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One dead, five injured in shooting at protest against police violence in Portland

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Police officers view the crime scene, where according to the Portland Police Bureau one person was shot dead and five others were wounded, at Normandale Park in Portland, Oregon, US February 19, 2022. (Reuters photo)

A shooting at a racial justice protest in Portland, Oregon has left a woman dead and five other people injured.

Demonstrators had gathered for a protest about the killing of Amir Locke, a 22-year-old Black man shot in Minneapolis in early February during a no-knock police raid, as well as other victims of police brutality.

Police said the woman was dead when they arrived, while two men and three women were injured who were all taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.

According to the protesters on the scene, someone came out of a nearby home and engaged with a group of about 50 protesters before shooting into the crowd.

“I was sitting in the room talking to my wife, and all of a sudden you hear repeated gunshots,” Jeff Pry, who lives in the area, told The New York Times.

In a statement on Sunday, the Portland Police Bureau said a preliminary investigation showed the incident "started with a confrontation between an armed homeowner and armed protesters" but that detectives were still trying to gather evidence.

"The scene was extremely chaotic, and a number of witnesses were uncooperative with responding officers," the police said in the statement. "Detectives believe a large number of people either witnessed what happened, or recorded the incident as it unfolded. This is a very complicated incident, and investigators are trying to put this puzzle together without having all the pieces."

Portland, the largest city in Oregon, saw months of protests in 2020, following the death of George Floyd, an African-American who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes in May 2020.

The city has also been a magnet for clashes between political extremists, with violent skirmishes breaking out between right-wing and leftist anti-fascist crowds.

Portland, like many other big cities in the US, has seen a surge in murders over the past two years, a phenomenon experts have attributed partly to the social disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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