A friend of the man shot dead in Portland over the weekend described the shooting as an execution.
Chandler Pappas said he was with Aaron “Jay” Danielson in downtown Portland when the shooting happened. Both were wearing hats marking them as supporters or members of Patriot Prayer, a conservative group that has clashed with leftwing activists in the past.
“They identified our hats, [said] ‘got a couple of them right here, got a couple of them right here. Pull it out. Pull it out,’” Pappas told a conservative YouTube channel.
That’s when a gun appeared and someone fired at the men.
“It didn’t even register that someone was pointing a gun at us until the shots went off and he took off running,” Pappas said. “I turn to check on my partner and he’s on the ground,” he later added. “They blew his heart out.”
“I think it was planned, I think they were looking for someone to hurt,” Pappas said, adding, “They executed my partner. They hunted him down—they hunted us down.”
A livestream that captured audio of the shooting showed someone saying “We got a couple right here” before several gunshots are heard.
Danielson was murdered “because he believed something different,” Pappas added, describing the victim as “not a racist, he’s not a xenophone, or whatever label—he’s not an ist or an ism. He’s an independent man. He’s good. And he didn’t do anything to earn a bullet in the chest.”
In a press conference on Aug. 31, Luke Carrillo, who said he was a friend and business partner of Danielson, said the victim “was a freedom-loving American who died expressing his beliefs, a right which is given guaranteed to all of us through the Constitution.”
“He was a great man and he did not deserve the end he met. We ask now that Portland, Oregon, and the entire country stand together and renounce any further acts of violence. No family or friends should ever have to deal with this type of loss for any reason at all,” he said.
A member of Antifa, a far-left, anarcho-communist group that has clashed with Patriot Prayer in Portland before, was named by his sister as a possible suspect in the shooting.
That man, Michael Forest Reinoehl, was arrested with a loaded gun during rioting last month.
A Portland police spokesman said in an email to The Epoch Times that an investigation into the shooting is ongoing.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell told reporters on Sunday that people should not jump to conclusions “that are not based in fact” as he expressed awareness of information circulating on social media.
Police officials urged anyone who witnessed the shooting or captured video of what happened to contact detectives.
Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson first identified Danielson, who he said “had such a huge heart.”
The shooting took place after a car caravan rally that started in nearby Clackamas. As with other rallies arranged by pro-President Donald Trump groups, the rallygoers met opposition when they drove into the city, and skirmishes broke out in multiple places.
About one week before the shooting, members of Patriot Prayer and other groups clashed with Antifa militants and others in downtown Portland.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly described the timing of the shooting. The Epoch Times regrets the error.