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Sept. 20, 2020

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Arrest warrant issued for CHOP shooting suspect, who prosecutors say fled state

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SEATTLE — An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for an 18-year-old man who King County prosecutors say fled the state immediately after he fatally shot a man in June in the six-block area then known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone.

Marcel Long, who remains at large, was charged Wednesday with premeditated first-degree murder in the death of Lorenzo Anderson, a 19-year-old Seattle man who was pronounced dead at Harborview Medical Center 33 minutes after police received the first 911 calls about the early-morning shooting on June 20, the charges say. The murder charge also carries a firearms enhancement.

Long, who also goes by the name Marcel Green and is known as “Celly Cell” on social media, has a last known address in Renton, according to the charges. His bail was set at $2 million and he is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 19.

“Detectives identified the defendant within a day of the shooting, and they received information that the defendant immediately fled the state. All efforts to locate him have been unsuccessful,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Erin Ehlert wrote in the charges. “The defendant’s willingness to fire his weapon around crowds of people, in his effort to kill Lorenzo, demonstrates the severe danger he represents to the community and the risk of harm to others. His immediate flight also demonstrates his desire to avoid being held accountable for this crime.”

Seattle police have determined that Anderson’s killing is unrelated to a non-fatal shooting of a 33-year-old man in the CHOP that occurred roughly 16 minutes after Anderson was shot. Earlier this week, detectives appealed for the public’s help in identifying several persons of interest in that shooting, according to an item posted on SPD’s online blotter.

Seattle Police Department homicide detectives also continue to investigate a June 29 shooting in the CHOP, at 12th Avenue and East Pine Street, that killed 16-year-old Antonio Mays Jr. and seriously injured a 14-year-old boy. That shooting effectively ended the city’s tolerance for CHOP, which was a police-free zone for about three weeks before police cleared protesters from the area on July 1.

According to the murder charge filed against Long:

At 2:20 a.m. on June 20, several people called 911 to report a shooting at 10th Avenue and East Pine Street, within the CHOP boundaries.

Fifteen minutes later, several police officers entered the CHOP zone and “were confronted by an aggressive and volatile crowd,” say the charges. Some in the crowd yelled that the shooting victim had already been taken to the hospital.

At 2:43 a.m., police were notified by a security official at Harborview Medical Center that a shooting victim, later identified as Anderson, had just been dropped off at the hospital. Anderson was pronounced dead at 2:53 a.m. Officers arrived at the hospital three minutes later.

Though detectives and crime-scene investigators were unable to enter the CHOP zone to gather evidence, photograph the scene or interview witnesses as they normally would during a homicide investigation, several people either contacted police or were interviewed by detectives in the 72 hours following the fatal shooting, the charges say.

One man, who was working in a medical tent, told detectives he saw a man fire several rounds into the air, then run from the scene, but the witness didn’t see who shot Anderson. A person described as providing security for the CHOP photographed blood stains on the pavement and collected shell casings and bullet fragments, which he turned over to police along with his notes describing the locations where they were found.

By the end of the day on June 20, Seattle police had received several anonymous tips that led them to identify Long as the gunman, the charges say.

The next day, a man showed up at SPD’s West Precinct and admitted he had fired his handgun into the air — and he asked to speak to a detective to explain why.

He told police he was at the CHOP and was watching a group of young men who did not appear to be part of the protest group as they played dice, gambled and set off fireworks, according to the charges. A fight broke out and one of the men in the group pulled out a handgun.

As people ran from the armed man, one young man tripped and fell to the ground, and the armed man approached him, pointing his gun at the man who was lying on the ground on his back. The witness told police he fired 7 or 8 rounds from his 10 mm Glock pistol into the air to distract the other gunman, who looked at the witness before firing twice at the prone man.

The man who witnessed the shooting selected Long’s photo from a police photo montage but noted the shooter had a different hairstyle than the one pictured, the charges say.

A Capitol Hill business owner also contacted police and provided detectives with what is described as “extremely high quality” video-surveillance footage of the shooting. According to the charges, detectives were able to identify Long and Anderson in the video, which does not have audio but shows the two men talking before Long pulled a gun and pointed it at Anderson.

The footage shows that Anderson turned and quickly walked away but was chased by Long, according to the charges. At one point, several people attempted to detain Long as Anderson continued to walk away, but Long broke free and ran after Anderson; his body language and the movement of his gun indicate he fired or attempted to fire at Anderson’s back, say the charges.

When Long and several others caught up to Anderson, the footage captured a fistfight, then Long raised his arm and appeared to fire twice with his gun angled downward, the charges say. Anderson couldn’t be seen on that portion of the video and was presumably down on the sidewalk with gunshot wounds.

An autopsy found that Anderson had been shot at least four times and two rounds were recovered from his body. Those rounds are most consistent with .40-caliber rounds, and ballistic tests later showed they did not match a round test-fired from the witness’s 10 mm Glock handgun, say the charges.

On June 24, a man who identified himself as a family liaison for Anderson’s relatives contacted police and said he’d heard from one of Anderson’s friends that Anderson and Long were in a fight a year ago and video of the fight was posted on YouTube. According to the charges, the man said Anderson lost the fight and he and Long had been feuding ever since.

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