VANCOUVER, Wash. — Officers prevailed in a gun battle with black suspect in Washington state, which touched off a violent showdown between Black Lives Matter and Antifa followers that raged until the early hours of Saturday.
Dozens from both movements descended on Vancouver from nearby Portland, Oregon, roughly 15 miles away, to protest the death of Kevin Peterson Jr., a 21-year-old black man who sheriff’s deputies fatally shot Thursday night after he fired on them, a journalist on the scene reported.
The demonstrators infiltrated a crowd that gathered Friday evening to honor Peterson, who played football in high school and just had a new daughter, according to reports.
Shortly before the candlelight vigil, hundreds chanted “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “Black Lives Matter!” the Columbian reported. Signs on the fence of a bank parking lot nearby read “Scream His Name” and “Stop the Lynching.”
Down the street stood counterprotesters of all kinds — some carrying weapons, others waving American flags and pro-Trump flags. Then, tempers flared. The sides went after each other, New York Post reported.
They pulled each other to the pavement, throwing jabs and kicking. They moved to smash the windows of businesses, burned American flags, fired guns into the air and cursed the police, journalist Andy Ngo tweeted.
“Death to your f–king empire,” shouted a man burning a flag.
“Death to your f—ng empire” shouts a man burning the US flag at the BLM-antifa violent protest in Vancouver, Wash. pic.twitter.com/fN94XQI5Gf
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) October 31, 2020
Peterson’s family remembered their loved one on social media and questioned why the Clark County Sheriff’s Office took so long to make the shooting public, the Seattle Times reported.
A short time later, three deputies confronted and fired at Peterson. They found a handgun at the scene. Atkins expressed condolences to Peterson’s family and urged the community not to rush to judgment.