SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department has released the bodycam footage of officers responding to a fatal shooting in the so-called CHOP zone early Saturday and being swarmed by what they called “a violent crowd” that prevented police from reaching the scene, particularly since they are prohibited from using less lethal options.
Officers responded around 2:30 a.m. to shots fired in Cal Anderson Park, which lies inside an area of several blocks that demonstrators in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood cordoned off and dubbed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP zone.
The shooting inside the protest zone killed a 19-year-old man and left another male with life-threatening injuries, police said in a post on its blotter Saturday.
Police bodycam footage shows officers arriving and moving through the zone with guns drawn as a group of angry protesters yell profanities and approach the officers.
“This is inside the area referred to as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP),” the department said. “Officers attempted to locate a shooting victim but were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers’ safe access to the victims.”
An officer in the video can be heard saying through a bullhorn: “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!”
Several protesters can be heard yelling at the officers to “put your guns down!” They can also be heard telling officers the victims had already been taken to the hospital, Fox News reported.
Officers later learned that both victims had been taken to a local hospital by people within the zone. One male was in ICU while the other died from his injuries.
No suspects have been arrested and investigators had no description of the shooter or shooters as of Saturday afternoon, police said.
“Homicide detectives responded and are conducting a thorough investigation, despite the challenges presented by the circumstances,” police said.
Following reports of the shooting, Seattle Police Officers Guild President Michael Solan 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.”
The circumstances have left many questioning the leadership void in Seattle.
Asked about the shooting Saturday, Gov. Jay Inslee said “we need to have a way for the community to have a way to speak and for police and fire services to be provided.”
“One way or another, we obviously need to provide a way to offer protection for people, and that’s a necessity,” Inslee added.