Shooting at Portland protest leaves 1 dead, 5 injured

(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

I don’t know if the city of Portland has an official tagline or not. Where Virginia is for lovers, Portland is for protests.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a pile of protests in the city, so much so that they rarely even make the news anymore beyond the local level. They likely only make the news then so people can know to divert around the nonsense.

All that changes when violence erupts at one of those protests, though.

A shooting that left one person dead and five others injured in Portland, Oregon, happened during a confrontation between an armed homeowner and armed protesters at a park where a march was planned to protest police violence, authorities said Sunday.

Officers responding to Normandale Park Saturday night found one woman dead, and two men and three other women were taken to the hospital, the Portland Police Bureau said.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement late Sunday that five total people had been shot: one victim who was killed and four brought to the hospital, including three in critical condition. The status of the fifth person earlier reported injured by police is unclear.

Police have not named anyone involved in the shooting.

“The scene was extremely chaotic, and a number of witnesses were uncooperative with responding officers,” the police department said in a statement. “Most people on scene left without talking to police. … This is a very complicated incident, and investigators are trying to put this puzzle together without having all the pieces.”

While police haven’t released the names of anyone involved, CNN reports that the shooting was the result of a confrontation between an armed homeowner and an armed protestor.

Of course, that doesn’t tell us much of anything.

After all, who initiated the confrontation? Why was it initiated?

Those are going to be important questions moving forward.

Protests have long been a source of potential violence. There’s a reason there tends to be a police presence as such things. After all, tensions run high enough.

But there’s never any excuse for such violence.

Unfortunately, as I noted, we don’t have any information as to who started what, and truth be told, it could go either way. I can see an armed protestor getting angry because someone had a “Back the Blue” sign in their yard–the protest was over the Amir Locke shooting, after all–or it just as easily could have been a homeowner who went out to confront the protestors.

However, it should be remembered that heightened tensions require heightened vigilance and restraint. If you’re on the periphery of a protest and carrying, there’s a time to draw your weapon and a time not to. It’s vital to remember which is which.

That should not be taken to cast aspersions on anyone involved at this time. While I have no doubt someone screwed up by the numbers, I don’t know who and I don’t want to speculate on just who that might be. As I said, we don’t know.

But we do know someone did, so if you find yourself around a protest, please be careful. That means restraint on your part, sure, but also caution that someone jackwagon doesn’t try to start crap with you.