Provo, Utah was the scene of dueling rallies last night. According to police, there was a planned police rally and a counter-protest. Things were peaceful until around 8:30 when the driver of a white SUV was swarmed by a large group of Black Lives Matter protesters in the street. The driver kept advancing, trying to escape the hostile crowd and that’s when one of the protesters pulled out a gun:
“Several protesters began crowding around the vehicle,” said John Geyerman, Provo Police deputy chief. “The male protester ran toward the SUV on the passenger side, pointed a handgun at the driver, and shot one round through the window. The driver who was struck by the bullet accelerated, trying to leave the situation. The same protester ran after the vehicle and fired a second shot that went through the rear passenger window.”…
The driver was taken to Utah Valley Hospital.
Here’s video of the incident shot from across the street. This picks up as the vehicle is already surrounded. The driver is honking and moving forward and then you hear the first gunshot:
Filmed this while covering protests in Provo a few hours ago. Full story in the morning on @UniverseBYU pic.twitter.com/nUB6F3faTR
— Lisi Merkley (@lisimerkley) June 30, 2020
Fortunately, the driver’s wounds were not life-threatening. He drove himself to a hospital. This second clip is a slowed down image showing the shooter aiming his gun at the driver and firing. He’s wearing some kind of green hat or hoodie.
So who was this guy? Well, according to a local man who goes by Hootie Hennessey, the shooter was involved in the protests from beginning to end and appeared to be friendly with other protesters. Hennessey walked over to the protests and filmed them last night. In screengrabs from his own video you can see what appears to be the same person with the green hat/hoodie standing with other protesters who are similarly dressed. [He has since deleted these tweets and protected his account.]
Hootie uploaded another video to YouTube which shows several of the people in the photo above arguing with a woman on the street later last night. The woman wants the protesters to go home and they respond by shouting at her and calling her “Karen.” Notice the girl with the red hair is part of this shouting match as is guy in the blue mask in the photo above (he has a bullhorn in this clip). I wonder if they know the shooter? I hope the Provo police are asking them.
All of this apparently escalated as the night wore on. As you can see in this clip, also shot by Hootie, initially protesters were throwing things at cars and blocking traffic on a smaller street.
Things escalated from there. Here’s the local news report featuring another video Hootie shot of a vehicle being swarmed by some of the same protesters (including the red-haired girl) on a much larger street. Hootie also gets interviewed in this clip. He saying he supports the BLM movement but didn’t like what he saw in Provo last night.
Here’s a statement about the incident from the Mayor of Provo. This clip also includes a description of what happened from the Deputy Chief of Police. He says that after shooting at the driver of the white SUV, the protester continued to participate in the protest and later smashed the mirror of another car.
Peaceful protests are a fundamental right and often can become an important catalyst for positive change. Criminal acts and violence such as we saw last night in Provo were anything but peaceful and are UNACCEPTABLE. The public safety of our community is a top priority. pic.twitter.com/AHgF9jbelB
— Michelle Kaufusi (@mayorkaufusi) June 30, 2020
Finally, Sen. Mike Lee just tweeted this a few moments ago saying that blocking traffic and shooting cars is not peaceful.
Peaceful protest is a right. But blocking traffic is not peaceful. Destroying property is not peaceful. Shooting cars is not peaceful. Those endangering the lives of others must be found and held accountable. My thoughts and prayers are with the victim and his family in Provo.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) June 30, 2020
Sen. Lee’s statement actually downplays what happened here. The shooter doesn’t appear to have been just shooting at a car, he appears to have taken aim and fired at the driver, hitting him. I’m not an attorney but that sounds like attempted murder to me.