Racial justice marchers and pro-Trump demonstrators converged on downtown Portland, Oregon, Saturday, sparking clashes and leaving one man shot and killed in the mayhem, police said.
They had not identified the victim nor any suspect as of Sunday morning, but signaled the death was related to the competing demonstrations, suggesting that it was likely caught on social media that has saturated the three months’ worth of riots.
“It is still early in this investigation, and I ask everyone to give the detectives time to do their important work before drawing conclusions about what took place,” said Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell. “If anyone can provide information about this case, I ask them to please reach out to our detectives. This violence is completely unacceptable and we are working diligently to find and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible.”
Saturday marked the 90th day since the first riot broke out in Portland in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Nearly every day has seen BLM protesters light fires, engage in vandalism and clash with police.
The last two weekend have also seen pro-police marchers take to the city center — and be confronted by Black Lives Matter supporters.
Last weekend one right-wing activist brandished a gun at the BLM protesters, sparking complaints from the community that police did not intervene.
The police have been accused of using heavy-handed tactics toward the BLM demonstrations, which have rocked sections of the city on a nightly basis since late May.
The pro-Trump crowd conducted a vehicle caravan parade on Saturday, involving hundreds of vehicles. Police said traffic was clogged for miles.
The vehicle occupants and BLM protesters on the streets exchanged insults and some fights broke out, police said.
The caravan lasted about three hours, ending around 8:30.
Fifteen minutes later police say an officer heard shots fired, and discovered the victim.
KOIN 6 News said one of its reporters saw two men yelling, someone sprayed mace and then someone pulled a gun.
Mr. Trump, on Twitter, praised the pro-Trump caravan and blasted Oregon leaders, including Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has struggled to gain a handle on his city’s situation.
“The National Guard is Ready, Willing and Able,” the president said, urging Gov. Kate Brown to request assistance.
She has rebuffed that suggestion, saying her state’s guard is occupied with forest fires.
In Portland, investigators Sunday morning asked anyone with footage or video of the incident to come forward so they could try to piece together what happened.
After the shooting, police said groups roamed downtown, with sporadic fights over the next two hours.
Officers made 10 arrests ranging from disorderly conduct to interfering with police.
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