Patriot Prayer founder reacts to shooting death of supporter in Portland
Joey Gibson joins Mike Emanuel on ‘Fox News @ Night’ to discuss the death of 39-year-old Aaron ‘Jay’ Danielson.
The man who was shot and killed in Portland, Ore., over the weekend, identified as a supporter of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, “would never hurt anybody and no one should have ever hurt him,” the group’s founder, Joey Gibson, told “Fox News @Night” on Monday.
“He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in my life,” Gibson said describing the victim, Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who apparently also went by the name Jay Bishop, according to Patriot Prayer’s Facebook page.
Gibson, who called Danielson a “good friend,” described the 39-year-old as a person with “a huge heart” who is “very courageous” and “really funny.”
Violent clashes between a massive pro-Trump caravan that drove through Portland and Black Lives Matter protesters left at least one person dead in a shooting Saturday evening, according to reports.
The chaotic 24 hours in Portland began when a caravan of about 600 vehicles packed with Trump supporters drove through the city and was met with counterprotesters. Clashes broke out between the groups, and about 15 minutes after the caravan left the city the fatal shooting took place, according to the Associated Press.
Portland police said they were investigating a homicide in the area where the pro-Trump group and counterprotesters clashed but did not say whether the gunfire was directly related to the protests.
Police said Saturday evening no suspect information would be immediately released.
The Oregonian reported, citing sources familiar with the case but not authorized to speak, that police are investigating a 48-year-old man who “calls himself an anti-fascist” and was accused of carrying a loaded gun at an earlier downtown Portland protest on Saturday.
An Associated Press freelance photographer heard three gunshots and then observed police medics working on the body of the victim, who appeared to be a White man. The freelancer said the man was wearing a hat bearing the insignia of Patriot Prayer, the right-wing group whose members have frequently clashed with protesters in Portland in the past.
When asked what the mission of the group is, Gibson said, “The last few years what we have been doing is going around in areas outside of Portland trying to help people who are victims to government overreach … and the lockdown, [the] Second Amendment.”
“Jay has done a really good job of showing up and supporting and just helping lift the morale,” he continued.
Gibson added that Saturday’s fatal shooting had “nothing to do with the Trump crews” or “any events.”
He explained that Danielson lived in Portland and that on Saturday night when Patriot Prayer was “done with the Trump crews,” Danielson “separated from us, went back into his hometown where he lives and he was murdered in cold blood.”
REPORTER WHO WITNESSED SUNDAY'S ASSAULT IN PORTLAND SAYS CITY IS LIKE A 'WAR ZONE'
Gibson said he thinks Danielson “was murdered in cold blood” because local leaders “built the city of lawlessness and number two is because of the constant lies, people constantly screaming White supremacist, White nationalist by politicians.”
“Patriot Prayer says it rejects white supremacists, but it doesn’t seem to really care much about who joins their ranks, a feature that helped someone infiltrate the group for years. Even though Gibson insists his group is not racist, the truth is he attracts many who are openly racist, and white supremacists have praised the group,” according to Slate.
In response, Gibson said, “I have never seen that and it is very frustrating.”
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Patriot Prayer went to Portland on Saturday "armed and looking for a fight," The Hill reported.
"Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence," she reportedly said. "I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets."
“Nobody in an Antifa, Black Lives Matter, Kate Brown, [Portland Mayor] Ted Wheeler, no one even understands who Jay is in his heart and this is their attempt to simply justify murdering him in cold blood on the streets,” Gibson said.
“This is the attempt of the far left to dehumanize people so that we don’t treat them like humans, but the truth is Jay is a human, he has feelings, he’s a great guy and we need to treat him that way.”
When asked if he is confident the person who killed Danielson will be brought to justice, Gibson said, “I’m not confident about anything in the city of Portland.”
“I don’t think they care about justice in Portland,” he continued. “I think they built policies to create this division, to create these riots and so right now one of the worst feelings in the world is to think that this guy is going to go without being punished, without any justice at all.”
Gibson went on to say that he stopped organizing Patriot Prayer events in Portland “because there were so many people showing up who are hateful [and] causing problems.”
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“So now what we’d like to do is we’d like to go out there and advocate for people who need help in cities where they actually believe in the Constitution,” he continued.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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