A man was shot and left with life-threatening injuries in a scuffle with protesters outside a pro-Trump rally Friday evening. The suspect is in custody, and no names have been revealed.
The shooting happened amid protests against an event with the openly gay outspoken Trump supporter and Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos. The protests started early Friday and spilled over into violence.
At 9:30 a.m. Pacific, an unidentified person threw a rock through the windshield of a Bellevue Police Department officer’s vehicle, according to a report from the Seattle Police Department (SPD).
SPD officers discovered wooden dowels, homemade shields, flares, hammers, and other potential weapons from masked individuals in the crowd of protesters during an evening rally.
Officers have recovered wooden poles, heavy pipes, flares & hammers @ Westlake Pk. pic.twitter.com/dYhuinPP8J
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) January 21, 2017
The same group of protesters then marched to the University of Washington campus, joining a separate protest group outside the university’s Kane Hall. That hall was holding the Yiannopoulos event.
According to the police report, police had blocked the hall’s entrance due to “scuffles and minor incidents of violence outside the venue.” With this second group of protesters arriving, tensions increased. Individuals began throwing bricks and paint toward police and others in the crowd.
During this altercation, SPD received a report that a man in the crowd had been shot. Officers removed the 32-year-old man from the crowd, finding he had sustained a life-threatening gunshot wound to the abdomen. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. The Seattle Times reported that the victim was 25 years old, not 35.
Adult male transported to HMC with possible life threatening injury from a gun shot wound. Pt transported from area near Spokane Ln NE
— Seattle Fire Dept. (@SeattleFire) January 21, 2017
The University of Washington Police reported that the suspect walked into their headquarters and is now in custody.
After news of the shooting, Yiannopoulos addressed his crowd, confirming “the police have told me that it is indeed the case” someone had been shot outside his event. “We don’t really have a protocol for this — I don’t know if it was a fatality or not. Until I do know that, my suggestion is that the show should go on. If you think that is insensitive or inappropriate, I absolutely understand and please make yourself heard now, but my view is that if they don’t continue, they have won.”
At this, people in the crowd gave Yiannopoulos a standing ovation. He added, “If we were to call a halt to the event now … we would send a message to these people that this is the way to stop events.”
In a statement on Facebook, he again repeated the news of the shooting, adding “My prayers are with the victim, whoever he is.”
While only one person was shot, this high school senior was hit with a paint ball and “beaten up” by protesters, seemingly for the crime of wearing a hat with an American flag on it.
— Gabe Cohen (@GabeCohenKOMO) January 21, 2017
Watch the video of Yiannopoulos’ reaction to the news below.
When the audience dispersed after the event with Yiannopoulos, police had to escort them to safety. Officers took them through an underground parking garage, and told members of the audience to remove their pro-Trump hats and paraphernalia before leaving, so as not to become a target, The Seattle Times reported.
The Seattle Police Department, showing their concern for all citizens, concluded their report with a request: “We ask that anyone attending the Womxn’s march on Saturday remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to uniformed officers on the route or by calling 911.”
Seattle’s version of the “Women’s March” movement uses “Womxn” instead of “Women” as a statement — it is a way to avoid having the term “men” at the end of “women.”