The Seattle Police Department released the body camera footage of officers responding to a fatal shooting in the so-called CHOP, or Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone, over the weekend.
“This is inside the area referred to as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP),” the department wrote in a statement. “Officers attempted to locate a shooting victim but were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers’ safe access to the victims.”
Officers responded to reports of shots fired at Cal Anderson Park, located in the area of CHOP, which demonstrators blocked off earlier this month following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. The Seattle Police Department effectively abandoned its East Precinct, located on Capitol Hill, following nights of protests and unrest.
The department confirmed that the shooting killed a 19-year-old man and left another person with life-threatening injuries.
The body camera footage showed officers arriving before heading through the zone with guns drawn as angry occupiers yell profanities and approach the officers.
An officer in the video can be heard yelling, “Please move out of the way so we can get to the victim! All we want to do is get to the victim and provide them aid!”
Protesters are then heard telling the police to “put your guns down.”
The two victims were already taken to Harborview Medical Center by CHOP “medics,” said the department, adding that a “suspect or suspect(s) fled and are still at large. There is no description at this time.”
“Homicide detectives responded and are conducting a thorough investigation, despite the challenges presented by the circumstances,” the department added.
Two males with gunshot wounds were taken via private vehicles to the Harborview Medical Center at around 3 a.m., hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg told The Associated Press. A 19-year-old man died, and the other person was in critical condition, Gregg said.
The president of the union representing a Seattle police union told Fox News that “violence has now besieged the area known as CHOP, and it is no longer the summer of love, it’s the summer of chaos.” He was referring to the flowery “summer of love” comment made by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan earlier this month when she described the autonomous zone.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee told reporters that in response to the shooting, “I certainly believe we have to find a way to simultaneously have the community a chance to speak and for police services and importantly fire services to people to be able to be provided. Clearly we need to have a way to provide adequate police and fire protection everywhere in the state of WA including in that area.”
Over the weekend, the New York Post published a written, first-hand account from journalist Andy Ngo, who has long documented the far-left militant group Antifa throughout the Pacific Northwest, about CHOP. Because of a lack of “agreed-upon leadership,” he wrote, “those who have naturally risen to the top have done so with force or intimidation.”
“Though CHAZ claims to have no rules, it quickly developed a complex code of conduct that varied from zone to zone and even the time of the day. For example, those in the garden area, who are mostly white, need to make sure they do not ‘recolonize’ the space,” Ngo wrote, as he detailed random acts of violence in the zone.