Protest occurs at Chief Sealth High School following shooting death of student

Jan 29, 2024, 11:02 PM | Updated: Jan 30, 2024, 2:09 am

Image: West Seattle students protested on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024....

West Seattle students protested on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

West Seattle students walked out of their school Monday to show support for a local family whose loved one, a 15-year-old boy, was mysteriously shot and killed.

Hundreds of students gathered outside of Chief Sealth International High School, less than a block away from where the deadly shooting took place.

At the demonstration, the victim’s older sister, older brother, uncle, religious leaders, elected officials, and the school principal spoke to the public about safety measures.

About an hour into the demonstration, students, loved ones, and supporters marched up Southwest Thistle Street toward the Teen Life Center where the boy died.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) released the following statement Monday:

Media Statement Bev Redmond, SPS Spokesperson
Seattle Public Schools supports students’ rights to express their views in a peaceful manner, including assembly and peaceful protest. This includes today’s planned student walkout at Chief Sealth International High School.
While students may choose to participate in the walkout today, classes will continue as regularly scheduled. This walkout was not planned or organized by SPS or Chief Sealth staff.
SPS takes the safety and well-being of students very seriously. We respect student voices and listen to our students’ concerns.
It is understandable that students and the community are concerned about safety in the neighborhoods and areas surrounding our campuses.
SPS condemns any form of violence, and we are dedicated to providing a nurturing and safe educational environment for all students.

According to an article published Sunday by the West Seattle Blog, the boy’s older sister had been planning a protest Monday in front of the school, trying to “pressure authorities and make a difference.”

“This past Tuesday my little brother, 15 years old, was shot at the community center (SWAC) and he died shortly afterwards,” the announcement, in part, reads. “This happened during his lunch break during school hours and the weapon hasn’t been found yet and the culprits have been released. The protest will be taking place in front of Chief Sealth International High School (at noon).”

What happened on Jan. 23

The shooting happened Tuesday around lunch time. Officers surrounded the area near the school and found the boy inside a bathroom at the Southwest Pool/Teen Life Center, just across the street from Chief Sealth. Medics attempted to save his life, but he was declared dead at the scene.

Previous coverage: 15-year-old killed in West Seattle restroom identified

Officers did not find a gun at the scene and police did not name any suspects. Speaking to reporters, Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said the circumstances leading up to the shooting were unclear, but that no fights were reported.

Students inside Chief Sealth reportedly sheltered in place. SPS’ Chief of Staff Beverly Redmond later issued a letter to parents, advising them the boy was a student at Chief Sealth; that after-school activities were canceled and that schools would be open the next day. It also suggested proper ways to address the topic with their own children.

Since then, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) has revealed few details about the investigation. The department said Tuesday it is “too early” to call this a homicide.

No definitive classification of the death has come in the six days since the shooting, despite the King County Medical Examiner’s Office releasing the boy’s identity in a list published Thursday. The medical examiner’s records the cause and manner of the 15-year-old’s death are listed as “pending,” noting SPD’s ongoing investigation.

Other news: Owner of Pasco bikini barista stand charged with child sex crimes in Pierce County

When asked Monday morning, SPD told KIRO Newsradio in an email it had no update to the investigation. A spokesperson referred all questions to what the department already posted on its blog, the SPD Blotter.

The lack of clarity has left community members scratching their heads, unsure whether the shooting was intentional or not.

Contributing: KIRO 7

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