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UW shooter identified by attorney

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Police in Red Square during the Jan. 20 protests

More than a month ago I reported in Seattle Weekly that Marc Hokoana told his wife, Elizabeth Hokoana, “don’t shoot anyone,” a statement captured on video. In a separate video, Marc is heard saying “they have to start it.” In addition, the shooting victim’s attorney claims the conflict all began because Marc was pepper spraying people, sparking the victim’s decision to intervene. Elizabeth’s attorney, Steve Wells, confirmed with The Seattle Times yesterday that she was the shooter.

Wells explained that somebody else provided the publication information identifying Elizabeth as the shooter, and so there was no point in keeping it a secret. He nonetheless informed me for Seattle Weekly that he believes it’s possible to dump or reduce charges for Elizabeth. 

“We believe she has an excellent self-defense case,” Wells said for the Weekly. When asked why Elizabeth decided to bring a gun to a protest on a university campus, he replied, “Mrs. Hokoana has a carry conceal permit. I think that’s as far as I want to go with that.”

The shooting happened in Red Square on Jan. 20 when a combination of inauguration and Milo Yiannopoulos protests faced off with fans of both Yiannopoulos and President Donald Trump. Voices from across the political spectrum were present.

Meanwhile, the UW community remains frustrated. Multiple students and faculty have come forward, but none wanting to be on the record, claiming that the UW administration sends people on a loop of endless resources that appear to never actually step in. UW president Ana Mari Cauce, however, contended on her blog that “[The UW] has taken swift and decisive action to protect our campus community.”

The UW administration has otherwise addressed itself as blameless — clear in blog posts, emails, and Q&As — when it comes to students, the Yiannopoulos event, and the lack of administrative action (outside of blog posts and emails) following the shooting. 

The administration and student leaders have taken different approaches to student safety. ASUW personnel director Kay Fuhlman stated she was advocating to get panic buttons placed in the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center and the Q Center only two weeks after the shooting. Most of the grunt work and preventative measures since the shooting have come from the UW Police Department’s investigation, individual/community research, and students.

There has been public outcry that the UWPD investigation is taking too long. This frustration focuses on the fact that Marc and Elizabeth turned themselves in to UWPD headquarters on Jan. 20, around 12:30 a.m., stating that they were involved in a “self-defense shooting.”

But UWPD Major Steve Rittereiser said the department isn’t feeling more pressure than usual. 

“It’s a police investigation and we’re just doing our job, so I don’t think there’s any more pressure to do anything,” he said. “Obviously it’s an important case, but we don’t look at it as having more pressure than any particular case … The important part is it seems like the community has been very supportive.”

Washington state is a concealed carry state, and it’s only a crime to bring a firearm onto K-12 school property. Bringing a firearm to a university campus is only administratively punishable if brought by a student. 

Norm Arkans, vice president of UW media relations and communications, didn’t know of any other previous incidents in which a gun was fired on the UW campus. 

“I would bet one percent [of students] would ever even consider bringing a gun to campus,” Arkans said, mentioned in Seattle Weekly. “Of those, if they have a license for that weapon, you would think they’d be very aware of the laws and rules governing the carrying of that weapon.”

Marc Hokoana brawled with a protester that night as well, as shown in Q13 Fox News’ video.

UWPD issued a warrant to search Marc’s phone in February. They have also been working with the Seattle Police Department to comb through videos, live streams, and social media posts concerning the event. UWPD is currently waiting for video and audio enhancements to come back before they send the case to the prosecuting attorney.

“I would describe [Marc and Elizabeth] as being very polite and cooperative,” said Rittereiser.

The UW has gone through a series of rather alarming events that relate to a less accepting environment: A UW Muslim woman and student had a bottle thrown at her head while walking on campus in December; neo-Nazi recruitment posters have been posted around the UW since Jan. 17; and students claim the Q Center had a student come in yelling with a visible six-inch knife on his person.

To leave a confidential tip on the UWPD tip-line, call 206-685-TIPS (8477), but in an emergency, call 911. The department’s non-emergency number is 206-685-UWPD (8973). Commendations and complaints can be filed with UWPD as well.  

Students can choose to utilize UW Safe Campus, a central reporting office, if concerned for personal or a friend’s safety. Reach them by calling 206-685-SAFE (7233) or emailing them at safecampus@uw.edu.

 

Reach reporter Kelsey Hamlin at news@dailyuw.comTwitter: @ItsKelseyHamlin

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