PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN/AP) — One person was shot and killed near clashes between supporters of President Donald Trump and counter-protesters on Saturday night during a “Trump 2020 Cruise Rally” that started earlier in the afternoon in the Portland area.
KOIN-TV News witnessed two men yelling and having an altercation near SW 3rd and Alder, and then heard shots fired around 8:45 p.m. A wounded man was seen on the ground.
Police confirmed just before 9:30 p.m. that the victim had died and a homicide investigation was underway.
“Portland Police officers heard sounds of gunfire from the area of Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest Alder Street. They responded and located a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. Medical responded and determined that the victim was deceased,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement.
Portland has been the site of nightly protests for more than three months since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Hundreds have been arrested by local and federal law enforcement and, before the shooting, police made several arrests Saturday and advised residents to avoid the downtown.
Fights that broke out as a caravan of about 600 vehicles of Trump supporters was confronted by protesters in the city’s downtown.
The chaotic scene came two days after Trump invoked Portland as a liberal city overrun with violence in a speech at the Republican National Convention as part of his “law and order” re-election campaign theme. The caravan marked the third Saturday in a row that Trump supporters have rallied in the city.
Traffic was heavily impacted in parts of downtown Portland as a result of the event and demonstrations against it, according to police, and people are being asked to avoid the area. It’s unclear how many arrests have been made.
Hundreds of people had gathered Clackamas Town Center parking lot by 4 p.m., flags waving from the back of their pickup trucks. Counter-protesters faced off with Trump supporters, and someone used pepper spray at one point, according to New York Times reporter Mike Baker.
As they arrived in the city, protesters attempted to stop Trump supporters by standing in the street and blocking bridges.
The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that people should expect traffic delays and avoid the area if possible.
Many demonstrators said they were fired up after the Republican National Convention and wanted to come out and provide a counterpoint to the other protests that have been happening in Portland for the past three months.
“I’ve been fortunate to live through and vote in several elections,” Mark Claiborne said. “I can’t remember a time where the difference between the two ideologies and platforms were so diametrically opposed.”
The crowd soon grew to the low thousands. Around 5:30 p.m., members of the group started the cruise portion of the evening, making their way toward Portland. The route was not announced ahead of time, but hundreds of cars and trucks streamed across the Morrison Bridge into downtown Portland.
Organizer Alex Kyzik posted a video on Facebook ahead of the rally asking people to not open carry at the event, citing “security reasons.”
“This event is concealed carry only,” he said in the video.