Seattle police who executed a search warrant of a van abandoned near a series of weekend fires recovered heavy-duty fireworks (explosives), weaponry and riot gear believed to have been used during riots in the area, officials announced Wednesday.
During Saturday’s “large demonstration” in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the former CHOP, a crowd set construction trailers on fire, and damaged cars and businesses before making its way toward Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, police said Wednesday evening.
But as the crowd headed toward the precinct shortly before 4:30 p.m., a van followed and parked in front of the police building. It was facing the wrong direction in a traffic lane, and later abandoned, Fox News reports.
“At about the same time explosions occurred outside the precinct,” the press release states. “Individuals in the crowd threw explosives at officers. One explosion occurred along the north wall of the precinct (on Pine Street), which blew a hole in the wall of the building.”
A witness told police people had surrounded the van earlier in the day, while its back doors were open, to show “improvised shields, gas masks, baseball bats and a large assortment of pyrotechnic explosives inside the van,” officials said.
Police searched the van under warrant and found:
- firework pyrotechnics
- improvised spike strips and nails
- bear spray
- gas masks
- homemade shields
- helmets, shin guards and additional types of body armor
Seattle Police Sgt. James Lee, who works with the department’s arson/bomb squad, told the Seattle Times his team also found remnants of a Molotov cocktail that exploded near King County’s juvenile detention facility, which is under construction.
“(The bear spray) is causing burns and itching and stinging to (officers’) face and exposed skin,” Lee said at the news conference. “This lasts much longer than the … type of pepper spray that police use and is much stronger. It is not safe for use on humans.”
Chief Best said 59 officers were injured during the weekend riots and protests.