Police declare riots as protests turn violent in cities nationwide; 1 demonstrator dead in Austin

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Peaceful protests against police brutality and the presence of federal agents at demonstrations turned violent as police in several large cities across the country declared riots, and one protester in Austin was killed in a shooting that erupted during a weekend of civil unrest.

A Black Lives Matter protester was fatally shot just before 10 p.m. on Saturday during a march in downtown Austin, police said.

While police initially said the protester, identified as Garrett Foster, was armed when he approached a car occupied by a man who killed him, Foster’s mother disputed the account during an interview Sunday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Sheila Foster said her son was pushing his fiancee’s wheelchair when he was gunned down.

PHOTO: Demonstrators try to topple a steel fence during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse, July 25, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
“And this gentleman got out of his car and started firing shots, and my son was shot three times,” the mother said.

The gunfire, which was captured on cellphone video, caused protesters to run and duck for cover.

Police said the suspected gunman was captured and was being interviewed by investigators. The alleged gunman’s name has not been released.

The deadly violence occurred as protests across the country turned from peaceful to chaotic.

PHOTO: Police push a demonstrator to the ground during protests in Seattle, July 25, 2020. (David Ryder/Getty Images)
Oregon

Police in Portland, Oregon, declared that a demonstration turned into a “riot” early Sunday when protesters breached a reinforced fence around the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in downtown Portland. Federal agents guarding the building deployed tear gas on the demonstrators, who officials alleged hurled projectiles and fireworks at the agents.

MORE: Federal officers clash with protesters in Portland as US attorney calls for investigation

It was the 59th straight day of protests in Portland and demonstrators have accused federal agents of inflaming violence by using questionable tactics for detaining protesters and dispersing crowds.

President Donald Trump has threatened to send federal agents to more cities to restore order.

More than 100 miles away in Eugene, Oregon, police also declared a “riot” when Black Lives Matter members, protesting in solidarity with their Portland counterparts, clashed with counterprotesters waving American flags and toting signs reading “All Lives Matter,” according to police.

Police said they moved in to quell the demonstrations when vandalism occurred to businesses, including a Whole Foods store, and officers witnessed and arrested a man allegedly firing a gun into the air. Rocks and other objects were also thrown at police, officials said.

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