A man was shot and critically injured Friday evening at the University of Washington in Seattle during a protest held in opposition to an event featuring Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
The Seattle Police Department said an unidentified, 32-year-old male was hospitalized after suffering a gunshot wound to the abdomen during Friday’s demonstration.
A person of interest later turned himself in to campus police, the mayor’s office said in a statement Saturday.
“He is now being questioned about the incident. The University of Washington Police Department is handling the shooting investigation, with support from Seattle Police Department detectives,” the statement said.
The incident occurred outside Kane Hall on the UW campus where Mr. Yiannopoulos was slated to appear before a sold-out crowd as part of a controversial college speaking tour that has continuously spurred protests due to his outspoken views on topics including Islam and feminism.
In addition to working as editor for the conservative Breitbart site, Mr. Yiannopoulos, 32, gained notoriety last year after being permanently banned from Twitter for his ties to a harassment campaign that targeted “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones.
His sympathy for the so-called alt-right movement has caused complications for his current speaking tour, however, which has been repeatedly marred by protests. A gig scheduled for last week at the University of California, Davis was abruptly canceled moments before he was slated to take the stage after demonstrators blocked access to the building and organizers decided it wouldn’t be safe to hold the event as planned.
Attendees of Friday night’s event in Seattle said Mr. Yiannopoulos briefly exited the stage at one point to confirm reports that a person had been shot outside, then vowed to continue with the event assuming the victim survived.
“If we don’t continue, they have won,” he told the crowd, according to a Seattle Times reporter. “If it turns out this is a fatality we will call a halt to the show,” he reportedly added.
“My prayers are with the victim, whoever he is,” Mr. Yiannopoulos said in a Facebook post afterwards.
University of Washington’s president issued a statement saying she was “heartbroken” over the shooting at “this otherwise peaceful protest.”
“Political action and peaceful protest are the primary engines of constructive change,” UW president Ana Mari Cauce said Saturday. “Violence is destructive and has no place. Our thoughts are with the man who was shot, and with his family and friends. We fervently hope he recovers.”