An alleged Trump supporter was shot dead in Portland late on Saturday as protesters from rival groups clashed in the northwest U.S. city, which has seen frequent demonstrations for months that have at times turned violent. Sounds of gunfire were heard in the area of Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest Alder Street, according to the spokesman’s statement.
Police said in statements that both the death and protest violence occurred in downtown Portland. However, they did not immediately link the shooting death to the protests.
“(Police) responded and located a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. Medical responded and determined that the victim was deceased,” a Portland police spokesman said in an emailed statement. A Homicide Investigation is underway.”
The police said they were not currently releasing suspect information.
The New York Times and the Oregonian newspapers reported that a large group of supporters of President Donald Trump had traveled in a caravan through downtown Portland, with a pro-Trump gathering drawing hundreds of trucks full of supporters into the city. The Times cited two unidentified witnesses as saying a small group of people got into an argument with other people in a vehicle and someone opened fire.
The man who was shot and killed was wearing a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group based in Portland that has clashed with protesters in the past, according to the New York Times. Reuters could not independently verify this.
When asked by Reuters if the shooting was related to clashes between rival protesters in the same area, the spokesman said “it is too early in the investigation to draw those kinds of conclusions”.
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Update (1220ET): New footage has emerged suggesting that the shooter may have been in a vehicle.