in a statement issued Saturday afternoon.

Mayor Jenny Durkan, meanwhile, has said little publicly about the incident.

While the specifics of what brought Anderson to CHOP and what led to the gun violence are still not clear, friends and people close to the situation say the shooting was not random and that Anderson was targeted because of a personal beef.

Seattle Police have not announced any arrests in the case and have asked for the public’s help. You can dial 911 or call SPD’s Violent Crime tip line at (206) 233-5000 with information.

The department’s response has been heavily criticized as officers staged near the shooting scene and marched in as a large group with shields and riot gear after valuable minutes had elapsed. SPD has cleared out the nearby East Precinct headquarters and has declined to respond to most non-life threatening 911 dispatches in the area around the CHOP camp at Cal Anderson.

Saturday, SPD took the unusual step of posting an edited video that shows social media streams along with officer worn body video of the scene around the shooting as it occurred. 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.

Late Sunday, the Seattle Fire Department issued a statement that clarified why its medics were delayed in responding to the chaos of the shooting scene as protest camp volunteer medics struggled to keep Anderson alive. “Our crews do not have training to go into a volatile situation to extract patients, which is why we have instructed people to bring the patients to the perimeter of the crowd or transport in a private vehicle to the hospital to expedite medical treatment,” the statement reads.

At CHOP, volunteers posted a letter documenting a community effort at the camp to address safety concerns. “First, we would like to acknowledge that no organizations, protests, or revolutions are perfect,” it begins. “We must all be willing to collectively learn and react quickly to mistakes within our movement. We do not want to see what was started with the intention of lifting the BLM message destroy before us all. We want to learn and react now.”

Included in the community recommendations are efforts to reduce drug and alcohol use within CHOP, overnight quiet hours that focus camp activities between 8 AM and 8 PM, and improved communications for volunteer teams including medics and security within the camp.

Meanwhile, some at the camp marked Anderson’s death early Sunday morning with a burst of fireworks around Cal Anderson Park.

UPDATE 6/23/2020: Anderson’s mother Donnitta Sinclair talked with Converge Media about his death and her call for justice:

For Renton High, his murder means another young person that community has lost. Powell said the deaths challenge him. He tells CHS the loss of young people to gun violence is something that has been part of his life well before he became an educator when he lost his best friend in a 2001 shooting.

At Renton High, Powell says Anderson was a chipper, typical kid who liked to talk music and sports. “It’s sad because he had so many things he wanted to do. I know a lot of his peers –they are very sad. It’s crushing,” Powell said.

Anderson was an aspiring hip hop artist. His lilMOB Soundcloud account hosts 53 tracks, most featuring a lazy, smoky flow of mumbly lines and rhymes with a healthy dose of Auto-Tune. His most popular song has been played nearly 3,000 times. There are few comments on the older tracks but the latest are beginning to fill with RIP messages and condolences.

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7 thoughts on “‘They’re kids’ — 19-year-old remembered in the aftermath of Capitol Hill protest zone shooting” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Last night the CHOP-issued referred to the shootings as probably gang activity related. Why did Comrade Sawant jump to the “Right Wing Extremist” story? I believe CHOP.

    • It is totally irresponsible of Sawant to say that this might have been a right-wing attack, when she doesn’t have a shred of evidence that this is true. But, then, she has to always tried to grab a media headline, hasn’t she?

      Only the SPD can determine what happened and who was responsible. Yes, the same SPD that Sawant wants to defund.

      • SPD spins the truth as well. Sawant said “maybe” and probably to make sure that angle was investigated in case it’s true. But it might not be, and Gang Unit doesn’t necessarily confirm it was gang related either, just the best unit to respond in SPDs eyes. Facts need time to be gathered, but can be interpreted in so many ways. People are STILL referring to Antifa as some organized group which shows how these things may never have the truth come out.

      • escapeartista – The possibility that the shooting was perpetrated by the far right was the only possibility Sawant would consider, and she went on and on about it. If you are actually justifying / excusing Sawant’s use of this murder for her own agenda, then you have become what you hate.

  2. You have a self-professed Deuce 8 gang member handing out firearms and anyone wonders why this devolves in to murder?

  3. Having lived on Capitol Hill 40 years ago, it saddens me to see how this CHAZ – CHOP has evolved. Or should I say, devolved. Kids hanging out at the park at 2 AM, armaments available, angry words spoken over some mundane topic while (perhaps) intoxicated or buzzed….
    Autonomous Zone or Lord of the Flies sort of petri dish … ? I guess time will tell.

  4. Someone gets killed and they essentially shrug it off. Funny how Sawant demands that SPD conduct a full investigation…need the police sometimes after all I guess. Also, that letter…now they want “safe use sites” on the perimeter? Why not? The whole neighborhood has gone to shit. Can’t even get a full night’s sleep because they’re setting off fireworks at 3am. No consideration for people in the neighborhood with PTSD or anxiety, not to mention all the freaked out dogs.. So now we know what happens in a police-free zone: two shootings, property destruction, drug/alcohol use, garbage in the streets. You know, Black Lives do Matter, and more funding should be re-directed from the police to social services. I’m pretty damn liberal, but it’s getting really hard to stay on board with this.