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1 teen dead, 1 wounded in shooting at Seattle's CHOP

One teenager is dead and another is in critical condition after a shooting early Monday morning in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone.

Seattle police say that multiple 911 calls came in about gunshots near 12th Avenue between Pike and Pine Streets shortly after 3 a.m. when a vehicle drove through the CHOP and was fired upon. Two victims were inside the vehicle which crashed into concrete barriers at the edge of the protest zone.

According to SPD, 911 callers reported that several people fired into a white Jeep Cherokee SUV. One 16-year-old boy died and a 14-year-old boy is being treated for gunshot wounds at a hospital after the shooting, according to Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best. Police had earlier reported that the person who died was an adult. Both victims were Black.

“We are not sure who shot at the car or why they shot at the car," Chief Best said Monday morning. "Detectives are searching social media, hoping someone has information and will come forward."

"The typical things we search for in a case like this, in a shooting like this, weren’t there," she added about the scene around the vehicle. "It is abundantly clear to our detectives that people had been in and out of the car after the shooting. Detectives are trying to get in information from witnesses, but as has been the case in other crime scenes up in this area, people are not being cooperative with our requests for help.”

Information can be called into SPD's tip line: 206-233-5000.

A spokesperson for Harborview Medical Center’s Emergency Department said a private vehicle brought in the first gunshot victim at about 3:15 a.m., and Seattle Fire Department medics brought in the second about 3:30 p.m. (Seattle police report that private vehicles brought both victims to the hospital.).

Video streamed by Omari Salisbury on Facebook showed a Jeep SUV smashed into a cement barrier. Bullet holes were visible in the windshield, and the passenger side window was smashed out.

It was unclear how the shooting unfolded, but bystanders told Salisbury that the vehicle had driven wildly through CHOP, including through the nearby park.

See Salisbury's video on Facebook:

Medic on the scene

According to Marty Jackson, a volunteer medic in the CHOP, he heard gunshots while he was in his tent early Monday morning. He initially thought the sounds were fireworks, but soon concluded that something else was going on. He left the tent and eventually witnessed a white SUV driving extremely fast through Cal Anderson Park. The vehicle did not hit anyone.

After the car drove out-of-sight, Jackson said he heard more gunshots near the East Precinct at 12th and Pine. The sounds were followed by calls for medics. When he arrived on scene,he found two gunshot victims. Others were tending to a person with wounds; it appeared to him that person was going to be OK. But the other person was shot in the head, he says.

"And so when I arrived up there, I see the guy that got shot in the head and I started doing, you know, medical work on him," Jackson said, noting that other medics said the man with a head wound was not in critical condition. ".... The guy that I'm working on got shot in the face twice -- once in temple, once in the jaw. Probably four or five times in the arm and then once on the side."

He started doing CPR and the patient took a deep breath. He also started to wrap the patient's head with gauze.

Each patient was placed in a car and sent to find firefighters or paramedics while en route to the hospital. He says it was difficult to get city medical personnel to respond to them.

".... it took us probably 15 minutes just chasing one paramedic around that was supposed to be waiting for us on 14th and Union -- and once we got to him, he and the chief looked directly at me on top of the car covered in blood, and they look at each other and they bust a u-turn and they start speeding down the road. And then we finally catch up with the paramedics, they're like three or four blocks away from us. So we finally catch up to them, they see us and they take off again. And so we're in another high speed chase with the paramedics .... I yelled to 'go straight to the hospital.'"

Eventually, Jackson's car saw a group of firefighters and paramedics in a parking lot. They pulled over.

"I jumped off the top of the car and I went to go see how the guy that got shot in face was doing," he said. "By the time they got to the car, he died. There was no heart-to-heart resuscitation done by the paramedics, nothing, they just bagged him up."

"It was a lot by the end of the night ... I was covered from head to toe in blood," he said, further commenting that he feels the CHOP medical staff did not act quickly enough in the situation.

"It's all because we weren't going fast enough. I'm shouting 'put him in a car,' someone else is shouting 'no bandage him up.' I'm like 'fuck that, he needs to be in a car now.' Other people are like 'no he needs to be bandaged first.' To me, it was communication between the medical staff."

Jackson said he recognized the shooting victims; they had hung around the CHOP over previous nights. He also said the CHOP's security are the ones who fired on the SUV after it crashed into a concrete barrier.

At the end of the incident, Jackson estimates that about 300 rounds were fired in the CHOP over Monday morning.

