Shooter sent Facebook message to Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos before gut-shooting violent liberal at UW protest, police say

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Jethro Winchester

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Dec 7, 2021, 4:50:02 PM12/7/21
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The man who told police he shot and wounded another man during a
violent demonstration over the appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos
at the University of Washington sent a social-media message to
the Breitbart News editor just an hour before the shooting.

“Hey Milo,” the 29-year-old former UW student posted to
Yiannopoulos’ Facebook page at 7:24 p.m. “im outside in line to
your UW event.

“I got sucker punched (he was a bit limp wristed) and someone
jacked my #MAGA hat,” he said, referring to the ubiquitous red
and white “Make America Great Again” caps worn by supporters of
President Trump.

“Anyway for me to get a replacement signed by you?” the man asked

Yiannopoulos did not respond, and the man went on to be caught
up in a raucous confrontation between those trying to get inside
the UW’s Kane Hall to see Yiannopoulos and protesters trying to
keep them out.

Sometime just before 8:30 p.m., the man — who at this point was
wearing a yellow hat — was involved in a scuffle with several
people, and he allegedly shot and wounded the other man.

The man and his wife surrendered to UW police several hours
later, claiming he fired in self-defense, according to law-
enforcement officials. He was questioned and released. The
Seattle Times is not naming the man because he has not been
charged with a crime.

A law-enforcement source familiar with the UW police
investigation said detectives obtained a search warrant for the
man’s car and Sunday recovered a handgun from the trunk.

The man’s Facebook page indicates he is a supporter of Trump,
Yiannopoulos and the National Rifle Association.

Efforts to reach the man Monday were unsuccessful. The man’s
wife, reached by telephone Monday, said she would not comment.

UW Police Major Steve Rittereiser declined Monday to discuss
details of the investigation, saying the department’s five-
member detective team was working with Seattle police and the
King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

He said the work included interviewing witnesses and studying
videos of the incident supplied to investigators. Seattle police
have offered technical expertise to study the video, he said.

Samie Frites, a nursing assistant who said he had gone to the
protest “to make sure nobody got hurt,” said he saw a man pull
“something out of his coat and started firing these little
projectiles into the crowd.”

The law-enforcement source said it was pepper spray.

“I yelled at him to stop,” Frites said. “That’s when this other
guy came out of the crowd and went after him.”

Frites said he grabbed him to try to prevent a confrontation.
That’s when Frites said he heard a “muffled noise,” which he is
now sure was the gunshot.

“The guy I was holding looked back at me over his shoulder. He
looked bad. He was really scared,” said Frites, who said he
lowered the wounded man to the ground.

The shooting victim’s condition improved to satisfactory and he
was moved out of the intensive-care unit Monday night at
Harborview Medical Center.

Several sources have identified the victim as Josh Dukes, 34, a
Seattle computer-security engineer and a member of the
Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) General Defense Committee,
which describes itself as an “anti-racist and anti-fascist
organization.”

His Seattle attorney, Sarah Lippek, confirmed his identity,
although she said Dukes was concerned about his name being made
public “as the risk of harassment and threats is very real, and
my client needs time to rest and recover from his injuries.”
Lippek said Dukes planned to issue a public statement at a later
date.

Lippek said Dukes attended the event “in order to resist Mr.
Yiannopoulos’ message through principled protest.”

“He is aware that there are many conflicting narratives
circulating about what occurred that night,” Lippek said in a
statement released Monday evening. “My client wishes to express
his empathy for the person who shot him. He hopes to engage in
constructive dialogue with that person, in order to de-escalate
and provide a community-based response to this violence.”

The IWW has created a Crowdwise social-media funding page to
raise money for his hospital expenses. So far, it has raised
more than $42,000.

Dukes was an early opponent to the appearance of Yiannopoulos at
the UW and worked to organize a resistance among a number of
groups, including the IWW and the Capitol Hill Neighborhood
Action Coalition, where he posted a link to a document outlining
how anti-Yiannopoulos forces had rallied against the Breitbart
editor at other colleges where he has appeared.

Yiannopoulos’ visit to the UW campus was highly anticipated, and
there were rumors that protesters would try to shut down the
speech by the senior editor at Breitbart News, which has been
denounced by many as a platform for hate. Yiannopoulos has been
permanently banned from Twitter for racism and misogyny.

Mike Carter: mca...@seattletimes.com or 206-464-3706.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included.

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