SEATTLE (AP) — One man was killed and and a teenager was wounded early Monday in Seattle’s “occupied” protest zone — the second deadly shooting in the area that local officials have vowed to change after business complaints and criticism from President Donald Trump.
The violence that came just over a week after another shooting in the zone left one person dead and another wounded was “dangerous and unacceptable” said Police Chief Carmen Best.
“Enough is enough,” Best told reporters. “We need to be able to get back into the area.”
Demonstrators have occupied several blocks around the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct and a park for about two weeks after police abandoned the precinct following standoffs and clashes with protesters calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.
Witnesses reported seeing a white Jeep SUV near one of the makeshift barriers around the protest zone about 3 a.m. Monday, just before the shooting, a police statement said.
Callers to 911 said several people fired shots into the vehicle and police said that two people who were probably the occupants of the vehicle were transported to a local hospital.
A man was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center. The second victim, a 14-year-old male, was hospitalized with gunshot injuries. He was reported in critical condition.
“Detectives searched the Jeep for evidence, but it was clear the crime scene had been disturbed,” 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 wounded.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said last week that the city would start trying to dismantle what has been named the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” area. City workers on Friday tried to remove makeshift barriers erected around the area but stopped their work after demonstrators objected.
Nearby businesses and property owners filed a federal lawsuit against the city last Wednesday, claiming officials have been too tolerant of those who created the zone and that officials have deprived property owners of their property rights by allowing the zone to continue existing.
The business owners said they were not trying to undermine the protesters’ anti-police-brutality and Black Lives Matter messages.
But the owners said they have suffered because the creation of the zone has limited their access to their businesses and that some owners trying clean graffiti from their storefronts or attempting to photograph protesters have been threatened.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the Seattle protest area and city leaders, saying the zone is run by “anarchists.”