Jackson said that, in his perspective, people should stop coming to the CHOP.

"Because now it's like pretty much an active war zone. Now you have security and medical always looking around waiting to see the next .... I don't think we're gonna stop here. Like tonight, we may have another one. Because for some reason, the first night (we had a shooting), we had two shot and then the following night, one person got shot. So I feel like it's probably going to be a pattern."

"If we continue to stay here, we continue making ourselves a target and it makes medical and security harder, the more people come out here, you know, the more we have to watch after ... you know, we've been having fights, you know, we've been having, you know, weapons, strong gun shots."

Chief Best comments on incidents at the CHOP

caption: Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best stands in front of the Seattle Police Department's abandoned East Precinct building during a press conference on Monday, June 29, 2020, inside the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, CHOP, in Seattle. Earlier in the morning, a 16-year-old boy was killed and a 14-year-old boy was critically injured in a shooting.
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Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best stands in front of the Seattle Police Department's abandoned East Precinct building during a press conference on Monday, June 29, 2020, inside the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone, CHOP, in Seattle. Earlier in the morning, a 16-year-old boy was killed and a 14-year-old boy was critically injured in a shooting.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Monday's incident is at least the fourth shooting in or near CHOP since Saturday, June 20.

Saying "enough is enough," Chief Best argued Monday morning that if people care about others, and for safety, they should leave the CHOP.

“It is very unfortunate that we have yet another murder at this area identified as the CHOP,” Best said. “Two African American men, dead, at a place where they claim to be working for Black Lives Matter. But they are gone. They are dead now. And we have had multiple other incidents – assaults, rape, robbery, and shootings."

"We are asking that people remove themselves from this area, for the safety of the people," she said. "...they certainly can demonstrate peacefully any place. But they can't hostilely take over a neighborhood and cause crime levels to go up like this. Two men are dead, and a child, a 14-year-old, is hospitalized ... enough is enough here."

Best further commented that it is taking police about 3.5 times longer to respond to calls in the area around the CHOP, and that a fire station located two blocks away cannot get into the area.

"As an African American woman, with uncles and brothers, I wouldn't want them to be in this area," Best said. "We've had two men killed and we have a child who is injured from gunfire. This is a real problem. And I would question why we would continue to allow this to happen."

While Chief Best was speaking with the press, protesters frequently shouted from the side, and blasted alarms on a megaphone.

"That is so rude," she said. "This is what I'm talking about. This kind of behavior is irrational and unacceptable."

After Best's address, activists at the CHOP told independent journalist Omari Salisbury that the chief has abandoned the community.

There has been no clear pattern to the violence at or near the CHOP. Some reports involved extreme right wing groups targeting the area. One infamous brawler, Tusitala "Tiny" Toese, from the Vancouver area was spotted assaulting a man near the protest zone. Toese is associated with the Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, and other right wing groups. He was later arrested in Portland for violating conditions of his probation which prohibit him from leaving Clark County and attending demonstrations (where he often engaged in fighting).

Another shooting victim, DeJuan Young, told KIRO 7 that a group of men shot him outside the protest zone near 11th and Pike Street. Young told KIRO 7: “So basically I was shot by, I’m not sure if they’re ‘Proud Boys’ or KKK. But the verbiage that they said was hold this ‘N-----’ and shot me.”

Other reports and livestreams indicate that fighting has frequently erupted during late night hours in the CHOP. Some activists have responded to this by attempting to establish rules for where people can party and consume alcohol/drugs, and setting protest zone hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Sunday night demonstration

The shooting happened hours after hundreds of people marched from Magnuson Park to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s home Sunday evening.

Organizers reminded people to stay on public property and in the street. The march was peaceful, and streets were shut down as people marched, but no police arrived.

People chanted a call for Durkan to resign. But a spokesperson said she was at City Hall at the time of the protest with Best. But City Councilmember Kshama Sawant was at the protest and said if the mayor doesn’t resign she’ll introduce articles of impeachment.

Durkan held a closed-door meeting with a few activists on Friday. CHOP organizers say she talked about bringing police back into the CHOP peacefully and about her proposal to cut the police budget by 5%.

Some barricades have been moved and the city is trying to slowly re-open the area to traffic, but police haven’t tried to forcibly remove people.

Still, protesters have seemed adamant about their demands. They want Seattle police funding cut by 50 percent or more; release activists arrested during the protest, re-investment in Black communities, education and social services; and for Durkan to resign.

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