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Portland protest shooting death: Here’s what we know


Few details have emerged about what happened Saturday night when a man was shot and killed in downtown Portland, Oregon.

The Portland police on Monday identified the man as Aaron J. Danielson of Portland. The say the 39-year-old man was shot in the chest as supporters of President Donald Trump clashed with protesters against police violence and racism.

Police have said they have no suspect.

Chief Chuck Lovell urged people to not jump to conclusions.

What happened in Portland on Saturday

Protests were taking place, as they have for more than 90 consecutive nights, against racial injustice and police brutality. The protests started with the killing of George Floyd in May and were fueled again by last weekend’s shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

A “Trump 2020 Cruise Rally in Portland,” started earlier in nearby Clackamas, Oregon, where a large group of Trump supporters and cars gathered, CNN affiliate KOIN reported. Video footage from KOIN showed pickups with American flags, “Thin Blue Line” flags and Trump 2020 flags prominently displayed on the vehicles.

After the rally, a line of cars, motorcycles and trucks made its way along the “Trump 2020 cruise rally route” which appeared to include the downtown Portland area, according to an image on a Facebook advertisement of the event.

Portland police were aware of the rally and tried to keep the caravan out of the downtown area, Lovell said at a news conference Sunday, but a group of the vehicles were able to “come into the downtown core.”

The police tweeted Saturday that there had been “some instances of violence between demonstrators and counterdemonstrators.”

Videos posted by a New York Times reporter showed fights breaking out between Trump supporters and the protesters.

A man riding in the bed of a passing black pickup displaying a blue “Oregon for Trump” flag and an American flag can be seen pointing and firing a paintball gun at the protesters standing on the corner.

Riders in the black truck can be seen releasing some form of spray.

And as a green pickup passes, someone riding in its bed can be seen spraying something toward protesters. Passengers in that green truck duck as the other protesters toss something at them.

The victim

Danielson was a “good and decent man,” his friend and longtime business partner Luke Carrillo told reporters.

Danielson and Carrillo were like brothers, Carrillo said while fighting off tears. They shared a business and a house, he added, referring to his friend as “Jay.”

Carrillo said Danielson was quick-witted and very funny. He constantly wore a smile and always had a kind word. Carrillo said his friend was not a bad guy.

“(He) was not a radical. He was not a racist and was not a fascist,” Carrillo said. “He was not an inciter or an instigator. He was a freedom-loving American who died expressing his beliefs.”

Danielson loved his country and his city, said Carrillo.

Danielson was wearing a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group that has clashed with protesters in the past, according to New York Times reporter Mike Baker.

The group organizer of Patriot Prayer mourned Danielson’s death on Sunday.

“(H)e had a huge heart,” organizer Joey Gibson said on his Facebook page. “God bless the life he lived.”

Where the investigation stands

Portland police officials said that they are aware of videos circulating on social media that show the shooting.

They asked people who recorded footage or who saw something to contact detectives. Lovell asked for the public’s patience.

“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,” Lovell said in a statement Monday.

What one witness said

Justin Dunlap, who witnessed the shooting and captured some of it on his Facebook live stream, said he “didn’t hear much lead up to it.”

“I heard like three seconds of yelling and saw a guy spray bear mace,” Dunlap told CNN. “The victim sprayed mace and launched it right into the other guy.”

CNN has not confirmed whether Danielson is the person who sprayed mace.

“I’ve watched the video 100 times, slo-mo and on my TV, and still don’t know where the shots actually came from,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap said he has been documenting the unrest in Portland since shortly after the George Floyd protests.

“I was in the wrong place at the right time,” he said. “I’m just a citizen journalist. I just want people to know what is going on out here.”

Before the shooting, Dunlap said he saw people who were part of the Trump supporters parade launch mace from the back of their vehicles toward protesters walking down the street.

What officials said

President Donald Trump and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler sparred in the wake of the shooting, Trump on Twitter and the mayor on camera at a news conference.

“Ted Wheeler, the wacky Radical Left Do Nothing Democrat Mayor of Portland, who has watched great death and destruction of his City during his tenure, thinks this lawless situation should go on forever. Wrong! Portland will never recover with a fool for a Mayor….,” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon.

Wheeler slammed Trump at the news conference.

“It’s you who have created the hate and the division,” Wheeler said.

“The tragedy of last night cannot be repeated,” Wheeler said. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what your politics are — we have to all stop the violence.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also blasted Trump in a statement Sunday afternoon, saying he “has encouraged division and stoked violence.”

“It happened in Kenosha. And now, unfortunately, it is happening in Portland, Oregon.”

“But despite the President’s jeers and tweets, this is a matter of life and death. Whether it’s his completely incompetent response to the pandemic, where nearly 200,000 have died, or his outright encouragement of violence in our streets: it should be clear to everyone by now that no one is truly safe with Donald Trump as President,” Brown said.

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