A 27-year-old man was arrested Wednesday in connection with a shooting over the weekend after an argument during a downtown Portland demonstration, authorities said.
Skylor Noel Jernigan, of Milwaukie, Ore., was taken into custody on suspicion of two counts of unlawful use of a weapon, menacing, recklessly endangering another person and discharging a firearm in the city, a police news release said. Investigators seized a firearm believed to have been used in the Aug. 15 shooting.
Authorities said several groups gathered downtown to demonstrate near the Justice Center and in nearby parks. Over several hours, members of the groups began arguing and fistfighting.
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At times, they used paintball guns, mace and bear repellent against each other, police said. At one point, the groups moved away from one area when someone fired a gun during a confrontation.
It was not clear if anyone was injured.
“Tensions are running high in our city and it is important for everyone to know PPB members are doing everything possible to prevent violence and criminal acts and investigate incidents that have already occurred,” police Chief Chuck Lovell said.
On Wednesday, Lovell also addressed chaos that erupted hours earlier during which a fire was set inside the Multnomah Building amid ongoing violence in the downtown area. He said the incident further demonstrated the intent of some “to engage in anarchy at the expense of the entire community” while also praising his officers for their response.
“Morale is low as they face what appears to be endless destruction within the city they took an oath to serve and protect,” Lovell said. “I am bolstered by their grit and determination to do everything they can each and every night to prevent a worst-case scenario.”
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Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt also weighed in on the demonstrators.
“The people working in the Multnomah Building serve a critical mission to the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to adversely impact marginalized communities,” he said. “Breaking out windows, setting fires and committing assaults will not bring the much needed reform we need.”
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