The Seattle Police Department said it is trying to determine the motive of a driver who struck two Black Lives Matter protesters who were part of a crowd of protesters blocking Interstate 5.
Summer Taylor, 24, was killed when the driver, Dawit Kelete, drove around vehicles that blocked I-5 and hit the crowd at around 1:40 a.m., a police report said. Video footage showed people yelling, “Car! Car!” before the car struck Taylor and Diaz Love, 32.
Officials said in a news conference that they are trying to figure out where Kelete got onto the interstate and are seeking a possible motive. Authorities said they suspected that he drove the wrong way onto the ramp and went through a barrier to close down that section of the freeway.
Kelete was booked into the King County Jail and was held without bail. He is being investigated for two counts of vehicular assault, Van Cleave said.
"Early this morning two women were hit by a car and very seriously injured while peacefully protesting. Many others were almost hit and witnessed this horrific event. Our city stands beside their friends, families and loved ones in praying for these women and all who were there,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan wrote on Twitter.
State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead said in a statement that it’s not wise for pedestrians to be on the interstate.
Seattle has been embroiled in unrest since the death of George Floyd in police custody in late May, with protesters, anarchists, and self-described Marxists setting up an "autonomous zone" in the Capitol Hill area. Police and city workers last week dismantled the area.