Following the scenes of smoke, pepper spray and physical fighting in Portland’s Argay Terrace neighborhood this afternoon, a downtown shooting became the second flashpoint of violence between politically opposed groups that held demonstrations in the city.
A man standing behind a downtown garbage can fired one round at anti-fascists who were pursuing him. At least one person fired back at him—six shots—videos show.
Gresham resident Dennis G. Anderson was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, a class A misdemeanor, and unlawful use of a weapon, which is a class C felony.
Despite the vast physical distance between the two political groups—right-wing demonstrators moved their previously planned waterfront event to deep Northeast Portland, nearly 10 miles away—the groups’ strong antipathy toward each other sparked paranoia and confrontation throughout the day.
After the afternoon’s first, rolling melee along Northeast 122nd Avenue, most of the right-wing demonstrators had left the parking lot of an abandoned Kmart by 5 pm. About 40 minutes later, gunshots sounded in downtown.
Anticipating the possibility that the right-wing demonstrators might drive downtown and harass those assembled at Salmon Springs fountain along the Willamette riverfront, the anti-fascists in “black bloc” garb erected barricades, using nearby fencing and white and orange street signs. Expecting the arrival of Proud Boys—who did not in fact drive downtown as a group—they also called on reinforcements to the blocks surrounding Southwest Naito Parkway and Salmon Street.
Within the swelling of those numbers, a white man in a black hoodie walked into the crowd and—according to eyewitnesses—started showing some of the younger crowd members videos of lynchings.
Portland writer and activist Mac Smiff related that he and those near him noticed the situation when the man started yelling at the youths. “It was something like ‘Why don’t you like looking at your brothers and sisters hanging from trees in the motherland?’” Smiff said.
Smiff said the man pulled a knife from his hoodie and brandished it at the youths. He then pulled out a magazine and a gun.
While some hid, others pursued the man from a distance, yelling at him to “walk away” and “keep walking!”
According to video obtained by WW, one activist who joined the scene asked: “Is that a fucking handgun?”
“That’s a stupid thing to fucking do,” the activist yelled. “You’ve got a fucking handgun in your armpit, you fucking asshole. You’re walking around the city with a fucking handgun.”
“I took it out for protection. I have a permit. It’s saving my life,” the man said.
The crowd continued to pursue him for two more blocks until he took cover behind a trash can and fired a shot at the pursuers.
“Get the fuck away from me!” the man yelled. At least one person fired back at him—six shots—but no one was shot or injured.
The man fled west on Southwest Yamhill Street, where he was arrested by Portland police—one of whom appeared to be a plainclothes officer.