Aaron “Jay” Danielson was shot in the chest and killed just before 9 p.m., while taking part in a caravan of protesters supporting President Donald Trump that drove through downtown Portland and clashed with counterprotesters.
Police have not made any arrests in the killing.
Danielson was photographed in a Patriot Prayer hat soon after being shot.
Patriot Prayer is a far-right group that has repeatedly clashed with left-wing protesters in the Portland, often leading to violence. Joey Gibson, the group’s founder, has made numerous Facebook posts about Danielson and his death since Saturday. In one, Gibson wrote, “We love Jay and he had such a huge heart. God bless him and the life he lived.”
In a Monday news conference held in a Portland park, a group of Danielson’s friends seemed to push back on the suggestion that his affiliation with Patriot Prayer made him an extremist.
Luke Carrillo, who said he had been a “20-year friend and a 19-year business partner” of Danielson, said Danielson was a “good and decent man.”
Danielson “was not a radical, was not a racist, and he was not a fascist,” Carrillo said. “He was a freedom-loving American who died expressing his beliefs, a right which is guaranteed to all of us through the Constitution.”
A Facebook page devoted to Shadle Park graduates suggested Danielson may have graduated in 1999, though that could not be confirmed as of press time.
A GoFundMe page raising money on Danielson’s behalf includes a note that states, “Due to the circumstances surrounding the ongoing investigation, the family of Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson must insist upon anonymity.”
The Oregonian reported Danielson had never married and had no children.
Danielson’s killing has fueled the national debate about protests and violence.
Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, his Democratic rival in the race for the presidency, have both weighed in on the causes and implications of Danielson’s death.
In a Sunday statement, Biden said he unequivocally opposed violence and accused Trump of “recklessly encouraging violence.”
“I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right,” Biden said. “And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same.”
The same day, Trump praised those who participated in the Saturday night caravan as “GREAT PATRIOTS!” on Twitter.
KHQ reported Wednesday that Danielson’s father and stepmother, who were not named, reached out to the station with a plea for his death not to become politicized.
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