A shooting in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Occupation Protest (CHOP) area Monday morning left one man dead and a 14-year-old boy critically injured – bringing more scrutiny to the autonomous protest zone.
“When investigators arrived, they found a white Jeep Cherokee riddled with bullet holes on 12th Avenue,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said, according to CNN affiliate KIRO.
“We were told that there were two men inside the vehicle, and both had been shot.”
The two occupants were taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition between 3:15 and 3:30 a.m. (6:15 and 6:30 a.m. ET), hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg told CNN.
The man later died, and the 14-year-old boy remains in critical condition, the hospital said.
Monday’s attack is the fifth shooting within two weeks in the CHOP area, and the second to turn fatal.
Thousands of protesters have occupied the area, a four- to six-block section of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, since June 8 in an effort to demand police reform following the death of George Floyd.
But CNN has observed that the number of people within the CHOP area has decreased significantly over the past week.
The police chief said violence in the autonomous zone “is a real problem” and said she questions “why would we continue to allow this to happen.”
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s administration has been cautious about moving back into the protest zone. Friday, a spokeswoman for the mayor told CNN it’s possible the CHOP area “could last a few more weeks.”
The drawn-out approach has brought criticism from both local and national leaders – including President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly tweeted about the CHOP area.
The police chief said it’s time for people to leave the autonomous protest zone.
“There are multiple people who are being injured and hurt, and we need to do something about it,” Best said.
“We’re asking the people remove themselves from this area for the safety of the people,” she said. ” It is absolutely irresponsible for this trend to continue.”