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Police: Officer Fatally Shoots Man During Cleanup Of Seattle Homeless Camp

Elaine Thompson
AP Photo
FILE: Tents line a small green space below Interstate 90 and a short walk to a homeless area known as the Jungle in the hill behind Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in Seattle.

Seattle Police are investigating after an officer fatally shot a man near the homeless encampment known as “The Jungle.” The shooting happened during a sweep of the area. Several agencies were working Tuesday to clear the last of the campers out of the notorious site.

Two officers who were in the area as part of the cleanup saw two men fighting about 12:45 p.m. near the site at Airport Way South and South Bayview Street, according to Seattle Police.

Police said one of the men had a knife and one of the officers opened fire. 

It is not clear if the two men lived in the encampment.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said the shooting wasn’t related to the cleanup. The operation to get people out of the Jungle has been suspended while the investigation continues.

Andre Midgyett is one of those who was offered help to relocate.

“They’re not going to allow us to, you know, live under the underpass, which doesn’t make a lot of sense really … because where do they want all these people to go?” said Midgyett.

Midgyett says he lived in the Jungle for several years and plans to move down the street to continue living outside, although he was offered shelter.

Meanwhile, the Seattle City Council is debating legislation that would legalize camping in some parks and sidewalks, as well as other public spaces. The spokesman for Mayor Ed Murray, Benton Strong told KNKX that the mayor would veto the legislation.

A Seattle native and former KNKX intern, Simone Alicea spent four years as a producer and reporter at KNKX. She earned her Bachelor's of Journalism from Northwestern University and covered breaking news for the Chicago Sun-Times. During her undergraduate career, she spent time in Cape Town, South Africa, covering metro news for the Cape Times.