A Seattle man has been charged with civil disorder after allegedly shooting a firefighter with a ball bearing fired from a “wrist rocket” slingshot during a violent Antifa Portland protest on July 13.
According to court documents, a Portland Fire and Rescue firefighter wearing a large "medic" patch was crossing the street to brief his team near the downtown federal courthouse when 38-year-old Jesse Herman Bates allegedly shot him in the chest with a one-centimeter diameter metal ball bearing, causing bruising. The assault was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, Billy Williams.
A Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputy identified Bates as the slingshot shooter on camera.
At approximately 3:50 a.m. on July 13, Portland Police say they found Bates near a tent in Lownsdale Square wielding a crowbar. The park is across the street from the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, the federal building targeted for weeks in arson attacks by Black Lives Matter-Antifa rioters. When officers approached Bates, he fled with the crowbar in-hand. After receiving a non-lethal munition to his backside, Bates dropped the crowbar and was taken into custody.
Bates was found carrying a stash of other weapons at the time of his arrest. Items found included a switchblade knife, flares, umbrellas, spray paint, what officials classified as pyrotechnics, half-inch glass slingshot ammunition, and two slingshots.
Bates was lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of felony assault, felony assault of a public safety officer, interfering with a police officer, carrying a concealed weapon, and disorderly conduct. He was quickly released without bail by the county.
Around the time of Bates’ alleged assault, a firefighting crew was extinguishing a fire burning in the middle of an intersection in downtown Portland that was blocking traffic. A crowd of approximately 300 people were in the area as several rioters assaulted police officers and vandalised nearby property.
On Aug. 25, Seattle Police Department’s Robbery Unit detectives received Bates’ outstanding federal arrest warrant and promptly issued a department-wide notice. Bates was known to law enforcement to frequent Cal Anderson Park in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The park is at the center of the former “autonomous zone” and is a frequent meeting spot for antifa black bloc who have rioted weekly in the area.
On Sept. 1, bicycle SPD officers spotted Bates on East Broadway Avenue in the vicinity of the park and arrested him without incident.
Bates was then transferred to the District of Oregon by the FBI and made his initial appearance in federal court yesterday before a US magistrate judge. He was ordered released pending further court proceedings. If convicted, Bates faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
Andy Ngo contributed to this report.
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