SEATTLE, WA – For 19 days straight, the Washington State patrol shut down Seattle’s I-5 due to the presence of protesters on the freeway.
In a statement he issued on June 27, Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Baptiste addressed “frustrated citizens” on “traffic disruptions caused by the temporary closures of the freeway due to protests.”
“In a time that requires care and flexibility, we are exercising the safest means possible to avoid injuries or worse to motorists, protesters, WSDOT personnel and our troopers by closing the roadway as needed and separating protestors from vehicular traffic.
“With no effective way of stopping large crowds from entering its lengthy borders, temporarily shutting the roadway is our best measure to avoid the dangerous mixture of freeway speed, vehicles, and pedestrians and to end the disruptions as quickly as possible.
“We understand and share your frustration, but while keeping traffic flowing on our interstates and state roadways is one of our primary objectives, our primary responsibility is maintaining public safety with safe roads.”
It was assumed SDOT blocked the freeway, but the suspect car came in from the north and hit crowd on i5 at Yale onramp. #seattleprotestcomms #seattle #seattleprotests #seattleprotest pic.twitter.com/tNgD635C25
— Cortana, but ur dad calls me Katya (@CortanaV) July 4, 2020
Tragedy, however, has forced the Washington State Patrol to reverse its plan to close freeways for protesters and instead arrest those who enter freeways on foot.
— WA State Patrol (@wastatepatrol) July 5, 2020
Early Saturday morning, Dawit Kelete, 27, of Seattle, drove the wrong way on an off-ramp to enter a closed portion of I-5 populated by protesters.
The man who hit two Black Lives Matter protesters on the freeway in Seattle is a black man. Left-wing activists on social media claim without evidence that the incident was a Charlottesville-style far-right attack. Both victims sustained serious injuries. https://t.co/scx15rlHVu
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) July 4, 2020
Washington State Patrol Captain Ron Mead told KIRO 7 News,
“He went around a series of vehicles that were blocking I-5 and went around on the shoulder where a group of pedestrians were standing.”
Video shared throughout social media shows a white car driving at a high rate of speed, ramming directly into two protesters and sending them flying. The car then proceeded away from the scene.
Warning: the following video contains content which some viewers may find disturbing.
Two Seattle protesters just got run over pic.twitter.com/7FAl6JbuQU
— TruthQube (@TruthQube) July 4, 2020
The two victims were identified as Seattle resident Summer Taylor, 24, and Diaz Love, 32, of Portland, OR. Taylor later died from her injuries Saturday night at Harborview Medical Center. At this writing, Love is listed in serious condition in intensive care at the same facility.
BREAKING: One of two protesters struck by a driver who barreled onto a closed freeway in Seattle has died. Summer Taylor was 24. https://t.co/A0XPWahqTz
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 5, 2020
According to the Associated Press, driver Dawit Kelete fled the scene and was stopped about a mile away by another protester who blocked his vehicle. State troopers arrested him, and he was booked on two counts of vehicular assault. Bail was denied.
Troopers described Kelete as “reserved and sullen” upon his arrest, and said he asked if the people he struck were doing ok. Years ago, Kelete faced charges of assault, trespassing, and malicious mischief, but those charges were dropped.
At this time, motive is still unknown, but driver impairment has been ruled out, according to Captain Mead. The State Patrol told KIRO 7 that “there is no proof that Kelete acted deliberately.”
Here are two pictures of the suspect vehicle that struck two protesters on I-5 this morning. Investigation into motive and point of entry in to I-5 are still under investigation. pic.twitter.com/gU1QH6TFTu
— Trooper Rick Johnson (@wspd2pio) July 4, 2020
Tragedy at protest areas is sadly not new for Seattle. Recently, there were two shootings in Seattle’s CHOP zone. On June 20, the first shooting claimed the life of one victim and sent another to the hospital. On June 29, a 16 year old boy was shot and killed, and his 14-year old companion was severely wounded.
At a press conference right after the heartrending crash, Captain Mead said,
“What happened this morning is a tragedy, I mean it’s a true tragedy. But what’s occurring out here is unlawful behavior. I mean, it is illegal to block an interstate.
