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Portland mayor says deadly shooting could be a "flashpoint"

Trump blasts Portland mayor over protests
Trump blasts Portland mayor over protests 02:25

The mayor of Portland, Oregon, on Sunday pleaded for an end to violence after a person was shot and killed amid dueling protests the night before. Joey Gibson, the founder of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, told The Associated Press that the person killed was a member of his group.

Mayor Ted Wheeler appealed directly to people who have posted on social media that they will come to Portland to avenge the protester's death, saying he is aware the shooting could become a potential "flashpoint." 

"If you're reading any facts on social media, they're probably wrong because we don't have all the facts yet," Wheeler said. Police, he added, "are still assembling the facts. This is not the time to get hotheaded because you read something on Twitter that some guy made up in his mother's basement. That is not the right time or the right place. So let's wait and get the facts and collectively address the violence we are facing."

Police said Saturday's shooting occurred near clashes between supporters of President Trump and counter-protesters after a "Trump 2020 Cruise Rally" that happened earlier in the day.

Mr. Trump shared a video on Twitter of a caravan of his supporters driving through Portland and wrote "GREAT PATRIOTS!"

Wheeler, who has been under attack from Mr. Trump, slammed the president for his rhetoric and said Mr. Trump's comments were inciting violence. "What America needs is for you to be stopped so we can come together as one America," Wheeler said.

Portland mayor slams Trump 47:20

During Wheeler's press conference, Mr. Trump called the mayor "wacky" and a "fool" on Twitter. Mr. Trump has been attacking Wheeler for not allowing federal agents back into the city after violent clashes earlier this summer. 

Police said a caravan of Trump supporters left downtown Portland around 8:30 p.m. and officers heard gunshots at about 8:46 p.m., according to a statement. CBS affiliate KOIN-TV reported two men were seen yelling at each other during an altercation around that time. Gunshots were heard soon after.

Officers arrived at the shooting scene "within a minute," police said, but the man who was shot did not survive.

An Associated Press freelance photographer heard three gunshots and then observed police medics working on the body of the victim, who appeared to be a white man. The freelancer said the man was wearing a hat bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group whose members have frequently clashed with protesters in Portland in the past.

Police said the man was shot in the chest. He was not immediately identified. It's unclear who shot him.

APTOPIX Portland Protests
A man is being treated after being shot Saturday, August 29, 2020, in Portland, Oregon. Fights broke out in downtown Portland Saturday night as a large caravan of supporters of President Trump drove through the city, clashing with counter-protesters. Paula Bronstein / AP

Homicide detectives were looking for more evidence, acknowledging that several images and videos had been posted on social media.

"It is important for detectives get a full and accurate picture of what happened before, during, and after the shooting," a police statement said. "If anyone was a witness, has video, or has information about the homicide, they're asked to contact the primary detectives."

"This violence is completely unacceptable and we are working diligently to find and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible," Chief Chuck Lovell said.

There have been protests in Portland for over 90 days and nights since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Under orders from the Trump administration, federal agents deployed to Portland in July to quell the violence. After weeks of violent clashes that included tear gas being deployed on protesters and dozens of arrests, the federal agents began withdrawing at the end of July. 

Acting Homeland Security director Chad Wolf said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the the Trump administration has been urging Wheeler and Oregon Governor Kate Brown, both Democrats, to send members of the National Guard to the city.

"We've been asking Portland to do their job really for over three months now," Wolf said Sunday on "Face the Nation." "What you see in Portland is an environment, they foster an environment of this lawlessness and chaos."  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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