Patriot Prayer leader says man shot in Portland was ‘a good guy’
A man was shot and killed Saturday night in Portland as a large caravan of President Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters clashed in the streets, police said.
Skirmishes broke out between the groups and, about 15 minutes after the caravan left the city, a supporter of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer was fatally shot.
Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson identified the victim as Aaron “Jay” Danielson. He called the victim a “good friend,” but provided no further details. Danielson apparently also went by the name Jay Bishop, according to Patriot Prayer’s Facebook page.
Gibson told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that the victim, Jay, was a good guy.
“It doesn’t matter what you believe in politically, you can be far left or whatever your beliefs are, if you knew him as a person, you would never hurt him,” Gibson said. “Very gentle, very courageous, great guy. Never seen him get angry, never seen him be violent.”
Gibson told Dori he was in Portland, but was not with Jay at the time of the shooting.
Portland has been the site of nightly protests for more than three months since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many of the nights have ended in vandalism and violence, and hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested by local and federal law enforcement since late May.
The caravan arrived downtown Saturday just as a planned protest was getting underway. Police made several arrests before the shooting and advised residents to avoid the city core.
President Trump unleashed a flurry of tweets and retweets the day after the shooting. Trump praised the caravan participants as “GREAT PATRIOTS!” and retweeted what appeared to be the dead man’s name along with a message to “Rest in peace.”
Trump also retweeted those who blamed the city’s Democratic mayor for the death.
“The people of Portland, like all other cities & parts of our great Country, want Law & Order,” Trump wrote Sunday. “The Radical Left Democrat Mayors, like the dummy running Portland, or the guy right now in his basement unwilling to lead or even speak out against crime, will never be able to do it!”
Democrats accuse Trump of rooting for unrest and trying to stoke further violence for political gain instead of seeking to ratchet down tensions.
“He may think that war in our streets is good for his reelection chances, but that is not presidential leadership — or even basic human compassion,” Joe Biden said in a statement responding to the shooting, in which he “unequivocally” condemned violence on all side, while accusing Trump of “recklessly encouraging” it.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, blamed Trump for the tensions.
“Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?” he asked at a televised news conference. “It’s you who have created the hate and the division.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.