A 19-year-old man has died and another man is in critical condition after an early Saturday morning shooting in Seattle’s protest area known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), according to police.
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) said in a statement they responded to reports of shots fired in the CHOP, previously referred to as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, around 2:30 a.m. PT on Saturday. According to local news outlet Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, multiple people reported hearing three to six gunshots around 10th Avenue and Pine Street.
Police said that one of the victims, an unnamed 19-year-old man, was declared dead at the hospital. The other unnamed victim is still hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, per police. His age is unknown.
The suspected shooter fled the scene and has not been identified, the police said. No potential motive was given.
Police said in their statement that officers “attempted to locate a shooting victim but were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims.”
However, Omari Salisbury, an independent journalist who was covering the CHOP Friday night, tells TIME he saw CHOP medics evacuate the first victim before the SPD had reached the crime scene. Salisbury also live streamed his coverage of the shooting.
The SPD said that officers were “later informed” that both victims had been transported to “Harborview Medical Center by CHOP medics.”
As mass demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality have swept the U.S., activists have occupied around six blocks of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood since last Monday when the Seattle Police Department retreated from its East Precinct. The protest area was formed after police used tear gas, pepper spray and flash bangs against protesters, which many have decried as excessive force.
Activists have said the CHOP is not subject to law enforcement and instead belongs to the people of Seattle. They have also issued a list of demands, which includes defunding the Seattle Police Department.