Police in Portland, Ore., are investigating an incident during which shots were fired amid an outbreak of violence that occurred Sunday between members of opposing far-right and far-left groups in the city.
Local police said Sunday they were called to the area of Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest Yamhill Street in the city’s downtown on a report of shots fired. When they arrived, police said witnesses told them they saw a man firing a gun.
Minutes later, officers arrested Dennis G. Anderson, 65, of Gresham, Ore., on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon. No one was injured during the shooting, police said.
The shooting occurred as members of a far-right political group clashed with left-wing counterprotesters, The Oregonian reported.
The outbursts of violence began when about 300 left-wing counterprotesters showed up at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, where right-wing groups had initially planned a demonstration but instead moved to a local K-Mart parking lot.
Members of the far-left group eventually came to the parking lot, where photos and video taken at the scene show verbal confrontations deteriorated into melees with people using pepper spray, bear mace, paintball guns and and fireworks on one another.
Before responding to the shooting, local police took what the newspaper described as a “hands-off” approach throughout the day, saying only that the department was monitoring the situation.
Some members of the far-left group erected barricades on city streets as the fights persisted, and members of the right-wing Proud Boys reportedly flipped over a service van.
“We relocated the rally to avoid the altercation and the violence between us and the people on the left, but if they do show up here, we’re going to defend ourselves,” one Proud Boy told the newspaper.
Portland has been a hotbed of civil unrest, often as the cite of clashing protesters from competing ideological groups. A federal courthouse in the city’s downtown area required national guard protection for several weeks last year after it came under repeated attack from demonstrators following the police murder of George Floyd.
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