PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man fired a handgun near demonstrators in downtown Portland Sunday evening as high-intensity clashes splintered across the city — including an earlier confrontation involving right-wing protesters using paintball guns and fireworks against left-wing counterprotesters in Northeast Portland.
Zane Sparling, a reporter for KOIN 6 News’ partner the Portland Tribune, witnessed the shooting event and recorded video of a man firing three shots from a handgun near Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest Yamhill Street shortly before 6 p.m. Bystanders told him the shooter pulled the gun as protesters gathered downtown.
Portland Police Bureau said officers followed the direction the suspect went and arrested 65-year-old Dennis G. Anderson of Gresham.
Police seized a gun from Anderson and he was booked in the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon. Records show he was released on bail early Monday morning and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon.
No injuries related to the shooting have been reported. Anyone with video or photos of the incident is asked to contact police.
Investigators say there is no confirmed connection between the shooting and the gatherings that took place in Portland.
The shooting occurred after a right-wing demonstration across the city in Northeast Portland dissolved into a clash between opposing groups Sunday afternoon.
Demonstrators had gathered in the parking lot of a former K-Mart store near Northeast 122nd Avenue and Northeast Sandy Boulevard at 2 p.m. for the “Summer of Love” event. Several speakers addressed the crowd of more than 100 people. Some people were dressed in tactical vests and some were wearing apparel associating them with the Proud Boys.
At 1 p.m. another group of more than 200 left-wing demonstrators gathered at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. A KOIN reporter saw one person armed with a weapon of some sort. Although, it was not apparent if it was a firearm or airsoft gun. The reporter also saw a handful of people harassing two people holding religious signs.
At around 4 p.m., counter-protesters arrived at the event in Northeast Portland. KOIN Reporter Gabby Urenda saw someone try to drive into the parking lot where the event was taking place. The driver crashed and then fled the van.
The situation escalated quickly after this. Demonstrators began igniting fireworks.
Around this time, Sparling saw people firing paintball guns and using smoke devices. He also reported that tires were slashed and windows were smashed on a vehicle.
Portland Police Bureau tweeted saying they’ve observed violence in a clash between the two groups and that “arrests are possible, now and in the future.” Police are asking drivers to avoid the area near Northeast 122nd Avenue and Northeast Sandy Boulevard. They’re also asking people in the area to leave.
Police said they saw people lighting fireworks, dispersing chemical spray, firing what appeared to be paintball and airsoft guns, and they saw property destruction.
At around 5:30 p.m., a KOIN reporter said people were packing up in Northeast Portland and leaving the area.
On Sunday evening, left-wing organizers dressed in black put together a barricade on Southwest Naito Pkwy and Southwest Salmon St. in Portland. Vehicles were not allowed through near the Salmon Street Springs.
Pedestrians were allowed to walk through the area behind the barricade, but organizers were seen spray-painting buildings and not allowing video or photographs. The organizers were seen with weapons, such as bats and spears.
Police said they are asking for help identifying victims of crimes. Anyone who was a victim of a violent crime should file a police report. Anyone who was a victim of a non-violent crime, such as vandalism, should report it on Portland Police Bureau’s website and reference case number 21-681328.
Anyone who witnessed a crime or has evidence of a crime should email the Portland Police Bureau.
“While it’s disappointing that some people chose to engage violently, I am grateful for those who exercised their rights peacefully and without committing crimes,” Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement. “I also thank the Portland Police personnel who came into work today on their day off, and those who were responding to calls for service citywide.”
KOIN reached out to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office to ask if the mayor was aware of the violent clashes.
The mayor’s office responded, saying the mayor is aware. Officials said they’ve been monitoring the events throughout the day and have received hourly briefings from Portland Police Bureau.
In an email sent at around 6:45 p.m., the mayor’s office said, “The violence at the NE 122nd location at this point appears to have dissipated but we are continuing to monitor the situation throughout the rest of the day and evening. PPB has been monitoring both events throughout the day and will make arrests when the probable cause of a crime is established. After past violent events, PPB has consistently conducted follow-up investigations, made arrests, and forwarded cases to the Multnomah County District Attorney for prosecution.”
KOIN received several calls from concerned neighbors near the violence that erupted at Northeast 122nd Avenue and Sandy Boulevard. We reached out to PPB asking if they planned to intervene.
In its response, the police bureau said, “As the Chief stated before the event today, people should keep themselves apart and avoid physical confrontation. While Portland is consistently supportive of people exercising their constitutional free speech and assembly rights, we know that violence and injuries are avoidable. Violence is not protected free speech. Arrests may not happen in the moment — PPB has consistently done follow-up investigations, made arrests, and forwarded cases to the district attorney for prosecution. Just because arrests are not made at the scene does not mean that people are not being charged with crimes later.”
Sunday, Portland Police Bureau tweeted saying they’ve heard rumors that city bureaus were involved in planning the demonstrations. They said these rumors are not true and that the City of Portland has not supported, facilitated or issued permits for any gatherings.
On Friday, Mayor Wheeler and Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell said additional police officers would be called in, but added that police would take a hands-off approach to the demonstrations. Police declined to release additional tactical planning details.
Opposing groups clashed outside of the Justice Center area on Aug. 22, 2020, which resulted in a federally declared unlawful assembly in Terry Schrunk Plaza after hours of dueling demonstrations. A week later, a right-wing protester was shot and killed near clashes between supporters of former President Donald Trump and protesters during a “Trump 2020 Cruise Rally” in downtown Portland.
More to come.