SEATTLE (AP) – One man was killed and a teenager was injured early Monday in Seattle’s “occupied” protest zone – the second fatal shooting in the area that local officials have vowed to change following corporate complaints and criticism from President Donald Trump.
The violence that occurred in the zone just over a week after a new shooting killed one person and injured the other, “dangerous and unacceptable,” said police chief Carmen Best.
“Enough is enough,” Best told journalists. “We need to get back into the area.”
Protesters have occupied several blocks around East Precinct in Seattle and a park for about two weeks after police left the district following deadlock and clashes with protesters calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.
Witnesses reported seeing a white Jeep SUV at one of the makeshift barriers around the protest zone at about 3:00 AM Monday just before the shooting, a police statement said.
Callers to the emergency center said several people had fired shots into the vehicle. Police said two people who were likely to be occupants of the vehicle were taken to a local hospital.
A man was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center. The second victim, a 14-year-old boy, was hospitalized with gunshot wounds. He was reported in critical condition.
“Detectives searched the Jeep for evidence, but it was clear the crime scene had been disrupted,” the police statement said.
In the previous fatal shooting in the zone, a 19-year-old man was killed on June 20 and a 33-year-old man was injured.
Best of all, the shootings obscure the message of racial justice protesters say they promote.
Two African American men are dead in a place where they claim to work for Black Lives Matter. But they’re gone, they’re dead now, “said the chief of police.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said last week that the city would attempt to dismantle the area called the ‘Capitol Hill Organized Protest’ area. City workers attempted to clear the makeshift barriers around the area on Friday, but quit work after protesters raised objections.
Nearby businesses and property owners filed a federal lawsuit against the city last Wednesday, alleging that officials have been too tolerant of those who created the zone and that officials have deprived property owners of their property rights by letting the zone survival.
The entrepreneurs said they were not trying to undermine the protesters’ anti-police violence and Black Lives Matter reports.
But the owners said they have suffered because the creation of the zone has limited their access to their businesses, and some owners who try to clean graffiti from their storefronts or photograph protesters are under threat.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the protest area and Seattle city leaders, saying the zone is managed by “anarchists.”
Some protesters in the occupied zone say the demonstration is not the reason for the shootings.
“The bloodshed you’re talking about has nothing to do with the movement,” 43-year-old Antwan Bolar told The Seattle Times. “Those are people who would have done it in North Seattle or South Seattle anyway – it’s just concentrated here.”
Associated Press reporters Chris Grygiel and Gene Johnson contributed to this report.
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