One person was shot dead in Portland late Saturday when a large caravan of President Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters crashed into the streets, police said.
It was not clear if the shooting was linked to fighting that broke out when a caravan of about 600 vehicles drove through the downtown area of the city where protesters had gathered.
An Associated Press freelance photographer heard three gunshots and then watched police officers working on the victim's body, who appeared to be a white man. The freelancer said the man wears a hat with the insignia of the Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group whose members have often clashed with protesters in Portland in the past.
“Portland Police officers heard gunshots from around Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest Alder Street. They responded and located a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. Medical responded and found the victim had died, "the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement.
Police did not provide any additional details and were on hand late Saturday to investigate.
Portland has been the scene of night protests for more than three months since the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. Many of them involved vandalism and violent clashes between police and protesters, and hundreds of protesters have been arrested by local and federal law enforcement agencies since late May. The caravan was arriving downtown when a protest scheduled for Saturday began. Police arrested several people before the shooting and advised residents to avoid the city center.
The chaotic scene came two days after Trump phoned Portland, a violence-flooded liberal city, in a speech at the Republican National Convention as part of his campaign on law and order. The caravan was the third Saturday in a row that Trump supporters have gathered in town.
Trump and other speakers at this week's Congress created a violent, dystopian future if hopeful Democratic President Joe Biden wins in November, calling Portland a warning story. Biden responded that the mayhem is actually happening on Trump's watch.
The organizer of the Pro-Trump rally, who coordinated a similar caravan in Boise, Idaho, earlier this week, said in a video posted on Twitter Saturday afternoon that participants should only carry hidden weapons and that the route was kept secret for security reasons .
The Trump supporter caravan had gathered at a nearby mall earlier that day and drove as a group into the heart of Portland. When they got to the city, protesters tried to stop them by standing in the street and blocking bridges.
Videos from the scene showed sporadic fights, as well as Trump supporters firing paintball pellets at protesters and using bear spray as protesters threw things at the Trump caravan.
Medics treat a man who was shot dead in Portland on Saturday.
(Paula Bronstein / Associated Press)
The shooting took place shortly before 9 p.m., a few hours after the caravan arrived in Portland.
Black Lives Matter demonstrations usually take place near police and federal buildings. Some protesters have called for cuts in police budgets. The mayor of the city and some members of the black community have identified vandalism that coincided with the protests as counterproductive.
Early on Saturday morning, fires outside a police union building, where protests are frequent, prompted police to declare a riot.
An accelerator was used to ignite a mattress and other debris that was placed against the door of the Portland Police Assn. Building, said police in a statement. At least one dumpster was also set on fire on the nearby street.
The commotion followed a sit-in in the lobby of the Portland Mayor's apartment building on Friday night.