When Mayor Jenny Durkan said she was ordering the Seattle police to clear out the BLM autonomous zone, the CHAZ, people thought it went away.
But while most of the people left, there was still a persistent core of BLM and homeless folks who have tried to occupy parts of Cal Anderson Park which had been the heart of the autonomous zone. There have been small dust-ups with the police and the city there since.
The city tried to address the continuing issue by hiring a security team to patrol the park. But the security team reportedly pulled out after they said that they were threatened by people with poles and other implements. Some security.
So while the park has still been “closed” to regular people, it’s had this underlying problem.
Well, Wednesday night, it didn’t end well.
According to tweets, BLM people reportedly came upon the body of a woman, believed to be the girlfriend of Travis Berge and called it in. Police responded to the scene to find the woman and determined that she had been fatally stabbed. They tried to save her but it was too late. The police have not yet identified her. The police then discovered Berge holed up in a nearby pump house, refusing to come out.
The police tried to get him out but were unable. You can hear them calling to “Travis.”
#HappeningNow – @SeattlePD negotiators attempt to communicate with suspect who has barricaded himself inside a pump house at Cal Anderson Park. Eyewitnesses in park are telling me he is the murder suspect. However no confirmation from SPD at this time. pic.twitter.com/XARaLroWq8
— Omari Salisbury (@Omarisal) September 17, 2020
After hours, when the police were finally able to get into the building, the police found Berge at the bottom of a 10-foot tank which contained about 50 gallons of a 12% bleach solution, officers said. HAZMAT crews had to be called in to help recover his body.
KOMO News identified Berge as the suspect. Berge was well-known, which is one reason the police knew him by name. He’s actually famous because he was featured in the past by KOMO as a habitual offender and meth addict. He’s had more than 35 arrests and multiple convictions, yet he was still able to be out to allegedly kill someone. He told KOMO that he “knew how to beat the criminal justice system.”
Police are still looking into the murder, but they believe it was a case of domestic violence. The couple had been camping in the park, along with others.
Here’s a couple of video snapshots of Travis Berge, including when the BLM were setting up the gardens in the CHAZ to help feed people (which wouldn’t even have been enough to feed a couple of people if they ever came up).
— Mountain Mama (@Constitution_76) July 1, 2020
— CIA-Simulation Warlord 🇺🇸😈🇺🇸 (@zerosum24) September 17, 2020
So in addition to the fact that he should have been locked up, none of the people there should have been in the park. Why are BLM folks and homeless still there? Had security not been threatened or if they had real security there, maybe the people wouldn’t have been there. But in addition to this horrible murder which shouldn’t have happened, it shows the continuing problem there that still hasn’t been resolved and could lead to more tragedy if it isn’t.