Portland shooting: Everything we know as Trump tweets condolences to victim

President continues to use tensions between far-right activists and Black Lives Matter demonstrators as a politcal tool amid continued protests in Oregon

Portland mayor blames 'racist' Trump for violence

Tensions between far-right activists and Black Lives Matter demonstrators soared across the city of Portland, Oregon throughout the weekend, as one person died in a fatal shooting amid continued protests against racism and police brutality.

The shooting occurred on Sunday night after a caravan of President Donald Trump’s supporters drove their vehicles into the city’s downtown area and clashed with Black Lives Matter demonstrators. The demonstrators have been protesting for nearly 100 nights in Portland following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It was not clear as of Monday morning whether the shooting was connected to clashes between demonstrators and the caravan, which was seen in videos shared to social media spraying Black Lives Matter activists with mace and driving through crowds with Trump flags flying on the back of their vehicles.

However, Joey Gibson, the founder of a right-wing group called “Patriot Prayer”, said the shooting victim was a supporter of his organisation, as well as a “good friend” in a statement to the Associated Press. In a Facebook post, Mr Gibson identified the victim as Aaron "Jay" Danielson, who also went by the name Jay Bishop, and wrote: “God bless him and the life he lived.”

Donald Trump tweeted a tribute to him in a post that has received 59,000 retweets, saying: "Rest in peace Jay!"

Patriot Prayer, which has reportedly provoked and engaged in clashes with protesters since it was founded in 2017, has regularly held demonstrations in Portland. The shooting victim identified by Mr Gibson and others was seen in videos wearing a hat with the group’s logo.

Since the shooting, police have released very little information as to what circumstances may have led to the fatal incident, and whether it was connected in some way to the ongoing protests.

The governor of Oregon slammed Patriot Prayer and other far-right groups that took part in the caravan in a statement that they came to the city “looking for a fight”.

“Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence. I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets,” Democratic Governor Kate Brown said. “Time and again, from Charlottesville to Kenosha to Portland, we have seen the tragic outcome when armed right-wing vigilantes take matters into their own hands. Gun violence is never, ever the answer."

No arrests in connection to the shooting have been made, according to Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell.”

The bureau chief said in a statement to USA Today: “The issue with firearms is very troubling to us, but people do have a constitutional right to carry firearms legally. So, it's hard to prevent. Some of the instances that take place, you're talking split-second, a couple of seconds. A lot of times we’re not right there to see things happen.”

Mr Trump has meanwhile latched onto the violence, using the continued protests as a political tool in his bid for re-election against former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee. The president has repeatedly told supporters that “No one will be safe in Biden’s America” — a messaging tactic that echoed throughout last week’s Republican National Convention.

Mr Biden has condemned the violence in Portland and called on the president to do so as well.

“The deadly violence we saw overnight in Portland is unacceptable," he said. "I condemn this violence unequivocally. I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same."

Nearly 2,500 people reportedly attended the “Trump cruise rally” during the weekend, which had the large caravan of the president’s supporters drive into Portland to counter the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. While an intended route for the caravan was supposed to keep it at a distance from the ongoing demonstrations, many of the vehicles instead drove into the downtown area where the clashes began.

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