SEATTLE - The mother of the first teenager to be murdered near Capitol Hill’s Occupied Protest zone last month is taking legal action against the city, claiming the city created the dangerous environment that led to the shooting and failed to help her son as he bled out after being shot.
On June 20, 19-year-old Horace “Lorenzo” Anderson was shot multiple times on 10th Avenue and East Pine Street, just across from CHOP.
Seattle Fire Department reported that paramedics staged one block away, but because of policy, would not enter the area until police secured the scene.
Social media videos show protesters pleading for the paramedics to come help Anderson while CHOP medics worked on the teenager. Seattle Police body camera footage shows that when police did try to enter the scene, protesters announced that the victim had already been taken to the hospital.
Attorneys for the family said he was transported by a pick-up truck. Anderson was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center shortly after.
“He doesn’t deserve to be dead, nobody does but he most definitely doesn’t, he’s not that type of kid,” said Anderson’s mom, Donnitta Sinclair Martin. “He doesn’t deserve to be dead and then he doesn’t deserve for the city to not do nothing.”
Sinclair Martin said she is disgusted watching the videos of medics nearby who didn’t help her son because of policy.
“I just don’t know why they would say no, I don’t know, my mind is not wrapping around that part,” she said. “Why would you say no? Why would you give the OK to not go in? I’m just confused but I most definitely feel like they are accountable for his death. I think if they would have tried to work on him, he could have been here.”
The day after the shooting, Seattle Fire released a statement saying in part, “Our mission is to save lives and protect property, but we must keep our firefighters and paramedics safe so we can continue to help people. This was a scene where the risk was too high to commit our crews to respond in without a police escort.”
Attorneys for Sinclair Martin said the violence around CHOP was foreseeable and that it appears the city was ill-prepared to handle it.
"The city made numerous mistakes. We’re focused on two mistakes in particular. Number one, they abandoned this area and number two, they had no plan to get medical services into this area," said attorney Mark Lindquist of Hermann Law Group. “Lorenzo bled out on the street while medics were less than a football field away. I’m confident those medics wanted to help but the city had no plan in place so that they could help."
They said city leaders have sent mixed messages about CHOP and the responsibility for its formation.
“One day they’re saying this is a ‘summer of love block party’ and then later on saying it’s so dangerous they couldn’t send in help: It doesn’t make any sense,” said Lara Herrmann of Herrmann Law Group.
Sinclair Martin said she wants to hold the city accountable for its inaction and wants answers for why her son’s life was cut short. For her, citing policy won’t cut it.
“In this leadership, sometimes you gotta do what you’re supposed to do,” she said.
She also wants the people responsible for shooting her son to turn themselves in.
Reached by email, a spokesman for the City Attorney’s office said they had not yet received or reviewed the claim and could not comment.