1 person killed after Trump supporters, protesters clash in Portland
A person was fatally shot in Portland, Ore., late Saturday after clashes erupted between Black Lives Matter protesters and a caravan of President Trump’s supporters, police said.
The Portland Police Bureau said in a statement that a homicide investigation was underway after officers responded to the sounds of gunfire around 8:46 p.m. It remains unclear whether the shooting in downtown Portland was linked to the skirmishes between demonstrators.
The victim of the shooting was wearing a hat with “Patriot Prayer” emblazoned across the front, according to reports. Patriot Prayer is a far-right group based in Portland that has repeatedly fought with protesters.
“[Police] responded and located a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. Medical responded and determined that the victim was deceased,” Portland police said, adding that information on the suspect would not be released.
In another statement released early Sunday, police acknowledged videos circulating on social media purporting to show the shooting.
“If anyone can provide information about this case, I ask them to please reach out to our detectives,” Police Chief Chuck Lovell said. “This violence is completely unacceptable and we are working diligently to find and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible.”
Sunday’s shooting came after a caravan of vehicles stretching for miles entered downtown Portland, leading to fights, disturbances and collisions, police said. The caravan included hundreds of trucks full of Trump supporters, according to reports. The New York Times noted that the caravan plotted a route that would keep it on a highway but that some ralliers headed downtown and were confronted by counterprotesters.
Police said the caravan left before 9 p.m. but noted that fights also broke out in the hours after the shooting. Police said there was “sporadic fighting and vandalism” as groups moved downtown late that evening. Ten people were arrested and are facing charges, including disorderly conduct and reckless burning, police added.
“GREAT PATRIOTS,” Trump said in a post on Twitter early Sunday morning that included video of the caravan.
GREAT PATRIOTS! https://t.co/BWGxVoBTmI
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2020
The police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., reignited protests across the U.S. last week as activists demanded accountability for the officers involved. Protests persisted in Portland; however, they have numbered only about a few hundred people in recent days, the Times reported.
Portland has seen daily protests since the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Tensions in the city intensified in July after the Trump administration deployed federal agents to protect a federal courthouse.
Trump has repeatedly threatened to send federal officers to the city again because of the unrest. He tweeted early Sunday, “The National Guard is Ready, Willing and Able. All the Governor has to do is call!”
Oregon state and local officials decried the federal presence in Portland last month, saying it caused far more harm than good. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) said in an open letter to Trump on Friday to keep federal troops away.
“We don’t need your politics of division and demagoguery,” he said. “Portlanders are onto you. We have already seen your reckless disregard for human life in your bumbling response to the COVID pandemic. And we know you’ve reached the conclusion that images of violence or vandalism are your only ticket to reelection.”
This report was updated at 8:08 a.m.