Seattle police investigating killing in CHAZ autonomous zone

Seattle police on Saturday said they are investigating a shooting in the Capitol Hill neighborhood that left a 19-year-old man dead and another in critical condition. The shooting occurred in what is known as the CHOP —the Capitol Hill Organized Protest Zone — a region of the city with largely no police presence following clashes between police and protestors that led law enforcement to abandon the area. In a statement, police said they were “met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims,” though unofficial medics transported the victims to a local hospital. Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Seattle police are investigating a shooting that left one man dead and another critically injured in the Capitol Hill neighborhood that has turned into a cop-free protest zone in recent weeks.The police department said in a news release that officers had tried to respond to reports of gunfire around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, but were “met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims.” The release said the police department later learned that both victims had been brought to a hospital.A 19-year-old victim was declared dead at a hospital, and a second man is being treated for life-threatening injuries, Seattle Police said. Authorities have not yet released any information about the surviving victim. The region where the shooting occurred is known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest Zone (CHOP) and was set up after police officers from the local East Precinct retreated from the area on June 8 after days-long clashes protesters ended with protestors throwing objects at police and police tear-gassing protestors. There has been little police presence in the area since officers abandoned the precinct. 

The area, also known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), has been largely peaceful in the absence of police, though tensions have sometimes escalated in the nighttime hours,” KOMO reported. “Everybody I’ve talked to feels significantly safer knowing that there aren’t there aren’t police on the streets,” one person living in the CHAZ previously told Insider.The Seattle Police Department’s news release said the shooting victims had been transported to Harborview Medical Center by  “CHOP medics,” it said. According to KOMO, the victims appear to have been transported from the scene to the hospital in private vehicles by citizens acting as “unofficial medics” in the autonomous zone. In video tweeted by KOMO reporter Nick Popham, medics associated with CHOP were seen leaving the hospital with “their fists in the air in solidarity.” 

—Nick Popham (@KOMOPopham) June 20, 2020″Homicide detectives responded and are conducting a thorough investigation, despite the challenges presented by the circumstances,” the statement read.The Seattle Police Department did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment. LoadingSomething is loading.

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