The father of a 19-year-old Seattle man fatally shot in the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone in June filed wrongful-death claims totaling $3 billion this week, seeking $1 billion each from the City of Seattle, King County and the state of Washington.
“We are looking at this as an exemplary award,” Seattle attorney Evan M. Oshan, who is representing Horace Anderson, said Thursday of the claims he filed Wednesday.
Horace Anderson is the father of Horace Lorenzo Anderson, who was shot June 20 and bled out for 20 minutes before volunteer medics transported him to Harborview Medical Center, where he died. The elder Anderson was his son’s primary caregiver, Oshan said.
“We don’t exactly know where blame lies so we’re putting all the entities on notice and will begin the discovery process and flush out justice,” he said.
The city, county and state have 60 days to respond to the claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit. Oshan said he and his client haven’t yet decided if the lawsuit will be filed in state or federal court.
Last month, Lorenzo Anderson’s mother, Donnitta Sinclair Martin, filed a claim against the city, alleging city officials created a dangerous environment by allowing protesters to occupy six city blocks and that police and fire officials failed to protect or medically assist her son. Her attorneys, who did not specify a dollar amount, plan to file a federal wrongful-death suit.
Lorenzo Anderson was shot multiple times early June 20 at 10th Avenue and East Pine Street, near what was a boundary of the CHOP zone before it was cleared by police July 1.
On Aug. 5, King County prosecutors charged 18-year-old Marcel Long with first-degree murder, accusing him of gunning Anderson down and then immediately fleeing the state. A $2 million warrant was issued for Long’s arrest but his whereabouts remain unknown.
According to charging documents, Anderson and Long were in a fight a year ago and video of the fight was posted on YouTube; Anderson apparently lost that fight and he and Long had been feuding ever since.
The city’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services, which receives claims filed against the city, confirmed Thursday the claim filed on behalf of Horace Anderson had been received, according to spokesperson Melissa Mixon. She said in an email that the city does not typically comment on acting or pending claims.
Cameron Satterfield, a spokesperson for King County’s Department of Executive Services, also confirmed his department had received Anderson’s claim and has begun the process of reviewing it. Harold Goldes, a spokesperson for the the state’s Department of Enterprise Services, said as of Thursday afternoon, a tort claim had not yet been received.
At 2:20 a.m. June 20, several people called 911 to report a shooting at 10th Avenue and East Pine Street, within the CHOP boundaries.
Fifteen minutes later, several police officers entered the CHOP zone and “were confronted by an aggressive and volatile crowd,” say the charges filed against Long. Some in the crowd yelled that the shooting victim had already been taken to the hospital.
Seattle Fire Department medics had staged nearby, but the scene was too dangerous for them to enter without police first securing the area, officials said at the time.
At 2:43 a.m., police were notified by a security official at Harborview Medical Center that a shooting victim, later identified as Anderson, had just been dropped off at the hospital. Anderson was pronounced dead at 2:53 a.m. Officers arrived at the hospital three minutes later.
Though detectives and crime-scene investigators were unable to enter the CHOP zone to gather evidence, photograph the scene or interview witnesses as they normally would during a homicide investigation the charges say, several people either contacted police or were interviewed by detectives in the 72 hours following the fatal shooting.
Police also obtained video-surveillance footage that showed Anderson and Long talking before Long pulled a gun and chased after Anderson, shooting him at least four times, according to charging documents.
“With power and prestige comes great responsibility and our leaders owe us a civic duty to keep us safe as citizens,” Oshan said. “I don’t know where this will lead but I have great faith in our legal system, in our jury system, and I believe we’ll get to the bottom of this. I know we will.”
Seeking $3 billion “just seemed to be the appropriate number,” he said. “This case will be setting an example — you need to keep your citizens safe.”
Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this story.