Gabriel Johnson, a retired Marine who said he heard the gunshots that killed a man in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, told “Fox & Friends” on Monday that he was “appalled” by “all of the people in the street celebrating” his death.
Violent clashes between a massive pro-Trump caravan that drove through Portland and Black Lives Matter protesters left at least one person dead in a shooting Saturday evening, according to reports.
Video posted on social media showed a person suddenly dropping to the ground, and others rushing to assist, after what appears to be gunfire near an intersection as vehicles and pedestrians pass by.
Portland police said they were investigating a homicide in the area where the pro-Trump group and counter-protesters clashed but did not say whether the gunfire was directly related to the protests.
Police said Saturday evening no suspect information would be immediately released.
An Associated Press freelance photographer heard three gunshots and then observed police medics working on the body of the victim, who appeared to be a White man. The freelancer said the man was wearing a hat bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group whose members have frequently clashed with protesters in Portland in the past.
Patriot Prayer founder Joey Gibson identified the victim as Aaron “Jay” Danielson and called the victim a “good friend,” but provided no further details about him. Danielson apparently also went by the name Jay Bishop, according to Patriot Prayer’s Facebook page.
Johnson said he also heard the gunshots while he was inside his home located one block away from the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in downtown Portland, which has become an epicenter of the violence that has overtaken the city.
“One thing that I would really like to note is kind of the timing of this whole thing because every news outlet that you hear would have you think that as this rally was going through Portland that’s when all this unrest occurred,” Johnson said.
“I was sitting here watching about an hour after all the live streams went down, basically coverage of this rally went off the air [and] about an hour later I hear a couple shots and I’m sitting here and I’m saying to myself, ‘Well, I know that’s not fireworks because I know what that sounds like, those are bullets’ and immediately I got a text from a friend of law enforcement who let me know that there was a shooting four blocks from my house.”
“So I got up and I wanted to find out for myself what happened because this is such a tragic event and a polarizing event for our city,” he continued, adding that he then went to the scene of the shooting and was “surveying the landscape.”
“And one of the things that I just came back with, and I was appalled by, is all of the people in the street celebrating,” Johnson said.
He noted that people were “specifically saying that they are not sad that a fascist Nazi was killed tonight.”
Johnson pointed out that “we don’t know this man is a fascist, we don’t know this man is a Nazi.”
“What we’re seeing is that [Portland Mayor] Ted Wheeler and our city council, even our governor has created an atmosphere of lawlessness and this is the result of it,” Johnson continued.
He added, “I hold the city and I hold the mayor responsible. This man’s death is on them.”
On Sunday, Wheeler was pleading for peace following the fatal shooting in his city.
“The tragedy of last night cannot be repeated,” Wheeler said on Sunday.
He went on to say, “We need to reset, the president needs to reset, I need to reset, this community needs to reset and America needs to reset.”
“Let’s end the violence. Let’s commit to that. Is that something we can all agree on? That we are done with the violence,” Wheeler added.
President Trump wrote a few critical tweets about Wheeler on Sunday as the mayor was holding the press conference about the fatal shooting.
After President Trump called Wheeler, a Democrat, a “fool” and blamed him for allowing violence to escalate in Portland, the city’s mayor addressed the president at the news conference.
“That’s classic Trump. Mr. President, how can you think that a comment like that, if you’re watching this, is in any way helpful? It’s an aggressive stance, it is not collaborative. I certainly reached out, I believe in a collaborative manner, by saying earlier that you need to do your part and I need to do my part and then we both need to be held accountable,” Wheeler said.
The comments followed a chaotic 24 hours in Portland that began when a caravan of about 600 vehicles packed with Trump supporters drove through the city and was met with counter-protesters. Clashes broke out between the groups and about 15 minutes after the caravan left the city, the fatal shooting took place, according to the Associated Press.
“I think they are coming in, you know, 91 or 89 days too late,” Johnson said referencing the fact that there has been more than 90 consecutive days of unrest in Portland sparked by the death of George Floyd in May while in Minneapolis police custody.
“The day after these protests started, they should have got control of the streets. This was preventable and, again it’s on them.”
Johnson made headlines in July when he marched into protests in Portland with an American flag, attempting to be a voice of reason after weeks of being kept awake by the sounds of rioting and explosions taking place outside his window.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson, Teny Sahakian and the Associated Press contributed to this report.