Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best is condemning the latest round of violence that claimed the life of a teenager near the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” (CHOP) zone early Monday. It was the fourth shooting in or near the CHOP zone in the past 10 days.
A 16-year-old boy died from the shooting and a 14-year-old boy is in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center.
Police responded to the area around 3 a.m. Monday and found a Jeep Cherokee with multiple bullet holes. "Detectives searched the Jeep for evidence, but it was clear the crime scene had been disturbed," according to the SPD blotter.
There are no suspects in custody.
"Enough is enough here," Chief Best said Monday.
"This is something that's going to need to change," Best said about dismantling CHOP. "We're asking that people remove themselves from this area for the safety of the people. If they care about people, they're going to have to try to help us to make it safe."
On June 20, 19-year-old Horace Anderson died from a shooting near the CHOP zone and a 33-year-old man was injured. On June 21, a 17-year-old male was shot and later released from the hospital. On June 23, a man in his 30s was shot in the same neighborhood.
Officers have mostly stayed out of the CHOP zone during the June occupation, but investigators were on scene Monday to investigate the latest shooting.
Detectives are asking for the public's help to learn what led up to the shooting or who fired first. Video cameras in the neighborhood captured a white Jeep driving erratically on a soccer field before crashing into a barrier.
“It is abundantly clear to our detectives people had been in and out of the car after the shooting," Best said. "Detectives have been trying to get information from witnesses, but as has been the case in other crime scenes in this area, people are not being cooperative for our requests for help,"
Best and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan have said officers will return to the East Precinct soon, which was evacuated on June 11. But Seattle officials have not announced a timeline for officers to return to the Capitol Hill precinct.
A spokesperson for Mayor Durkan's office released the following statement Monday afternoon:
"The Mayor and Chief Best have been meeting regularly regarding the situation on Capitol Hill, including last night. Early this morning, there was another shooting on Capitol Hill that resulted in yet another fatality and seriously injured person. SPD and SFD can provide additional details regarding their actions on site.
Most individuals previously participating in the Capitol Hill demonstrations have been peaceful, and have protested in support of the message that all Black Lives Matter. Indeed, over the last month thousands of people, including families, have visited the area and shown their support for the messages of equity and change.
Unfortunately, that message has been undermined by the violence in the area. The area has increasingly attracted more individuals bent on division and violence, and it is risking the lives of individuals. There has been unacceptable behavior by individuals who are preventing city employees from doing their job.
The Mayor met four days ago with many of the demonstrators to discuss her continued safety concerns and asked individuals to depart for their safety and the safety of the community. She also highlighted the work the City is doing to make generational changes in policing and community investments. The violence that has transpired over recent days does not allow us to accomplish this work.
Over the last week, with the city’s help and urging, hundreds of individuals have departed the area. The dozens that still remain at the East Precinct and Cal Anderson Park are also being urged to leave. Multiple service providers and City departments have dispatched a wide range of social services to help individuals with needs move out of Capitol Hill area and if experiencing homelessness, provide access to shelter or temporary housing. In addition, outreach efforts with service providers including health care, food resources, access to COVID-19 testing, and mental and behavioral health services. The City is on site today asking individuals to depart and offering resources.
Over the weekend, artists and demonstrators began cataloguing and removing plywood to preserve art for future installations. Operational planning to remove some barriers and allow vehicle traffic is ongoing. In addition, Seattle Parks and Recreation and Office of Arts & Culture will be working with a range of stakeholders to memorialize at Cal Anderson park aspects of the community protests, such as a garden, art and speaker’s corner.
SFD and SPD’s priority is to ensure the safety of those in and around the Capitol Hill area."