PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Police say a second gun was possibly fired during an incident downtown Sunday where one man is facing charges.
Portland Tribune Reporter Zane Sparling found himself just yards away from the man armed with a handgun opening fire.
“When I saw that first gun, I could not take my eyes off it out of my own fear for my safety and for those around me,” Sparling said. “
Dustin Brandon Ferreira, 37, a left-wing activist, told The Oregonian/OregonLive he was with others Sunday evening when a man used a slur against a Black man in the group and then fired multiple rounds in their direction.
The Portland Police Bureau said officers followed the direction the suspect went and arrested 65-year-old Dennis G. Anderson of Gresham. Officers seized a gun from him.
According to an arrest affidavit, Anderson told police he was near Southwest Naito Parkway and Taylor Street when he was confronted by two people dressed in black, pointing guns at him, telling him to leave.
He said they followed him for five blocks and told him they were going to shoot him. Anderson said he shot once in their direction.
Anderson 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.
Once it was over, Sparling talked to witnesses who said it started when Anderson had a gun out in front of left-wing protestors, who then began following him.
“We don’t know what his ideology was,” Sparling said. “I think it’s fair to assume that he was there angry or upset with the left wing.”
However, on Monday afternoon, police said there is evidence a second gun was fired during the same incident. They were looking for witnesses to the shooting and to locate video as well.
They believe a group of people may have been pursuing Anderson shortly before the gunfire started.
Opposing rallies that drew hundreds of people in Portland sparked numerous clashes on Sunday. The two groups had gathered in different parts of the city after a far-right group changed the location of its event.
The right-wing rally drew about 100 people in a parking lot of a former Kmart store and clashes began as it wound down. A van tried to drive into the parking lot, but crashed and the driver ran away. Demonstrators then began igniting fireworks and similar devices. It was not immediately clear whether anyone suffered serious injuries.
However, investigators say there is no confirmed connection between the shooting and the gatherings that took place.
Demonstrations associated with anti-fascists had earlier drawn more than 200 people downtown.
The plans for the opposing demonstrations had prompted Portland police to call in all available police personnel. However, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said Friday that despite expecting clashes, police will not necessarily be standing in between opposing groups.
“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 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.”
Statements from Portland officials, leaders
Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell released a video statement via Twitter Monday evening.
On Monday morning, KOIN reached out to various city officials for statements following Sunday’s events.
Mayor Wheeler said in part, “With strategic planning and oversight, the Portland Police Bureau and I mitigated confrontation between the two events and minimized the impact of the weekend’s events to Portlanders. In the past, these same groups have clashed with extremely violent and destructive results. This time, violence was contained to the groups of people who chose to engage in violence toward each other. The community at large was not harmed and the broader public was protected. Property damage was minimal.”
City Commissioner Mingus Mapps’ office replied by saying, “Chief Lovell was clear when he stated that Portland Police would not be refereeing the extremist circus every time it comes to town. The Portland Police did intervene and arrest an active shooter yesterday, who appeared to be targeting counter-protesters. I want to thank our public safety staff for keeping Portlanders safe yesterday. We expect the police department to follow up and make arrests for vandalism and violence.”
City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s office told KOIN they do not have a comment at this time.
Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt said: “Our community saw acts of hate and violence yesterday, which will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Yet, we saw more people stand up to denounce those acts than perpetrate them. We must continue to rise above.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.