“And the fact that this has occurred for 19 days in a row, it needs to end, it needs to come to a stop. What I don’t want to see is yet another tragedy happen with this criminal behavior.”
Mead added at another press conference,
“My hope is, as a result of this tragedy, protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate because I cannot guarantee their safety, plain and simple.”
Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters? Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you. Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories. Click to check it out.
Here’s more on the shooting death of a minor inside the CHAZ/CHOP in Seattle as reported by Law Enforcement Today.
In the weeks following the murder of 19-year-old Horace Lorenzo Anderson Jr., a grieving father was left with more questions than answers – and he’s not even received a single word or condolence from the very city’s mayor that allowed CHOP to run amok which led to a young man being killed.
The father of Horace Lorenzo Anderson Jr., a 19-year-old shot and killed in Seattle in a police-free zone formed amid protests over police killing of George Floyd, says he got a condolence call from Trump yesterday.https://t.co/d7UUef23df
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) July 3, 2020
Yet, President Donald Trump personally reached out to this grieving father on July 2nd – on the day that father buried his son.
The 50-year-old father, Horace Lorenzo Anderson Sr., stated the following about the interaction with the president:
“Incredibly, Donald Trump called me. The President of the United States called me today. He gave his condolences, and me, I’m not a political guy. I told him, ‘Nobody like you.’ I’m real. Donald Trump called me and he didn’t have to call me.”
Hundreds were said to have gathered during the services held in Kent, Washington on July 2nd. The father of the slain young man described the pain he’s be experiencing while coping with the loss of his son:
“I haven’t been able to sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night. I go look for him. He ain’t there.”
Horace Lorenzo Anderson, Jr. left behind his father, Horace Lorenzo Anderson, Sr. Remember his sleepless face, his tears, and his pleas that PEACE replace anger, division, and violence. No father should have to bury his son. 🙏Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images pic.twitter.com/EJ0d6FwYnA
— Kyrie Remark (@KyrieRemark) July 1, 2020
Anderson Jr. was shot dead on June 20th, yet the CHOP area in Seattle where he was killed was virtually left undisturbed for weeks after. When the shooting occurred, neither police nor paramedics responded to the area, citing concerns over the occupants present at the time.
Young Anderson’s father was deeply troubled at how his son was simply hauled off by those present at CHOP, who delivered him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead:
“My son, he needed help. And they shouldn’t be picking kids up and throwing them in their trunk and taking them to the hospital. The paramedics should have been there. The police should have been there.”
During an appearance on Fox New’s show Hannity on July 1st, Anderson Sr. commented on how there wasn’t any communication from officials about his son’s murder in the weeks that followed:
“It’s like they didn’t care, it didn’t matter. I haven’t heard from the mayor from the police department. No city. Nobody.”
This is absolutely heartbreaking and one of the most powerful interviews I’ve seen. I’ll not forget Horace Lorenzo Anderson Sr. and his son, Jr. This man didn’t get a briefing. He has to bury his son who died in the streets of America as a civilian in Seattle. Life is treasure.🙏 pic.twitter.com/BrHLULXS9M
— Bonnie Chambers (@BonnieC919) July 2, 2020
The victim’s cousin, 19-year-old Abrionna Anderson, said the following about her cousin during the services held on July 2nd:
“I have no other friends like that, honestly. Every day we were together. My home was his second home and it’s so heartbreaking to me.”
To date, there have been no arrests made with regard to the murder of Anderson Jr., with no indication if there are any suspects or persons of interest with the case.
While the CHOP area has been cleared out since the murder last month, it’s unclear how much evidence was gathered or preserved following the young man’s death.
The existence of the CHOP/CHAZ zone should have never gone on as long as it did, while Mayor Durkan described it as the “summer of love” on June 11th, a father had to watch a situation go unchecked for nearly two weeks after his son was murdered.
We at Law Enforcement Today would like to extend our prayers to this father. No father should have to lose their son like this, but to be kept in the dark without so much as a call from officials for nearly weeks is simply abhorrent.
Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today? With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing! (See image below.) Thanks for being a part of the LET family!