One person was shot and killed in downtown Portland on Saturday night, as protests in Oregon’s largest city entered their fourth month.
Portland police officers located the individual with a gunshot wound to the chest, after hearing gunfire in the area of Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest Alder Street at 8:46 p.m. local time. Medics responded and pronounced the victim dead at the scene, according to a press release from the Portland Police Department.
A homicide investigation is underway. No suspect information is being released at this time, police said.
Anyone who was a witness, has video or has information about the incident is urged to contact the Portland Police Department.
« 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, » Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement early Sunday. « 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. »
The deadly shooting occurred as dueling demonstrations took place throughout downtown Portland. A car rally in support of President Donald Trump had gathered earlier that evening and held a massive procession that was ultimately met by counterprotesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Portland ABC affiliate reported seeing clashes between the two groups on the streets.
According to a separate press release from the Portland Police Department, there were « hundreds of vehicles » that participated in Saturday’s rally and a « significant number » drove into downtown as part of the procession. People in the cars « periodically exchanged words » with pedestrians and, at times, fights broke out. There were also some minor collisions, police said.
« Portland Police responded to scenes of fights, disturbances and collisions throughout downtown and made some arrests, » police said in a statement early Sunday.
The caravan of vehicles left the downtown area by about 8:30 p.m. local time, according to police. Over the next two hours, groups of people moved through downtown streets and there was « sporadic fighting and vandalism, » police said. The crowds slowly began to dissipate around midnight.
Black Lives Matter protests erupted in Portland and other cities across the United States following the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck as three other officers watched. The protesters are calling for an end to police brutality and racial injustice.
Many of the recent demonstrations in Portland have ended in vandalism and violence. Hundreds of protesters have been arrested by authorities there since late May, according to The Associated Press.
In a speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, Trump invoked Portland as a « Democrat-run » city plagued by « rioting, looting, arson, and violence. »
Trump took to Twitter early Sunday to comment on the latest violence in Portland, calling the city’s mayor « incompetent » and « a fool. » While retweeting a video that purportedly shows Trump supporters in their cars firing paintballs and pepper spray at counterprotesters on the street, the president remarked that the « big backlash going on in Portland cannot be unexpected. »
« The people of Portland won’t put up with no safety any longer, » he tweeted. « Bring in the National Guard! »
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