Seattle’s Fire Department responded to a third shooting in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood late Tuesday, transporting two victims who engaged in gun violence on the edges of the CHOP “autonomous zone.”
The Capitol Hill Occupied (or “Ongoing”) Protest, or CHOP, is likely in its final stages as Seattle city officials determine how and when to break up the demonstration, which took over six blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood more than two weeks ago.
Although the CHOP demonstrations were largely peaceful at first, within the last week there have been three shootings, leaving at least one person dead, one in critical condition, and three others with injuries, according to reports.
Long-term residents of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood expressed their frustration with the protests to city officials last week, telling local media that they no longer felt “safe” in the “occupied” neighborhood and threatening to move their homes and businesses from Capitol Hill permanently.
The mayor, members of the city council, and other city officials continued to defend the protests, claiming that a dangerous, unassociated “element” moved into the CHOP at night, disrupting the zone’s “healing” and “educational” environment. Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan even expressed hope that the protests could continue on a more part-time basis.
That may be in jeopardy as of Tuesday when two people were reportedly shot on CHOP’s periphery.
“According to Seattle Police radio updates, police were called to the area on the north end of Cal Anderson near residential apartment buildings around 4:45 AM,” Capitol Hill Seattle reported. “After staging for about five minutes to gather enough officers to enter the area of the protest camp, police reported finding a man who had been shot screaming on the northwest corner of 11th and Denny.”
Seattle FD transported one victim to the hospital. A second victim was, Seattle officials believe, transported to the hospital by a private vehicle, but Seattle FD says they cannot confirm that information.
Police did report, however, that while they were attending to one shooting victim, they heard more shots ring out in the general area of the CHOP protest zone.
“During the police and medic response, more gunfire rang out from the area of the Cal Anderson camp around 5 AM,” Capitol Hill Seattle said. “Police did not enter the area of the protesters but were in contact with organizers, according to radio updates. There were reports that an armed person fired a single shot but no immediate reports of victims.
After CHOP formed, several other “autonomous zones” sprang up in major cities, but few have lasted as long as the Capitol Hill protest. Chicago, Nashville, Asheville, and Portland, all dismantled “autonomous zone” protests within a few hours of their establishment. Late Tuesday night, Washington, D.C., Park Police tangled with protesters in the city’s center and ultimately booted out a “Black House Autonomous Zone” that had taken root across the street from the White House.
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