PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — 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.
Their conditions have not been released, and 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.”
Lt. Nathan Sheppard, a spokesman for the department, said during a virtual news conference Sunday that it would be “irresponsible” to say if anyone had been arrested. He did not explain why when pressed by reporters, and did not provide other details about the circumstances of the shooting.
A live news conference earlier Sunday to discuss the violence in Portland was interrupted by protesters who began yelling anti-police sentiments.
Social media flyers show that at the same time as the shooting, a march was planned for Amir Locke, a Black man who was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis, KOIN-TV reported.
Police responded to six shootings within a nine-hour span between Thursday night and early Friday. Shortly before Saturday night’s shooting at Normandale Park, police who were called to a separate disturbance shot and killed one of the people involved.
Portland, Oregon’s largest city, saw months of nightly protests in 2020 that often spiraled into violence following the murder by police of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Portland became the center of the movement to defund the police, but the sustained protests in the city have largely faded away.
The city is now dealing with a plague of gun violence.
Police responded to six shootings within a nine-hour span between Thursday night and early Friday.
Local leaders expressed concern for the victims of the shootings and said the situation in Portland was out of control.
“We have a public safety crisis, and it is affecting everyone,” Portland City Councilman Mingus Mapps said in a statement.
Last year was marked by record-high gun violence in Portland. Police and city officials say the increase in violence, which disproportionally affected Portland’s Black community, was fueled by gang-related arguments, drug deals gone wrong and disputes among homeless people. The situation was exacerbated by the pandemic, economic hardships and mental health crises.
Homicides in Portland last year surpassed more populous cities such as San Francisco and Boston — and was more than double the number of slayings in its larger Pacific Northwest neighbor Seattle.
Portland recorded 90 homicides in 2021, shattering the city’s previous high of 66, set more than three decades ago.