Free-fire ‘zone’

2nd shoot in no-cop area leaves man dead, boy hurt

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY LISA BAUMANN

SEAT­TLE — One man was killed and a teenager was wounded early Mon­day in Seat­tle’s “oc­cu­pied” protest zone — the sec­ond deadly shoot­ing in the area that lo­cal of­fi­cials have vowed to change af­ter busi­ness com­plaints and crit­i­cism from Pres­i­dent Trump.

The vi­o­lence that came just over a week af­ter an­other shoot­ing in the zone left one per­son dead and an­other wounded was “dan­ger­ous and un­ac­cept­able” Po­lice Chief Car­men Best said.

“Enough is enough,” Best told re­porters. “We need to be able to get back into the area.”

De­mon­stra­tors have oc­cu­pied sev­eral blocks around the Seat­tle Po­lice Depart­ment’s East Precinct and a park for about two weeks af­ter po­lice aban­doned the precinct fol­low­ing stand­offs and clashes with pro­test­ers call­ing for racial jus­tice and an end to po­lice bru­tal­ity.

Wit­nesses re­ported see­ing a white Jeep near one of the makeshift bar­ri­ers around the protest zone about 3 a.m. Mon­day, just be­fore the shoot­ing, a po­lice state­ment said.

Call­ers to 911 said sev­eral peo­ple fired shots into the ve­hi­cle. Po­lice said two peo­ple who were prob­a­bly the oc­cu­pants of the ve­hi­cle were trans­ported to a lo­cal hos­pi­tal.

A man was pro­nounced dead at Har­borview Med­i­cal Cen­ter. The sec­ond vic­tim, a 14-year-old boy, was hos­pi­tal­ized with gun­shot in­juries. He was re­ported in crit­i­cal con­di­tion.

“De­tec­tives searched the Jeep for ev­i­dence, but it was clear the crime scene had been dis­turbed,” the po­lice state­ment said.

In the pre­vi­ous fa­tal shoot­ing in the zone, a 19-year-old man was killed June 20 and a 33-year-old man was wounded.

Best said that the shoot­ings are ob­scur­ing the mes­sage of racial jus­tice that pro­test­ers say they are pro­mot­ing.

“Two African-Amer­i­can men are dead, at a place where they claim to be work­ing for Black Lives Mat­ter. But they’re gone, they’re dead now,” the po­lice chief said.

Mayor Jenny Durkan said last week that the city would start try­ing to dis­man­tle what has been named the “Capi­tol Hill Or­ga­nized

Protest” area. City work­ers on Fri­day tried to re­move makeshift bar­ri­ers erected around the area but stopped their work af­ter de­mon­stra­tors ob­jected.

Nearby busi­nesses and prop­erty own­ers filed a fed­eral law­suit against the city last Wed­nes­day, claim­ing of­fi­cials have been too tol­er­ant of those who cre­ated the zone and that of­fi­cials have de­prived prop­erty own­ers of their prop­erty rights by al­low­ing the zone to con­tinue.

The busi­ness own­ers said they were not try­ing to un­der­mine the pro­test­ers’ anti-po­lice-bru­tal­ity and Black Lives Mat­ter mes­sages. But the own­ers said they have suf­fered be­cause the cre­ation of the zone has lim­ited their ac­cess to their busi­nesses and that some own­ers try­ing clean graf­fiti from their store­fronts or at­tempt­ing to photograph pro­test­ers have been threat­ened.

Mean­while, a Min­nesota judge on Mon­day set a March 8 trial date for the four for­mer Min­neapo­lis po­lice of­fi­cers charged in the death of Ge­orge Floyd if they are tried to­gether.

But Hen­nepin County Judge Peter Cahill also said he ex­pects mo­tions to be filed to sep­a­rate their tri­als. The next court date is Sept. 11. The de­fen­dants have not en­tered pleas.

It was the sec­ond pre­trial hear­ing for the of­fi­cers, who were fired af­ter Floyd’s death on May 25 while hand­cuffed on the ground and in po­lice cus­tody.

Seat­tle Po­lice Chief Car­men Best said, “Enough is enough,” af­ter Mon­day’s deadly shoot­ing in the city’s cop-free zone estab­lished by pro­test­ers. Be­low, peo­ple con­sole each other af­ter the shoot­ing.

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