Seattle, WA – A mob of people blocked officers from being able to respond to a shooting which left one person dead and another in critical condition early Saturday morning.
The shooting occurred in Seattle’s “autonomous zone,” currently referred to as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), which was previously known as Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ).
The incident occurred in the area of 10th Avenue and East Pine street at around 2:30 a.m., according to Seattle Police Department.
East precinct officers responded to a report of shots fired at Cal Anderson Park.
Once officers arrived, they were met by a “violent” mob who prevented officers from accessing the victims, according to police.
The officers later learned that the shooting victims have been transported to the hospital by CHOP community “medics.”
There are no qualifications required to declare yourself a medic in the CHOP.
When police arrived at Harborview Medical Center, they discovered a 19-year-old male shooting victim was deceased, according to police.
A second male shooting victim is in critical condition.
The suspect or suspects escaped after the shooting.
There is no description of the shooter(s) and people in the CHOP are not cooperating with authorities.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has repeatedly defended the CHOP as a peaceful protest and said that it could continue indefinitely and be the “summer of love.”
Seattle Police Officers Guild Michael Solan told Fox & Friends that it appears to be more like the “summer of chaos, according to Fox News.
“Early this morning, that violence was raw and real where one of our community members lost their life and police are still not allowed into that area and were prevented to providing that police service to the area to locate victors and/or render aid. [It’s] very troubling what’s going on,” Solan told Fox & Friends.
“It can’t stand in America, and this is a direct result of city leadership, elected officials failing the reasonable community of Seattle to enforce the rule of law. And, this just isn’t the area occupied in a six-block zone where police are still forbidden and still don’t have their East precinct. This is now impacting our entire city,” Solan said.
If the city ever gets the will to clear out the CHOP, doing so will be especially difficult after city leaders voted to ban Seattle police officers from possessing crowd control weapons.
The city council ban prohibits police officer possession of blast balls, “foam-tipped projectiles,” flash-bang grenades or CS tear gas, regardless of the situation, the Seattle Patch reported.
Water cannons, various acoustic devices, and other weapons capable of causing discomfort or pain to a group of people are also included in the bill.
The ban also includes the use OC pepper spray on crowds, but would be permitted to use the spray if they catch someone in the middle of committing a crime or if a suspect is “presenting an imminent danger to others,” as long as no bystanders are exposed when it is deployed, the Seattle Patch reported.
Some of the people within CHOP are openly carrying firearms.
Socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who sponsored the bills, said that the measures are the “absolute bare minimum” actions the council could take as they work to defund the Seattle Police Department (SPD), according to the Seattle Patch.
Councilmember Lisa Herbold originally attempted to amend the bill by limiting the ban to crowd dispersal only, but the modification was shot down after Sawant and protesters denounced it.
“Passing legislation is not going to be enough, but yet it is crucially important for the movement to hold elected officials accountable,” Sawant told the Seattle Patch. “It is about not allowing police to have possession of these weapons, and that is related to the fact that we cannot trust them.”
The ongoing lawlessness is not just restricted to the area within the CHOP.
On Monday, a business outside of, but near the CHOP, was burglarized and set on fire; first responders never came.
John McDermott, co-owner of Car Tender, told KING that he was alerted to a break-in at his business early on Monday morning and called 911 as he and his son drove to the shop to see what had happened.
McDermott told KIRO that the burglar smashed a window to get inside the auto shop.
“Broke into the building, set fire to the front counter,” he said.
The business owner and his son said that the burglar poured hand sanitizer on a cassette tape, pulled out the film, poured hand sanitizer over it on the counter, and the set the whole thing ablaze.
McDermott said he and his son, Mason, arrived right after the suspect started the fire and were able to extinguish it fast, KIRO reported.
The suspect fled from the south side of the building and Mason took off after him.
“I chased him down and as soon as I came face-to-face, he came at me so I put him on the ground,” Mason McDermott said.
He told KIRO that he held the arsonist down while his father called 911, over and over again.
Mason said the suspect struggled to escape.
“At some point, he tried to cut me with a box cutter,” Mason said, pointing to where the knife had slashed his pants.
His father said he called the police emergency number 19 times, KIRO reported.
“They alluded they were sending someone… finally said they weren’t going to send somebody,” McDermott said.
“I don’t know what to expect next. If you can’t call the police department, you can’t call the fire department to respond, what do you have?” the business owner asked. “Heartbroken. I mean, they are the cavalry.”