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Man shot near CHOP says protestors saved his life, blasts police response

A man was shot just outside Seattle's Capitol Hill Organized Protest Zone (CHOP, formerly CHAZ). He said he owes his life to the protesters, not the police.

SEATTLE — A protester shot just outside the what’s called the Capitol Hill Organized Protest Zone (CHOP) over the weekend wants to know why police didn’t respond quicker.

From his hospital bed, 33-year-old DeJuan Young said he's alive because of CHOP protesters.

“I put my life in their hands and they didn’t let me down,” Young said.

Young said that he was leaving the CHOP to head home early Saturday morning. He says four men approached him, called him a racial slur and shot him.

“I’m positive this was a hate crime,” Young said. “When he shot me, the recoil and the surprise pushed me on top of the hood of the vehicle. At that time, he stood over top of me and continued to shoot. And I tried to block myself." 

Young said that despite being outside the CHOP zone, it was volunteer medics and not the Seattle police or fire department that tended to him and ultimately drove him to Harborview.

RELATED: Activist urges CHOP demonstrators to leave at night after recent Seattle shootings

Seattle Police have since released five minutes of video footage. The footage was released after the department claimed police were met by a violent crowd that prevented emergency responders from getting to the victim. 

Young said he holds strong to his belief of the need to defund the police. 

On Wednesday morning, Black Live Matters organizers echoed that sentiment.

“There was no need for police or the fire department at that point because by the time police arrived, CHOP medics were gone to Harborview,” said Mohawk Kuzma of Black Lives Matter Seattle.

Kuzma said protesters aren’t going anywhere, despite Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan recently claiming that the city is working to dismantle the CHOP and have police return to the abandoned East Precinct

Seattle police left the East Precinct several weeks ago acter they could no longer hold it down from protesters. 

Kuzma said the East Precinct is the best bargaining chip they have.

“We are not going to give up this space. We refuse to give up this space until the city funds community-based services like housing community services and defunds the police by at least $200 million,” he said.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best accused protesters of thwarting the efforts of police and other first responders, saying that a19-year-old shot and killed in CHOP may still be alive had police been allowed to enter.

RELATED: 'It’s time for people to go home': Seattle mayor wants to dismantle 'CHOP' zone after recent shootings