clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What we know about a deadly shooting in Portland, Oregon

One person is dead in Portland after a pro-Trump caravan descended on the city.

The officer, in a riot helmet, face mask, and gloves, stands in front of a trash can featuring a illustration of red sneakers, their laces coiled to read “Portland,” and ties two ends of yellow and black police tape together. Behind the officer, the red and blue lights of a police car flash.
A police officer in Portland, Oregon, sets up a perimeter around the site of a shooting that left one man dead on August 29, 2020.
Nathan Howard/Getty Images

A shooter killed one person in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday night, according to a statement by the Portland Police Bureau.

Details are still emerging, but the victim is believed to be Aaron Danielson, a supporter of the far-right Patriot Prayer group; according to Willamette Week reporter Aaron Mesh, the victim was wearing a hat and shirt with the group’s logo.

The shooting comes after supporters of President Donald Trump led a caravan of vehicles through the city Saturday and clashed with anti-police brutality protesters in Portland’s downtown; video from journalist Cory Elia shows trucks flying Trump flags driving through people on a street and unleashing pepper spray as the vehicles forced their way through a crowd of protesters.

At least 10 people were arrested Saturday by Portland police on a variety of charges, including disorderly conduct and “interfering with a peace officer,” but no arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.

The killing follows another instance of deadly street violence from just days ago: On Tuesday, a 17-year-old Trump supporter allegedly shot and killed two protesters in the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, and injured a third. Kenosha has been the site of major protests since police shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, at least seven times in the back on Sunday, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Early Sunday, Trump issued a string of tweets and retweets, including one retweet and a tweet condemning Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s leadership of the city. “The National Guard is Ready, Willing and Able” to deploy, Trump wrote in a quote tweet shortly after calling Wheeler a “fool.”

Trump has attempted to paint himself as the “law and order” candidate ahead of the general election in November, and all signs point to his campaign believing that more violence is good for the president’s reelection chances.

Specifically, senior adviser to the president Kellyanne Conway told Fox & Friends on Thursday that “the more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order” — an odd message given the violence is happening under the Trump administration, and Democratic nominee Joe Biden hasn’t held elected office since January 2017. Trump himself has argued that increasing unrest and recent violence is the result of Democratic leadership at the local level rather than the result of any of his policies or rhetoric.

In a statement Sunday, Biden reacted to the shooting by saying he condemned the violence “unequivocally.”

“We must not become a country at war with ourselves,” Biden said. “But that is the America that President Trump wants us to be, the America he believes we are. As a country, we must condemn the incitement of hate and resentment that led to this deadly clash.”

Portland has been the site of continuous Black Lives Matter protests for approximately three months following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May. Federal agents were deployed to the city in July, and armed far-right protesters have been a frequent presence as well.

The story is still developing. Here’s what we know, and don’t know, so far.

What we know

  • The Oregonian reports that the victim’s name was Aaron Danielson, a supporter of the far-right group Patriot Prayer. Danielson was shot in the chest at around 8:46 pm Pacific time, and died at the scene.
  • Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer, confirmed Danielson’s affiliation with the group to local NBC News affiliate KGW’s Tim Gordon on Sunday. “I can confirm that he was a good friend and supporter of Patriot Prayer,” Gibson said.
  • A 48-year-old man, Michael Forest Reinoehl, is reportedly under investigation for the shooting, according to the Oregonian.
  • The shooting comes after Trump supporters in downtown Portland unleashed pepper spray and paintballs on protesters and journalists, and amid clashes between supporters of the president and protesters.
  • Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told ABC Sunday morning that “all options continue to be on the table” in terms of federal action in Portland.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.