Shooting at a police-free protest zone in northwestern US city of Seattle has killed a teenage man and wounded another person, a police statement said, noting that officers were kept from reaching the victims by protesters.
Seattle’s police department declared in a Saturday press release that when officers responded to reports of gunshots inside the protest zone near downtown – known as the CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) — they “were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims.”
Police further stated in a Twitter post that the shooting occurred at about 3 am, killing the 19-year-old male and injuring another unidentified person, who remained in critical condition as of Saturday.
Local reports also cited the police department as saying that officers were later informed that medics within the protester groups controlling the area transported the two shooting victims to a hospital.
No motives have yet been mentioned for the shooting with Seattle police spokeswoman Sgt Lauren Truscott saying that she did not know if police had taken anyone into custody and had no immediate details about how the shooting broke out.
The police official also noted that investigators were reviewing public-source video and body-camera video for further clues and authorities planned to release more information about the shooting later.
Two males with gunshot wounds arrived in a private vehicle at Harborview medical center following the shooting incident, local press outlets reported citing hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg, who added that the 19-year-old man died and the other individual remained in critical condition in intensive care.
The development came as anti-police brutality protesters have cordoned off several blocks near a police station in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood following protest rallies against police violence since the killing of African-American George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer a few weeks ago.
Local police officers have mostly retreated from the zone after clashes with protesters ended with people throwing objects at police and officers tear gassing the demonstrators and using other crowd control munitions.
This is while city officials have declared that they are still communicating with protest leaders, who had pledged to maintain peace and order in the zone.
The current state of affairs in the major city has drawn the continued ire of US President Donald Trump, who has vowed to possibly deploy the military to deal with the crowds of protesters, prompting Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Washington Governor Jay Inslee – both Democrats – to condemn him.
Source: Press TV