Man shot at Seattle protest after car seen driving into crowd

SEATTLE -- Authorities say a man drove a car at George Floyd protesters in Seattle Sunday night, hit a barricade then exited the vehicle brandishing a pistol. At least one person was injured.

According to Seattle police, the black car drove into an area where protesters were gathered at 11th Ave. and Pine St. Police said the suspect drove into the crowd and got out of the car with a gun.

A 27-year-old man was shot and taken in stable condition to a nearby hospital, according to firefighters.

Police later said the suspect was taken into custody and a firearm was recovered.

Police did not believe there were any additional victims.

Q13 News heard from the man who was shot earlier this week. He said, "I put my life on the line every day."

Seattle City Council members sharply criticized Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best after police used flash bang devices and pepper spray to disperse protesters a day after Durkan and Best said they were trying to de-escalate tensions.

At a news conference Sunday night, Durkan, addressing the concerns of protesters and other elected officials, said she would freeze spending on police technology, weapons, vehicles and buildings until further talks with community members,. And she said she would find $100 million in budget allocations for community needs. However, the mayor said that money wouldn’t come from police budgets, as many protesters have demanded.

On Sunday, thousands of people again turned out to protest. In South Seattle, demonstrators gathered at a park to hear speakers. And people again turned out in the Capitol Hill neighborhood Sunday evening. The Capitol Hill event was largely peaceful until the man drove the car into the barricade.

Police had boarded up the windows at a police precinct and installed sturdier barricades. Best said putting in stronger barricades could help avoid confrontations between police and protesters over the barricades being moved.

The police chief said Sunday: “We really want to meet peace with peace.” But Best said police have to protect themselves, law-enforcement facilities and other demonstrators from potential “bad actors” in the crowd.

After police were severely criticized by protesters and public officials alike for using tear gas and pepper spray to disperse largely peaceful crowds, Durkan and Best said Friday outside groups would review and update crowd-control policies, including the use of pepper spray and deadly force techniques such as neck and choke holds. Best and the mayor added that the ban on one kind of tear gas known as CS could be extended if groups need more time for policy review.

CS gas was not used Saturday night, police said.

In an open letter to Durkan on Sunday, the head of Seattle’s police union blamed Saturday’s unrest on “criminal agitators who continue to attempt to provoke police.”

Seattle Police Officers Guild President Mike Solan said the union supports peaceful demonstrations and reform efforts, but a small criminal element in the ongoing protests creates danger.

“This situation is becoming more untenable by the day and I fear law and order and SPOG members’ safety are in peril,” Solan wrote.

Protesters have gathered across the U.S. and around the world to demonstrate against the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after pleading for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck.