PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man who was fatally shot after supporters of President Donald Trump clashed with left-wing protesters on the streets of Portland, Oregon, was a supporter of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, its founder said Sunday.
Joey Gibson, head of the group based in Washington state, told The Associated Press the man who was shot to death Saturday night was a “good friend,” although he did not identify him.
Gibson said he was also in Portland on Saturday night when the Trump supporters clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters downtown. Gibson arrived at the scene of the shooting shortly after it happened and video from the scene showed he was briefly corralled in a nearby gas station by angry protesters.
“I can’t say much right now. All I can do is verify that he was a good friend and a supporter of Patriot Prayer,” Gibson said of the shooting victim in a text exchange. He said he would make a fuller statement later Sunday.
Police issued a plea for any information related to the killing, including videos, photos or eyewitness accounts. The shooting happened about 15 minutes after a caravan of about 600 vehicles that were part of a pro-Trump rally left downtown.
It wasn’t clear if the shooting was related to the clashes between Trump supporters and counterprotesters in Portland, which has become a flashpoint in the national Black Lives Matter protests since George Floyd was killed in May and an increasing centerpiece in Trump’s law-and-order re-election campaign theme.
Police have not released any information about the case but said they were aware of videos on social media that showed the shooting.
“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,” said Police Chief Chuck Lovell.
“If anyone can provide information about this case, I ask them to please reach out to our detectives. This violence is completely unacceptable and we are working diligently to find and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible.”
An Associated Press freelance photographer heard three gunshots and then saw police medics attending to the victim, who appeared to be a white man. The freelancer said the man was wearing a hat bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer.
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