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Tensions flare after Black man killed by police near Portland

Clashes among protesters erupted late Friday evening following a vigil held for a Black man shot and killed by police Thursday in a city near Portland, Ore.

According to The Associated Press, hundreds of people had gathered for a vigil in Hazel Dell, an unincorporated area of Vancouver, Wash., where family and friends say Kevin Peterson Jr., 21, was shot Thursday night.

Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins said in a statement Friday that a joint city-county narcotics task force was conducting an investigation in the city located about 12 miles north of Portland Thursday evening, which led to the chase of a man into the parking lot of a bank.

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According to Atkins, “the man reportedly fired his weapon at the deputies. The deputies returned fire and the subject was tragically killed,” adding that a firearm was later recovered at the scene. 

While authorities have themselves not yet named the person who was shot Thursday, Kevin Peterson Sr. told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the person was his son, Kevin E. Peterson Jr.

On Friday, as hundreds of people gathered for a vigil, tensions erupted nearby with clashes between left- and right-wing protesters, according to the AP.

Video recorded by journalists in a parking lot showed two groups of people shouting at each other, while some armed demonstrators gathered near a building that they told reporters they were protecting.

Hundreds of protesters reportedly later marched through the downtown area of Vancouver, with some shattering windows and burning flags. 

The AP reported that federal agents wearing riot gear surrounded a building and warned people that anyone trespassing on federal property would be arrested. 

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According to the AP, at least one person appeared to have been detained in the unrest after authorities declared the demonstrations an unlawful assembly and ordered the crowds to disperse. 

“I can say that our agency is grieving as is the Peterson family and the community,” Atkins said in his statement Friday. “As the community grieves, I call for there to be a respectful and dignified observance of the loss of life in this matter. There is always the potential for misinformation, doubt and confusion – and there may be those who wish to sow seeds of doubt.”

The Vancouver demonstrations come after months of protests that have at times turned violent in Portland in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody, along with other incidents of police violence against Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake.

The Trump administration has aggressively targeted Portland and other Democratic-led cities over what it deemed “violent” and “lawless” riots.

Unrest persisted in Philadelphia this week in the aftermath of the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., with Philadelphia’s local Fox affiliate reporting Thursday that police had arrested 212 people and 57 officers had been injured.