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Trump, Event Protests Lead to Shooting on Wash. Campus

The shooter has claimed he was acting in self defense and an investigation is ongoing.

A man was shot as protesters of Donald Trump clashed with supporters of a conservative event on the campus of the University of Washington Jan. 20.

Although few details have been released by University of Washington police, UW spokesman Norm Arkans said the man who fired his weapon turned himself in to university police and was released pending an investigation.

The shooter told police he used his gun in self-defense after he’d been assaulted by someone he believed to be a white supremacist, according to the Seattle Times.

The 34-year-old man who was shot was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. His status has been upgraded from critical to serious condition in the hospital’s ICU.

It was a chaotic scene Friday night as hundreds of anti-Trump protesters marched through downtown Seattle and merged with demonstrators on the UW campus who were attempting to stop an event featuring the controversial conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos.

In anticipation of the event, UW police worked with the Seattle Police Department over the last month. In addition to the 25 campus police officers assigned to the event, 80 city police were on campus to monitor crowds and prevent violence.

Arkans defended the university’s handling of the event, saying officers did their best to maintain control outside of UW’s Kane Hall, where Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak at 8 p.m. on the day of Trump’s inauguration.

Before the event, officers worked to protect the people waiting in line from the protesters.

Protesters threw bricks, rocks, fireworks and paint at the officers decked out in riot gear. Officers broke up several fights and used pepper spray on the crowds, reports kiro7.com.

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At approximately 8:30 p.m., gunshots were heard and bike officers responded to reports of a victim.

The university sent an alert to students’ phones instructing them to stay out of the area of the shooting. A second alert gave the suspected shooter’s description. When the shooter turned himself in early Saturday morning, a third alert went out informing students of the development.

The shooter was described by UW police as an Asian male in his 50s. Two people who said they are friends with the man who was shot disputed the shooter’s claim that the victim is a racist. They described the 34-year-old as anti-hate and a Bernie Sanders supporter.

Yiannopoulos briefly left the stage when he was informed of the shooting, but returned saying “If we don’t continue, they have won,” to cheers from the crowd. The event was hosted by the student group College Republicans.

Following the event, officers told audience members to remove their Donald Trump hats and other pro-Trump gear before leaving. Officers escorted people out of the building through an underground parking garage as crowds of protesters waited outside.

UW President Ana Mari Cauce sent a letter to students, parents and faculty members Saturday defending the university’s decision to hold the event.

“There is a legal right of our student groups to invite speakers, even a controversial one whose message is anathema to many, including me. We are bound by law,” Cauce wrote. “But beyond that, canceling the event would have sent the message that a risk of disruption or conflict can be used to overwhelm our rights. That would empower those on the extremes willing to resort to such tactics.”

Campus Safety has previously reported on events featuring Yiannopoulos and his disinvitation to many college campuses.

An online petition was sent to Cauce before the event demanding she cancel the speech. The petition had more than 4,600 supporters.

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About the Author

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Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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