It was early morning after his graduation day.
It could have been a joyous weekend. One to celebrate his accomplishments: earning a diploma from Interagency Academy’s Youth Education Program (YEP) after time spent in and out of school. One that represented the fork in a path that’d been paved by struggle — he wanted stable housing, to hold down a job, to eventually have a family.
But 19-year-old Horace Lorenzo Anderson, who went by his middle name, was dead.
Anderson was one of two people shot Saturday morning at the edge of the Capitol Hill protest zone known as CHOP, or Capitol Hill Organized Protest. Seattle Fire Department officials say he was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center at 2:53 a.m. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed his identity Monday and said he died from multiple gunshot wounds.
The other person who was shot, a 33-year-old man, remained in critical condition at Harborview as of Monday. The shooting is still under investigation, and no suspects are in custody.
Ambulances never made it to Anderson at the scene of the shooting, which occurred just after 2 a.m.
Seattle police said they could not clear the area, and Anderson was brought to the hospital by volunteer medics. His shooting in a zone free of police and seemingly impermeable to emergency personnel — created in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis — comes amid a deep, national reckoning over persistent racial injustice against Black people. Anderson was Black.
Aushinae Washington, Anderson’s former girlfriend, says she awoke to a late-night call from her father, who shared the news. When she and her mother arrived at the hospital around 5:40 a.m., they were told to wait outside with Anderson’s family. “No one was allowed, not even his mother and father were allowed to see his body,” she said.
“The family was left with nothing but disorientation,” her mother, Brandy McWilliams, said.
Washington met Anderson when she was 16. He loved basketball back then, but soon he put his heart into making music. He would take time to write lyrics and develop raps, she said.
Anderson wrote about what it was like growing up in a rough neighborhood, said Johnny Jefferson, who was close with Anderson and is the site lead at YEP, an alternative high school for students who have trouble succeeding at neighborhood schools.
“He came from a part of Seattle where it was tough to survive in those types of conditions,” Jefferson said. “You either go with the wolves or you get eaten.” Anderson had trouble finding safe housing. He got into trouble. But having difficult things to work through — that’s what life is like for almost anybody, Jefferson said.
When Anderson would disappear from school for a few days, as he did on occasion, Jefferson found creative ways to talk Anderson into coming back. Jefferson offered to cut his students’ hair if they met him at school for the trim. “I’d trap him into getting some work done,” Jefferson said.
Anderson found a home at YEP. Teachers there adored him. So did his classmates. In a photo of the pair near the Space Needle last spring, Jefferson swung his arm over Anderson’s shoulder while Anderson looked confidently at the camera. “He really wanted to be loved,” Jefferson said.
Anderson’s English language arts teacher Ehren Berger ran into him a few weeks ago near a Fred Meyer in Greenwood. They hugged, talked.
“He was going to get his diploma this year,” Berger said. “I told him how proud I was of him for sticking with it, for not giving up.”