A couple with a young toddler was attacked and a man was killed during a chaotic incident at a Seattle-area homeless encampment last week.
The news comes alongside a report from Washington state radio host Jason Rantz that Seattle police are being prevented from monitoring homeless encampments in the city due to ongoing alternative policing initiatives.
According to KIRO-TV, law enforcement first responded to the scene on July 27 about 3 p.m. following reports of a hit-and-run near a large South Lake Union tent encampment.
After arriving at the scene and conducting an investigation, police discovered that the couple — who was with their 2-year-old son at the time — had driven to the camp to retrieve items recently stolen from their car, including shoes and a bluetooth speaker.
But when the couple arrived, a crowd descended on them with makeshift weapons such as a machete, rocks, and sticks. Surveillance footage even reportedly shows one man striking the driver in the back with a 5-foot-long wooden pole. Here's more from KIRO:
Police said the couple was immediately attacked by several people in the camp. The driver was seen on surveillance video being hit in the back with a 5-foot wooden pole, while another man attacked the driver and smashed the windows of the car with a machete, according to prosecutors. More people from the encampment joined the fight with rocks and sticks, and police said a woman from the camp began fighting with the female passenger of the car.
During the ambush, the driver desperately tried to get away and proceeded to speed through the crowd. In doing so, he allegedly struck and killed a 20-year-old man who had joined the group surrounding the vehicle.
One witness, a nearby business owner, confirmed the details of the incident to reporters.
"It was a car being attacked, being surrounded by people from this encampment and they were bashing the car to pieces with bars, sticks, whatever they had," he recalled. "Then the car made a run for it to break through this crowd."
"One of the guys who was surrounding the car got thrown up into the air and then run over by this vehicle," he said.
KIRO reported that Seattle police arrested the two men who allegedly attacked the couple with a machete and a wooden pole. John Henry Rosser IV, 39, and Mario J. Miller, 53, lived at the encampment and reportedly have lengthy criminal rap sheets.
"Miller is a 12-time felon in Washington and California, and Rosser is a nine-time felon," the outlet noted.
Prosecutors are not expected to charge the couple for running over and killing the man. Rosser and Miller are to be arraigned on Aug. 18.
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