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Couple charged in shooting outside Seattle right-wing event

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2017 photo, a protester holds a sign that reads "Make Fascists Afraid Again!" during a demonstration in front of Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus where far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos was giving a speech in Seattle. Prosecutors charged a couple Monday, April 24, 2017 in connection with a shooting earlier in the evening during the protest. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

SEATTLE (AP) — Prosecutors on Monday charged a couple in connection with a shooting during a demonstration over the appearance of a right-wing speaker at the University of Washington in January. Lawyers for the two said they acted in self-defense.

Elizabeth Hokoana, 29, was charged with first-degree assault for shooting a 34-year-old protester in the abdomen. Her husband, Marc Hokoana, was charged with third-degree assault.

Joshua Dukes, 34, was critically injured in the Jan. 20 shooting and had several surgeries before he was released from a hospital.

The shooting happened outside the university auditorium appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos, a far-right commentator known for leading a hate campaign that resulted in a lifetime ban from Twitter.

In charging papers, King County prosecutors say “this shooting was not an impulsive act done in a moment of fear.”

Instead, the two went to the campus event “with the intent to provoke altercations with protesters who they knew would also be at this controversial event,” wrote Mary Barbosa, senior deputy prosecuting attorney.

Barbosa added that they “created a situation designed to allow Elizabeth Hokoana to shoot the victim in the middle of an extremely crowded event under the guise of defending herself or her husband.”

In a probable-cause statement by a University of Washington police officer, Marc Hokoana messaged a friend on Facebook the day before Yiannopoulos was scheduled to talk and said he “can’t wait for tomorrow.” In the message, obtained by a search warrant, he wrote: “I’m going to the Milo event and if the snowflakes get out off hand I’m just going to wade through their ranks and start cracking skulls.”

Lawyers for the couple in a statement said the two have given police and prosecutors “evidence showing that our clients acted lawfully in defense of others.”

“We look forward to presenting our case to a jury and we anticipate an acquittal,” lawyers Kim Gordon and Steven Wells said.

Warrants have been issued for the arrests of the two, but they are not expected to be booked before their arraignment set for May 8, according to their lawyers and the prosecutor’s office.

Prosecutors have sought $50,000 bail for each.

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This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Marc.

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