Story at a glance
- One person is dead and another in critical condition after a shooting in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.
- Seattle Police have released surveillance video of their response to the shooting.
- Police said both that protestors blocked ”safe access” to the victims and also that the victims were no longer at the scene when they arrived.
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) have released video footage of their response to a shooting in the city’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) — an approximately six-block area of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood ceded to protestors following the police killing of George Floyd and where no law enforcement are allowed — over the weekend.
Police said they received a report of shots fired in Cal Anderson Park, within the area SPD calls the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), at about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday. A 19-year-old man was killed and another is in critical condition, according to the latest update from SPD.
In their original report, Seattle police said, “officers attempted to locate a shooting victim but were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims.”
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The victims, however, had already been taken to a local hospital by CHOP medics, the police report said. Officers said they “were later informed” of this, but the video footage shows that protesters told officers that the victims were no longer on the scene when they arrived.
The released compilation includes officers’ body-worn camera footage and other open-source videos. After about seven gunshots are heard, SPD officers are seen gathering and equipping themselves with shields. As they enter the area, a voice on a megaphone is heard saying, “please move out of the way so we can get to the victims.”
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Right after, voices can be heard yelling back, “they’re gone,” and “they already left.” The group of at least seven police officers continue down the street, encountering more and more people yelling at them, some telling them the victims had already been taken to the hospital and others asking the officers to put down their weapons. Officers continue walking until they reach an area where many people have gathered, after which they return to their cars and leave the scene.
“They were faced with a hostile crowd and made a tactical decision to leave the area for the officers’ safety and for the safety of the crowd,” Sgt. Lauren Truscott, a Seattle police spokeswoman, told the Seattle Times.
Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who chairs the council’s public safety committee, told the Seattle Times in a texted statement she rejected “the narrative that the mood of the crowd prevented the SPD from reaching the victims…” However, she also wrote that she understands and appreciates that CHOP leaders “have been meeting in recognition that this is not a sustainable situation,” pointing to “the presence of large numbers of people” gathering at night, including some with guns, as a barrier to access by Fire Department medics.
The shooting is still under investigation, as well as reports of another shooting on Sunday night. A 17-year-old boy was injured and treated for a gunshot wound at a local hospital, but additional details have not yet been released.
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