Skip to main content

Seattle police fatally shoot man as Jungle homeless camp clears out

caption: Scene at the Jungle on Tuesday after an officer-involved shooting was reported on Tuesday early afternoon.
Enlarge Icon
Scene at the Jungle on Tuesday after an officer-involved shooting was reported on Tuesday early afternoon.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle police officers shot a man on Tuesday afternoon in the Jungle, just as workers started a sweep of the notorious homeless camp under Interstate 5. The man was transported to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition and has died, according to AP.

Around 12:45 p.m., two veteran police officers encountered two individuals in the Jungle. During that meeting, police shot one of the men.

A bystander said he heard five shots.

The man who was shot was placed on a stretcher attached to the back of an electric golf cart driven by the Seattle Fire Department. Emergency responders tried to resuscitate him as they drove out of the Jungle.

The second individual was walked out of the Jungle with an apparent knife wound to his hand. Both were taken to Harborview Medical Center.

The Jungle, which has housed roughly 400 people, was an unofficial tent city for decades, possibly since the hobo jungle days of the 1930s. City and state officials have been clearing out the encampment slowly over the last months and began a final sweep on Tuesday.

The Jungle became a focus for Mayor Ed Murray as he declared homelessness a state of emergency in Seattle. It sprang into city consciousness in January, when two people were killed and three wounded in a nighttime shooting.

On Tuesday, Seattle police would not say if the individuals threatened officers, or explain why those officers pulled out their guns.

A spokesperson said that one officer was injured, likely by a knife. The officer was not immediately taken the hospital, however. A knife from the scene was recovered.

Whether the officers were part of the Jungle clearing, or if they happened to be nearby remains unclear.

Someone who lives in the Jungle said the man who was shot was kind and gentle and would never draw a weapon on anyone. Remaining residents of the Jungle said the two individuals lived there.

The final sweep of the Jungle has been suspended for the day.

Why you can trust KUOW