One person was killed and another was seriously injured after a man drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Seattle on Saturday, according to multiple reports.
Summer Taylor, 24, suffered fatal injuries after being struck by the vehicle which plowed into protesters during the "Black Femme March" on a closed stretch of Interstate 5. Taylor, a Seattle native, was transported to the Harborview Medical Center where they later died, spokesperson Susan Gregg told The Seattle Times.
Another protester, 32-year-old Diaz Love, was also hit by the car and is in serious condition in the intensive care, the hospital said.
Capt. Ron Mead of the Washington State Patrol told CNN that the incident occurred at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday. The suspect, Dawit Kelete, a 27-year-old man from Seattle, allegedly drove his car around a series of "support vehicles" — which protesters had parked to block off the areas of I-5 — and onto the shoulder of the freeway into the crowd of people.
Kelete, who was given a sobriety test and showed no signs of impairment, was booked into King County Jail on Saturday morning on an investigation of felony vehicular assault, though he could also face felony hit and run, said Mead, who added that investigators are unsure if it was a "targeted attack."
However, "troopers don't believe impairment was a factor and said Kelete drove the wrong way on the Stewart Street off-ramp to enter the interstate," according to the Times.
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Prosecutors announced a hearing for Kelete is scheduled for Monday, and a judge will make a decision regarding bail.
A GoFundMe page was originally set up for Taylor, who used nonbinary pronouns, to help "cover medical expenses or any additional support they may need" and has raised over $50,000 as of Sunday afternoon.
Described as "an incredibly strong and independent spirit," Taylor was "a bright and caring person who's presence elicits joy and laughter in others. Summer works at a veterinary clinic and takes pride in their community & supporting others," the GoFundMe page description states.
The veterinary clinic shared the news of Taylor's death on Instagram. "It is with great sorrow that we are closing our doors tomorrow, Sunday, July 5th to honor the loss of one of our own, Summer Taylor. Summer was one of the protestors hit by a car on I-5 in the early morning of July 4, 2020. The suddenness and circumstances of this tragic loss has taken a great toll on all of us," the post read.
Sen. Kamala Harris mourned Taylor's death in a tweet on Sunday.
"Absolutely heartbreaking. Summer Taylor was only 24-years-old, peacefully protesting for Black Lives Matter when they were struck by a car," Harris wrote. "Thinking of their family during this difficult time and everyone in the movement today."
A GoFundMe was also set up for Diaz Love and has raised over $33,000.
"At this time, we know that Diaz is stable. We will update this GoFundMe as we learn more," the page reads. "Diaz is a huge animal lover and fights for the rights of people everywhere. Let's support them through the next couple months and help them keep fighting."
In recent weeks, Seattle has seen various protests over police brutality and systemic racism following the death of George Floyd on May 25.
The city even saw a six-block area controlled by protesters after police abandoned their precinct, dubbed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest or Capital Hill Autonomous Zone, which was cleared by authorities on Wednesday, according to The New York Times.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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