Seattle Fire Department criticized in fatal CHOP shootings

SEATTLE — After a man was shot and killed near Seattle’s protest zone, and another injured, critics are accusing the Seattle Fire Department of failing to help.

The shooting happened early Saturday morning just outside, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone (CHOP).

Seattle police said the scene was so dangerous they couldn’t immediately enter.

Seattle Fire said its protocol is to wait for a police escort in volatile situations. That has been their policy for many months now.

A vigil was held late Sunday afternoon for the teenager who was killed Saturday morning.

By all accounts, he was mortally injured during a chaotic scene that was dangerous even for Seattle police.

Seattle police bodycam video shows what officers and medics faced as they approached what turned out to be a deadly shooting scene near the East Precinct just after 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

“The truth of it is that you know, 15 minutes of delay of care for someone who is actively in the process of likely dying,” said Slate, a leader of the Sentinel Scouts, the self-proclaimed peacekeepers of CHOP.

He says much of this was a reaction to the Seattle Fire medics’ refusal to enter the scene without police protection.

“Life-saving intervention needed to be delivered as soon as humanly possible,” said Slate.

Instead, the victim, identified by friends as 19-year-old Lorenzo Anderson, had to rely on the kindness of strangers who transported him in a van to Harborview Medical Center.

“After a couple of minutes, I just said we don’t have time to wait,” said Alex Bennett, a former nurse who happened upon the scene. “We need to just pick him up and put him into the van.”

In its defense, Seattle Fire responded: “This was a scene where the risk was too high to commit our crews to respond in without a police escort.” Moreover, their “crews do not have training to go into a volatile situation to extract patients.” Therefore, they had told people to “bring the patients to the perimeter of the crowd or transport in a private vehicle,” as happened with the victims in both shootings.

Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, says this is evidence that this area, and indeed all of Seattle, is unsafe.

“And what we’re seeing is a breakdown in public safety,” said Solan.

He is calling on the city’s residents to force their leaders to act.

“Because I have no doubt that our outstanding community can solve this problem,” said Solan. “And we need to put pressure on our elected officials to solve this.”

A man who says he is a close friend of the second victim identified him as a 33-year-old man who has been going to CHOP every night to provide security.

Now he is in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center.

Seattle police are asking for video and any information to help solve the two shooting incidents.

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