Dozens of right-wing Proud Boys and leftist Antifa members have clashed in a chaotic showdown in the streets of Portland, armed with a variety of improvised weapons from bats and shields, to paintball guns, mace and fireworks.
A brief gun battle also erupted in downtown Portland on Sunday, according to multiple videos shared by witnesses. Some of them showed a middle-aged man in a fedora hat hiding behind trash bins and firing several shots across the street.
From another angle, it appears that shots were fired towards the shooter as well, though it remains unclear who opened fire first. Some reports suggested the man is a Proud Boys supporter who was being chased away by Antifa members, before opening fire.
Active shooter in Downtown Portland. pic.twitter.com/xmjfGyrANm— Sean Carmitchel (@ACatWithNews) August 23, 2021
No injuries were reported, but several buildings and cars were damaged by gunfire.
I was stuck in a cubby of a doorway of sorts during the shooting and managed to slip my phone out and film a little bit. Nobody has been hit. A car took a little bit of damage though.— Alix Powell (@thatpowellgirl) August 23, 2021
Video ID: Several journalists and passersby hide behind in between cars with gunshots pic.twitter.com/tRNv0iSJ6v
Police swiftly detained the shooter seen in the videos, who apparently did not resist arrest, but it was unclear whether they were looking for any other suspects.
1/ There are bullet sizes marks on both ends of the alley where the fire / return fire happened. pic.twitter.com/VDQs1DSvCW— Sean Carmitchel (@ACatWithNews) August 23, 2021
The shooting took place amid an already chaotic day in Portland, which has seen dozens of people from opposite camps clashing with each other, using all kinds of improvised weapons.
According to the Oregonian, the day began with a group of some 300 Antifa and another left-wing protesters swarming the area of Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and forcing a rival camp of around 100 right-wing activists to relocate their event to an abandoned Kmart parking lot.
Smoke devices and fireworks launched as a group of about 50 in black bloc arrived at the Proud Boys/right-wing protest at the abandoned Kmart in Portland pic.twitter.com/XzDscJpTeo— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) August 22, 2021
However, smaller leftist groups followed them, engaging in verbal exchanges and skirmishes.
Major clash between Proud Boys and Antifa happening now on 122nd in Portland— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) August 22, 2021
Pepper spray and airsoft deployed, fighting ongoing in the streets pic.twitter.com/z7V584qMuQ
At one point, a van crashed into the parking lot.
Proud Boys hold rally in northeast Portland and according to witnesses on the scene a 'left-wing agitator' drove a white van into the rally and crashed. The individual was then bear maced and chased out of the parking lot, according to witnesses pic.twitter.com/lVX77qfbsB— Jorge Ventura Media (@VenturaReport) August 22, 2021
The alleged 'left-wing agitator' behind the wheel, was maced and chased away, and his vehicle overturned by right-wing protesters.
PORTLAND: Proudboys flip over an ANTIFA mobile that crashed near the empty parking lot a patriot event was being held at pic.twitter.com/Xbk7OzIszh— Drew Hernandez (@DrewHLive) August 22, 2021
There was no visible police presence throughout the day, besides the officers who arrested the gunman and swept the scene. In the run-up to the showdown, Portland police warned that they won’t intervene in clashes and instead “will be sharing public safety information with the public via Twitter.”
Some individuals are clashing in the area of NE 122nd south of Sandy Blvd. People are lighting fireworks and dispersing chemical spray. Those crossing line into criminal activity are subject to arrest. Some traffic lanes are being periodically affected. pic.twitter.com/UOaCJQVZRM— PPB Event Messages (@PPBAlerts) August 22, 2021
“You should not expect to see police officers standing in the middle of the crowd trying to keep people apart. People should keep themselves apart and avoid physical confrontation,” Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell said on Friday.
Police defended their tactics in another press release on Sunday afternoon, acknowledging they were aware of some “violence” and “property destruction,” and requesting public help in identifying the victims and perpetrators.
“...detectives are reviewing evidence to determine whether charges can be brought for any criminal activity,” PPB said. “Just because arrests are not made at the scene, when tensions are high, does not mean that people are not being charged with crimes later.”
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