A young man wearing a pro-President Donald Trump baseball cap pulled out a handgun during a confrontation with political opponents Saturday afternoon in Woodinville, and police say they’re still investigating to learn the full picture.
The incident, at 3:30 p.m., involved about 15 people in the retail center of the northeast Seattle suburb, according to Sgt. Ryan Abbott of the King County Sheriff’s Office, which provides Woodinville police services.
Video footage shows two groups of demonstrators. One held a Trump sign and an American flag, while the opposing group included a sign-holder backing the president’s opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
Earlier in the afternoon, there were two small clusters of young anti-Trump demonstrators, mostly ages 16 to 20, who had gathered on two street corners to oppose a pro-Trump group across the intersection.
The groups chanted as drivers honked to support either political side, a Woodinville woman active in social-justice protests said in an interview Sunday morning.
Some teens twerked and flipped the middle finger at the Trump supporters, while both sides hurled insults, according to another witness, Mandy Luttinen, who said she had joined a pro-Biden group in her crow-shaped plague doctor costume, to watch over the teens and “lighten things up a bit.”
Abbott said the situation escalated when someone flung a bucket of liquid at the man.
In a widely shared video clip, there’s some shoving, and someone shouts, “It’s water, you snowflake!” Luttinen said it looked like water tainted by mud or tobacco juice, thrown by someone not in the demonstrator groups. That happened as the small-group rallies were winding down, and the pro-Trump group walked past the teens to reach a parking lot, said Luttinen.
Officers retrieved the 5-gallon bucket with some fluid, and are working to confirm the contents, Abbott said.
The Woodinville activist heard a bucket drop and saw a male running away, she said. Then the man raised the gun in the direction of young counterprotesters, for a few seconds, she said.
“My friend and I ran into traffic. He had lowered the gun, and we put ourself between the gun and the children,” said the woman, who requested anonymity for her personal safety.
Footage shows that as the counterprotesters shouted, the Trump supporter with the gun retreated into a tree-lined lawn, escorted by someone grabbing his arm. This occurred on a corner of Northeast 175th Street and 140th Avenue Northeast.
People on both sides shouted they would call police, and Luttinen said officers arrived quickly, in five to eight minutes.
Afterward, the man with the gun stayed nearby, complained his eyes were burning, and was checked by firefighters, Abbott said.
No citations or arrests were reported as of Sunday morning.
Officers spoke with witnesses from both sides, and detectives are gathering surveillance video from buildings, Abbott said. “There’s a lot of different stories [and] we’re trying to figure out what happened.”
Most Read Local Stories
- 'They're always from somewhere else': A Northwest town debates who owns its homelessness crisis
- Washington is the country's worst offender when it comes to using too much jargon
- Missing paddleboarder found dead in Lake Sammamish
- Bellevue man who drowned in Lake Washington identified
- Coronavirus daily news updates, June 19: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world