Portland police have responded to 17 shootings so far this month, a 240 percent increase when the city saw five in the same timeframe last year, the department announced Monday.
One shooting earlier this month injured a man, while another resulted in an infant child putting a spent bullet in her mouth, police revealed. In a statement, Portland police chief Chuck Lovell called the spike “alarming.”
“Gun violence negatively impacts everyone in our community and the increase we are seeing is alarming,” he said. “As a community, we must come together to send a message that shootings in our City are unacceptable.”
Portland has faced weeks of unrest following the death of George Floyd in May. Over the weekend, police declared a riot after a bronze sculpture honoring Oregon’s pioneers was set ablaze outside the city’s justice center. The Fourth of July marked the city’s 38th consecutive day of civil unrest.
The head of Portland’s police union released his own statement on Monday, calling on officials to take action.
“As riots continue, it is obvious to everyone that this is no longer about George Floyd, social justice, or police reform,” Portland Police Association president Daryl Turner said. “This is about a group of individuals intent on causing injury, chaos, and destruction by rioting, looting, starting fires, throwing rocks, bottles, mortars, urine, and feces at peaceful protestors, as well as the police.”
Last month, protestors attempted to set up an “autonomous zone” in Portland’s Pearl District, near an apartment building where Mayor Ted Wheeler reportedly lives, but were stymied by police.