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SEATTLE (KCPQ) — Violence erupted at the University of Washington Friday night as protesters opposed to a right-wing speaker at the campus and his supporters clashed. Bricks, firecrackers and paint were thrown at officers and others — and then a gunshot rang out.
A man in the crowd crumpled to the ground. According to FOX40 sister station KCPQ, the Seattle Fire Department confirmed an adult male was shot and had a “possible life threatening injury”; he was rushed to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.
Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg said the victim, believed to be in his early 20s, arrived at the hospital at 9 p.m. and that he was in critical condition and undergoing surgery.
The gunman wasn’t located. But a UW alert said the possible shooting suspect description was an Asian male, about 50, 5-foot-7, 190 pounds, glasses, with no facial hair, yellow cap and black jacket.
Earlier, hundreds of protesters had gathered at the UW campus to oppose the speaking engagement there by right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos. Tensions grew between masked protesters who tried to block the doors to the building where Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak and others who wanted to attend the speech inside.
Yiannopoulos writes for right-wing Breitbart News and is known for leading a harassment campaign that resulted in a lifetime ban from Twitter.
People marching against President Donald Trump in downtown Seattle had joined the Yiannopoulos demonstration at the University of Washington just prior to the shooting.
Fights also broke out between the protesters and Yiannopoulos’ supporters. Police in riot gear moved in when the violence erupted.
Milo’s speech went on at the UW about an hour later than scheduled, but then Seattle police said the protesters outside began “throwing bricks, other items at officers,” the police tweeted. This was before they announced a person had been shot.
The Seattle Times reported that police inside the event as the talk ended were keeping the audience in the room, saying “It’s a very volatile situation right now.” The newspaper said Yiannopoulos was whisked offstage.
Earlier, Q13 News reporter Steve Kiggins said that it appeared that police had detained a few of the protesters, who were chanting "USA, no Trump, no KKK, no Fascists" and who were trying to block the doors to the UW building where Yiannopoulos was to speak.
His speech, originally set for 7 p.m., was pushed back until at least 8 p.m.
Yiannopoulos responded to the shooting via Facebook, saying his "prayers are with the victim, whoever he is."