The man fatally shot during the aftermath of a Portland protest on Saturday evening, Aug. 29, arrived with an associate hours earlier at a suburban mall in order to offer make-shift security services for the caravan of Trump supporters who later clashed with protesters downtown, according to a recorded interview at the scene with the Portland Tribune.
Chandler Pappas and the now deceased associate — whom police have not yet publicly identified — arrived together at the Clackamas Town Center mall parking lot around 4 p.m. Saturday, both wearing matching Patriot Prayer hats, visibly armed with at least one paint ball gun, knives, mace and bearing other tactical gear.
Chandler Pappas and another man who declined to be interviewed are here with Patriot Prayer gear + paint ball guns + knives at the Trump rally in Portland— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) August 29, 2020
â€œIâ€™m here to stop people from assaulting these people,â€ says Chandler pic.twitter.com/o2gDeMra0d
Pappas can later be seen being restrained in anguish immediately after the shooting death outside a parking garage at Southeast Third Avenue and Alder Street around 8:45 p.m., according to images by Getty photographer Nathan Howard.
The body is shown in those photos wearing a Patriot Prayer hat and identical gloves, socks, shorts, leg-strap saddlebags, earrings and with the same facial hair and physique as the man who spoke with the Tribune.
During a three-minute recorded interview, the man who was later shot said little. He declined to pose for a photograph but said he had no beef with journalists.
"We're all about independent journalism. Andy Ngo has been assaulted for being an independent journalist, he's not even right-leaning," the man remarked, adding that "the Overton Window has been pushed so far to the left, that like normalcy seems..." before being cut off by Pappas.
Andy Ngo, now of the Post Millennial, was attacked by a crowd during an infamous milkshake-themed protest in downtown Portland on June 29, 2019. The Overton Window is a concept used in political theory to describe the range of ideas acceptable in public discourse.
Members of Patriot Prayer, led by activist Joey Gibson, spent three summers brawling with local anti-fascists, setting the scene for the 90-day-long demonstrations and riots now convulsing the Rose City.
Gibson apparently rushed to the scene of the Aug. 29 shooting, where he was confronted by an angry crowd who chased him to a nearby gas station.
"I can't say much right now. All I can do is verify that he was a good friend and a supporter of Patriot Prayer," Gibson told an Associated Press reporter.
At the Clackamas mall parking lot serving as a staging ground for the Trump 2020 car parade to downtown Portland, Pappas indicated to the Tribune that he and his associate were there to perform security services, though it's not clear if they were invited or, as is often common at protests, simply volunteered. Organizers had called for participants to not openly carry firearms during the Trump event.
"I'm here to stop people from assaulting these people," Pappas said, referring to the Trump caravan.
He was even more blunt at a dueling counter protest outside Gresham City Hall spurred by the city's Black Lives Matter flag on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
Again armed with a paintball gun, Pappas said "I came here ready for war" and warned a counter-protester "I'll drop you on your f-----g head."
A protester in Gresham with a paint ball gun says â€œI came here ready for warâ€ and warns a counterprotester â€œIâ€™ll drop you on your fâ€”â€”g headâ€ pic.twitter.com/bNT28W7txl— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) August 27, 2020
Authorities have released little information about Saturday's fatal shooting so far. In a press release Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury called the loss of life "tragic and unacceptable."
"We are witnessing the self-perpetuating cycle of violence fueled by white supremacy," Kafoury said. "This tragedy will be used to justify escalating violence. It will be used to paint an entire movement with a broad and misleading brush. And sadly, it will be used by the occupant of the White House to deepen divisions and fear."
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell asked that anyone with information contact homicide detectives.
"It is still early in this investigation, and I ask everyone to give the detectives time to do their important work before drawing conclusions about what took place," Lovell said. "This violence is completely unacceptable and we are working diligently to find and apprehend the individual or individuals responsible."
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