'There's a limit': As neighbors worry, mayor issues statement on deadly CHOP shooting
SEATTLE – With growing fear and frustration from neighbors following a deadly shooting near ‘CHOP,’ the ‘Capitol Hill Occupied Protest’ early Saturday morning, city leaders have remained nearly silent.
A 19-year-old man was killed after gunfire erupted at around 2:20 a.m. Medics from ‘CHOP’ rushed him to the hospital where he later died. A second shooting happened about a half hour later and a block away. That shooting victim, who’s 33-years-old, remains in critical condition in the ICU at Harborview.
Mayor Jenny Durkan eventually issued a prepared statement at around 6 p.m. Sunday, nearly 40 hours after the shootings. It said, in part:
Working with (Seattle Fire Chief Harold) Scoggins, (Police Chief Carmen) Best, and other city departments, the city will continue to make changes on Capitol Hill in partnership with black-led community organizations, demonstrators, small businesses, residents, and trusted messengers who will center de-escalation.
But some Capitol Hill residents say Durkan needs to do more than issue a statement.
“I would invite Mayor Durkan to spend one night in the ‘CHOP’ area,” said a man who lives near the zone. “And she can feel for herself what it’s like.”
KOMO News also reached out members of the Seattle City Council and as of Sunday afternoon, only Kshama Sawant had released a statement which came down on Saturday.
“You’re the reason why the situation is what it is today,” said that man who didn’t want to be identified, pointing fingers at both the council and mayor. “You need to take responsibility, step in and enforce our city laws.”
“The residents and 凯发k8地址homeowners feel hostage,” he added. “We feel like we’re being held hostage in our own neighborhood because city officials are not doing anything about the situation.”
Many neighbors that KOMO News has spoken with say the support the Black Lives Matter movement but say what ‘CHOP’ has turned in to is no longer a protest.
“This is one of the most liberal neighborhoods in the city that supports movements like this, 100 percent, and we don’t even know how to do that now,” said Nancy Douglas. “Don’t necessarily look for a leader in this movement and push everything aside until you find that person because you’re not going to find that person.”
“You need to let people know there’s a limit,” said Douglas.
A group from ‘CHOP’ released a statement about the shootings, reading in part “it seems the situation escalated because of gang affiliations” in regards to the deadly shooting. It finished by reading “we still want what we wanted from day one, justice for all.”
Many who live near and in ‘CHOP’ tell KOMO News the worry the longer it goes on, the worse it will get.
“ I’m so mad at the mayor,” said Victoria Beach, chair of the African American Community Advisory Council. “I feel like she might as well have had her hand on that gun because she’s allowing this. She needs to move in now and do something.”
Here is the complete text of Mayor Durkan's statement issued at about 6 p.m. Sunday:
Thousands of peaceful demonstrators gather almost daily on Capitol Hill. Tens of thousands of others continue to gather almost daily across the City. It is the City’s responsibility to maintain the safety in these circumstances in all parts of Seattle, including the more dangerous conditions on Capitol Hill in the evenings. Chief Best and the Seattle Police Department have been working with the Seattle Fire Department and other departments to implement new strategies to deal with regularly changing circumstances in the area.
Working with Chief Scoggins, Chief Best, and other City departments, the City will continue to make changes on Capitol Hill in partnership with Black-led community organizations, demonstrators, small businesses, residents, and trusted messengers who will center de-escalation. In the coming days, I believe together we can create a Capitol Hill environment that allows for peaceful demonstrations at Cal Anderson, quality of life for residents, and take concrete steps towards a new vision for policing in our City.
We will continue to focus on the systemic changes demanded by this time in history. We must hear the voices raised in protest, admit and dismantle the systemic perpetuation of racism, and invest broadly in the health and wealth of our communities of color, particularly our Black community.
A spokesperson for the mayor also issued this statement at about 6 p.m. Sunday:
The Seattle Police Department is investigating the homicide this weekend. It is premature to determine or speculate about the cause of the shooting, or the perpetrators, including whether it was connected or related to any of the protests occurring on Capitol Hill.
The Mayor and City staff have been meeting with small business owners and residents in and around Cal Anderson Park and the Pike/Pine corridor. Based on those conversations and reports from City staff on the ground, it’s clear that the experience in and around Cal Anderson differs greatly between daytime and nighttime. We have been meeting with residents and small business owners to address their safety and disorder concerns, including the ability of first responders to access emergencies in the area. We are also working with the LGBTQ community, as Cal Anderson and Capitol Hill are an important place for the community and its feeling of safety in our city. That is even more true given we are in Pride month, and for the first time in many decades had to cancel Pride festivities because of COVID-19.
The City is working with community-based organizations on several near and long term strategies and investments, as articulated by the community, to ensure that our residents and businesses can thrive. This is particularly critical as many businesses start to open in Phase 2 and hope to start recovering from the COVID-19 economic shut down. Some near-term strategies include working with trusted messengers and de-escalators in the area around Cal Anderson. These community-based de-escalators will facilitate community conversations with residents in and around the area, and act as liaisons on issues of outreach, police reform, and building community trust and relationships.
This article first appeared on KOMO News.