Seattle’s Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone is making more news with the Monday morning fatal shooting of a 16-year-old youth and the wounding of a 14-year-old boy, the second fatality in a week, and so far there are no arrests in any of the shootings, according to KIRO News.
The previous weekend saw three shootings with at least five people hit, including one fatality. Critics of the CHOP zone—an area of six blocks including a popular city park, and the Seattle Police Department’s currently-abandoned East Precinct—are demanding an end to the occupation. This should have been expected, many of those critics argue, when protesters gained a foothold and police closed the precinct.
According to MyNorthwest.com, the shooting occurred very early Monday and the 16-year-old victim arrived at Harborview Medical Center around 3:15 a.m. That victim died. The younger teen arrived about 15 minutes later.
During a press conference later Monday morning, Police Chief Carmen Best told reporters, “Enough is enough…This isn’t safe for anybody.”
Seattle police investigators have impounded a white Jeep that was reportedly riddled with bullets, but the evidence appears to have been tampered with, according to Best, as reported by KING News.
She was also quoted by KOMO News, stating, “Two African-American men…dead at a place where they claim to be working for Black Lives Matter but they’re gone. They’re dead now. And we’ve had multiple other incidents—assaults, rapes, robbery, shootings—so this is something that’s going to need to change.”
Just how the city hopes to bring about that change seems elusive.
Details have been sketchy, and the Daily Mail is reporting that protesters in the CHOP zone “claimed the shooting unfolded only after the vehicle plowed into the CHOP zone and those inside the car started shooting. Those inside the zone say CHOP security guards, who are self-appointed and heavily armed, then returned fire.”
It’s not clear if any weapons were recovered from the vehicle, but if “CHOP security” returned fire, as the Daily Mail is reporting, it may be a matter of self-defense, although those self-appointed “security” people are not commissioned law enforcement and they have no authority. Washington State is an open carry state, and has a healthy number of active concealed pistol licenses.
However, Washington use-of-force statutes justify the use of lethal force “when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished; or
“In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his or her presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode, in which he or she is.”
If someone opened fire from the vehicle, it could be justifiable to return fire. That will have to be sorted out by investigators and the King County Prosecutor.