President Donald Trump this week offered a condolence phone call to the family of a teenager who was shot and killed during the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) in Seattle last month.
Horace Lorenzo Anderson Jr., 19, was killed in the early hours of June 20 near the border of the so-called autonomous zone known as “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” zone, or CHOP, which was occupied by protesters for weeks.
His father, Horace Lorenzo Anderson Sr., told Fox News on Thursday that the president called the family to offer his support after seeing his interview with the channel’s “Hannity” host Sean Hannity the night before.
In the Wednesday interview, the 19-year-old’s father said that he was never told about what happened to his son, and that no one had ever reached out to him about his death. He told Hannity that it was only through two of his son’s friends that he learned of his son’s passing.
“The only way I found out was just two of his friends, just two friends that just happened to be up there and they came and told me. They weren’t even from Seattle,” Anderson said, noting that, at the time of the interview, he hadn’t been contacted by the police or the city mayor.
“Somebody needs to come to my house and knock on my door and tell me something. I don’t know anything. All I know is that my son got killed there,” Anderson said Wednesday.
Anderson confirmed that after the interview, he was contacted by both the president and Mayor Jenny Durkan (D).
“We just talked to the president of the United States,” Anderson’s friend and family spokesman Andre Taylor told Fox News on Thursday. “How are you going to top that?”
The family spokesman said that Trump told the family he was moved by the interview, and offered his condolences and support in the seven-minute phone call.
“He said he watched ‘Hannity’ last night, and told Horace, ‘Your son is looking down on you and watching over you,’” Taylor said. “He was incredibly gracious, and it gave Horace some extra help as he buried his son.”
In the interview with Hannity on Wednesday, Anderson told the host how his son’s death has left him heartbroken and numb, adding that he has trouble sleeping.
“I’m still trying to figure out answers so I can sleep. I don’t sleep. My kids don’t sleep. I can’t even stay home,” he said. “My kids … they feel like they are unsafe at home. I’ve been buying motel rooms and I don’t have that type of money. I wasn’t prepared for this.
“I wake up in the morning… I look for my son in the morning,” he said. “He’s not there no more. You know what I’m saying? It’s like I go in there, I’m kissing a picture. He’s not there.”
Taylor said that the president’s phone call on Thursday—the day of the funeral—gave him some peace and strength.
“It blew Horace’s mind,” he said.
Trump’s phone call came after the City of Seattle cleared CHOP—a move which was commended by Attorney General William Barr.
The police officers were enforcing an executive order by Mayor Jenny Durkan issued on Wednesday, declaring the gathering in CHOP as an “unlawful assembly.”
“I commend Police Chief Carmen Best for her courage and leadership in restoring the rule of law in Seattle. For the past several weeks, the Capitol Hill area of Seattle was occupied by protesters who denied access to police and other law enforcement personnel,” Barr said in a statement.
He said that Best had “rightly committed” to further discussions about the distrust of law enforcement by members of the black American community while ending violent defiance of the law. He noted that the autonomous zone had become “a haven for violent crime,” citing shootings that took place in and around the zone, which had resulted in the deaths of two teenagers.
“The message of today’s action is simple but significant: the Constitution protects the right to speak and assemble freely, but it provides no right to commit violence or defy the law, and such conduct has no place in a free society governed by law,” he added.
Janita Kan and Paula Liu contributed to this report.