The man who was fatally shot this weekend shortly after a caravan of vehicles carrying Trump supporters rolled through downtown Portland, drawing heated counter-protests, was a supporter of a right-wing group called 'Patriot Prayer', which doesn't have a big national footprint but is well known in the Pacific Northwest.
Videos and photos of the shooting spread on social media, and images showed the man wearing a Patriot Prayer hat.
Founder of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer Joey Gibson identified the victim as Aaron "Jay" Danielson, and called him a "good friend."
"Rest In Peace Jay!" President Donald Trump tweeted. Trump on Monday continued his attacks on Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, calling him a "joke of a mayor" after he called him a "fool" on Sunday.
Now, this right-wing group has held pro-Trump rallies repeatedly in Portland and other cities since 2016. The events have drawn counterprotesters from around the region, so much so that tensions had heightened in Portland long before the 'Black Lives Matter' demonstrators began nearly 100 days of nightly protests over the police killing of George Floyd. They included the Proud Boys, a hate group, and various anti-government extremist groups.
But condoling Jay's death, Gibson, who is himself a former Washington Senate candidate, wrote on the group's Facebook page that the Patriot Prayer is a right-wing group "about fighting corruption, big government, and tyranny using God for strength and the power of love".
The group became a prominent presence in Portland in the summer of 2017 when Gibson organized a large rally in the city less than a week after a white supremacist fatally stabbed two men who had come to the defense of two Black teenagers — including one wearing a Muslim head-covering — on a light-rail train.
Saturday, the group had organized a "rally for freedom" for the Tip Top Tavern in Vancouver, Washington, protests "intimidation and harassment by the state" amid COVID-19 restrictions.
As per the local media, Gibson arrived in Portland on Saturday night after the shooting and was briefly corralled in a nearby gas station by angry protester.
Portland protests continue for nearly 100 consecutive nights
On Sunday night, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced her plan to end violence in the state's largest city after violent protests continued for nearly 100 consecutive nights demand changes to law enforcement and an end to systemic racism and injustice.
"The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight. Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence. I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets," Brown added.
"Time and again, from Charlottesville to Kenosha to Portland, we have seen the tragic outcome when armed right-wing vigilantes take matters into their own hands. Gun violence is never, ever the answer," she said further.
Video shared on social media showed police knocking protesters to the ground during arrests, most of which were for disorderly conduct or interfering with an officer. Many in the group wore helmets, gas masks and other gear, police said in a statement, adding that some threw rocks, eggs and other items at officers.
Almost 600 people have been arrested so far since the unrest began in the wake of the death of Floyd, a Black man killed by a white Minneapolis police officer who knelt into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes on Memorial Day.
Trump and Democrats spar over the crisis
However, without taking further note of the tense situation, Trump on Monday repeated his attacks on Wheeler and other Democratic leaders in other cities around the U.S. who he says "have lost control."
"Portland is a mess, and it has been for many years. If this joke of a mayor doesn't clean it up, we will go in and do it for them!" Trump tweeted.