The man who told police he shot someone outside a Milo Yiannopoulos event at the University of Washington on Friday is a supporter of President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association, according to The Seattle Times.
The victim of the shooting, who suffered life-threatening injuries after being shot in the abdomen, is a member of a radical labor union who showed up at the event to protest against Yiannopoulos.
Yiannopoulos, an editor at Breitbart News and outspoken Donald Trump supporter, was on stage at the University of Washington’s Kane Hall on Friday evening when he received news of the shooting. After he concluded his talk, police held attendees inside the venue because of a “very volatile” situation unfolding outside. (RELATED: Man Shot Outside Of Milo Yiannopulos Event)
Police have been largely silent since the shooting and information has been scarce. In the vacuum of knowledge, competing narratives about the shooting — many of them utterly wrong — have arisen.
The confessed shooter is a 29-year-old male who previously attended the University of Washington, according to the Times. His name remains undisclosed.
At 7:24 p.m. on Friday night, about an hour before Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak, the man attempted to have a conversation with Yiannopoulos via Facebook.
“Hey Milo im outside in line to your UW event,” the message read, according to the Seattle newspaper.
“I got sucker punched (he was a bit limp wristed) and someone jacked my #MAGA hat,” the shooter wrote. (The “#MAGA hat” is obviously a reference to Trump’s slogan: “Make America Great Again.”)
“Anyway for me to get a replacement signed by you?” the unidentified man asked.
A Seattle Times search of the Facebook page belonging to the man who says he shot Dukes shows that he is a fan of Yiannopoulos, Trump and the National Rifle Association.
After sending the Facebook missive, to which Yiannopulos did not respond, the 29-year-old man became involved in escalating hostilities between supporters of Yiannopulos and protesters of the event.
A scuffle ensued just before 8:30 p.m.
A witness to the shooting, Samie Frites, told the Times someone sprayed the crowd with “these little projectiles” — which turned out to be pepper spray.
There was some kind of confrontation and then a sound, which was likely the gunshot.
The gunshot victim, whom Frites ended up holding, has been identified as Josh Dukes.
He “looked bad” and “was really scared,” according to Frites.
Dukes, 34, spent the weekend in intensive care at a Seattle hospital.
Dukes is a computer-security engineer and a member of radical union called the Industrial Workers of the World which advocates for “a struggle” between “the workers of the world” and “a handful of bosses” until the workers “take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.”
Sarah Lippek, an attorney representing Dukes, fears that “the risk of harassment and threats is very real” for him.
“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,” Lippek told the Times.
Industrial Workers of the World has established a fundraising page to defray hospital and recovery costs for Dukes. As of the wee hours of Thursday morning, the fundraising effort has raised over $49,000.
The man who said he is responsible for shooting Dukes turned himself in on Friday night at around 1 a.m. local time.
The man is claiming self-defense.
Police have not arrested him.
Investigators with the University of Washington police department say they are interviewing witnesses and examining videos of the events surrounding the shooting.
On Sunday, after obtaining a search warrant, police searched the alleged shooter’s vehicle and found a handgun.
Yiannopoulos is a gay conservative and Breitbart editor who is currently doing a speaking circuit called the “Dangerous Faggot Tour” at college campuses railing against political correctness.
Protesters outside the University of Washington event assaulted attendees and threw bricks and other objects at police officers. One victim was a high school senior who said he was assaulted and paint-bombed because he was wearing a pro-Trump hat.
When Yiannopoulous received word of the shooting, he left the stage for several minutes. When he returned, he announced that he would not end the show until he received news of a fatality.
Police reportedly slipped audience members out of the event by way of an underground parking garage after urging them to take off their Trump hats.
The University of Washington initially issued an alert stating that the suspected shooter had been described as an Asian man around 50 years of age.
The shooting followed a fairly day of vandalism and violence in Washington, D.C. in response to Trump’s inauguration.
On Friday afternoon, protesters sucker-punched alt-right leader Richard Spencer while he was giving an interview on a D.C. sidewalk.