The evening of Donald Trump's inauguration, anti-fascist demonstrators and fans of Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos clashed in Red Square at the University of Washington's Seattle campus while the conservative talking head spoke inside Kane Hall. When a fight broke out, a 34-year-old computer security engineer was shot in the abdomen and wounded by a 29-year-old
former UW student, who claimed self-defense.
Meanwhile, the purported shooter has not been charged with a crime, said the University of Washington Police Department spokesman, Major Steve Rittereiser.
The evening of the shooting, a couple—allegedly the gunman and his wife—eventually went to the UWPD station to provide officers with information, including that "the gun involved in the incident was in the vehicle they arrived in," said Rittereiser. (UWPD is not yet identifying the couple as the shooter and his wife, he said.)
The couple was then temporarily detained until they refused to provide a statement without an attorney present. They were later released after a warrant was obtained to search their car, where a gun was subsequently found.
"We didn’t have enough information to hold them that night or arrest them," said Rittereiser. "We're not [currently] looking for anyone else involved in the incident. The campus and the community remain safe."
UWPD detectives are now waiting for evidence to be processed in a laboratory and the search warrant has been sealed "due to the sensitive nature of the case," he said.
The Industrial Workers of the World, an anti-fascist and anti-racist group that the victim was demonstrating with, is collecting donations through Crowdrise to help pay for his medical and legal expenses. You can donate here.
At present, the victim, who requested to have his name withheld, is in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center's intensive care unit, hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg told The Stranger. His condition has fluctuated between "satisfactory and serious" after undergoing two surgeries, she said. Gregg would not provide further details about the man's condition due to patient confidentiality laws.
In the meantime, Rittereiser said campus police are in touch with the victim's lawyer, Sarah Lippek with law firm The Public Advocate, during the investigation. Lippek issued a statement with The Seattle Times on January 23 on her client's behalf in which he said he "[wished] to express his empathy for the person who shot him. He hopes to engage in constructive dialogue with that person, in order to de-escalate and provide a community-based response to this violence.”
Lippek did not return The Stranger's calls for comment. We will update this post when we receive a response.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that the 29-year-old shooter was a former UW student. Recent reports from the South Seattle Emerald indicate that the suspected shooter is currently enrolled at the university. This story has been updated. We regret the error.