On Wednesday evening, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden suggested that Trump supporter Aaron Jay Danielson, who was apparently leaving a pro-Trump demonstration in Portland before he was fatally shot, was “inciting responses.”
“I think what happened in Portland, where one of the ‘Trump guys’ riding along in vans, inciting responses, shooting rubber bullets, I guess, or paintballs, apparently there was someone shot by someone in the crowd, with a bullet, killed,” Biden told CBS News.
“I think that person should meet the legal requirement, whatever that calls for, should be investigated and it should follow through on what needs to be done,” the former VP added. “Let the judicial system work. Let’s make sure justice is done.”
Based on video evidence and at least one alleged eyewitness account, Danielson was walking down the street with his Patriot Prayer hat on at the time he was ambushed and fatally shot.
Mr. Biden was seemingly getting his information about “rubber bullets” or “paintballs” from a New York Times report on the fatal shooting. The Times reported Sunday:
A man affiliated with a right-wing group was shot and killed on Saturday as a large group of supporters of President Trump traveled in a caravan through downtown Portland, Ore., which has seen nightly protests for three consecutive months.
The pro-Trump rally drew hundreds of trucks full of supporters into the city. At times, Trump supporters and counterprotesters clashed on the streets, with people shooting paintball guns from the beds of pickup trucks and protesters throwing objects back at them.
An alleged witness to the fatal shooting said in an interview posted Sunday that he and Danielson were “hunted” by apparent left-wing Antifa members after they were spotted wearing Patriot Prayer hats.
“We’ve got a couple of ’em right here, pull it out, pull it out!” the alleged witness recounted the attackers saying.
“They identified our hats. ‘We’ve got a couple of ’em right here, we’ve got a couple of ’em right here, pull it out pull it out,’” he recalled. “That’s what they said. We turned around, I didn’t even, it didn’t even register until the shots went off and they took off running. … The shooter took off running, and you know, it takes a second for you to process everything that happened, you know.”
The Patriot Prayer member said he processed that he was shot at and that he was okay, but when he turned to Danielson, he saw his friend was hit, later understanding he was shot in the chest. “They blew out his heart.”
“Jay’s dead because he believes something different,” he said.
The alleged witness says the shooter, who was notably dressed in “all white” instead of the typical black, did not know him or Danielson before the attack but believes the two were targeted because of their beliefs and because they were alone and unarmed.
“I think it was planned,” he said. “I think they were looking for somebody to hurt. I think they were looking for somebody just like us, who was down there unprotected, who didn’t go and bring guns because we didn’t have the intention to kill people.”