Portland witnessed Sunday a chaotic street showdown in which dozens of right-wing Proud Boys and leftist Antifa members clashed armed with improvised weapons, but the conflict was later punctuated with brief gun battle on a downtown street, The Oregonian reports.
The clashes erupted after a group of an estimated 300 demonstrators gathered in the city to protest planned gatherings by around 100 right-wing groups prompting verbal skirmishes and street battles among both groups using an array of weapons ranging from bats and shields to paintball guns, mace and fireworks.
The atmosphere boiled after a shooting took place in which shots were fired towards an alleged Proud Boys supporter who, in return, opened fire while being chased away by Antifa members, but it was unclear who pulled the trigger first though police swiftly detained the shooter seen in the videos.
According to multiple videos shared by witnesses, there were no injuries were reported, but several buildings and cars ended up damaged by the gunfire.
Apart the officers who arrested the gunman and swept the scene, there was no visible police presence throughout the day with Portland police staying true to its warnings that they won’t intervene in clashes but only sharing public safety information with the public via Twitter.
Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell noted on Friday that people should avoid physical confrontation and not expect the police to stand in the middle of the crowd trying to keep people apart.
They reiterated and defended its announced tactics Sunday acknowledging they’re aware of the unfolding violence and property destruction, pointing people can be charged with crimes later, after the evidence are reviewed and not necessarily on the scene, when tensions are high.