Driver fires gun into air after clash with protesters

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The driver of a vehicle fired several shots from a handgun into the air after a verbal clash with protesters in Portland early Thursday.

The incident, caught on video from multiple angles and shared on social media, shows the driver in a white car surrounded by demonstrators near the burnt remains of downtown Portland’s iconic Elk Fountain, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Some protesters call for people to clear the street to let the car leave as others speak to the driver through an open window. As the driver starts to leave, a handgun can be seen emerging from the driver’s side window and at least five gunshots are heard.

One social media user said the driver had been cruising the area around the protest “menacingly.”

Incidents of vehicular violence against protesters have been increasing as demonstrations stretch into their seventh week since George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis on May 25.

One protester, Summer Taylor, was killed and another, Diaz Love, was critically injured when a driver drove into them at a high rate of speed on a closed Interstate 5 in Seattle last week. The driver, Dawit Kalete, has been charged with multiple felonies, including vehicular homicide.

In June, a Portland man was arrested after he drove into a crowd of demonstrators, injuring three people before fleeing. In that instance, Anthony Eaglehorse-Lassandro has been charged with multiple felonies, including assault, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

It was unclear what had preceded the incident Thursday morning in downtown Portland. Police did not immediately respond the questions from the newspaper about the incident.

In a news release police said officers in the area tried but failed to locate the vehicle and said because of the demonstration, officers were unable to canvass the area for evidence until later. No evidence was recovered from the scene, police added.

Police said anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact them.