**UPDATE: Police have arrested 33-year-old Jesse Taggart of Salt Lake City. He is held on charges of attempted aggravated murder, aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, rioting, threatening the use of a weapon during a fight, criminal mischief, and firing a weapon near a highway. Police have also arrested 27-year-old Samantha Darling, of Ogden, and she is charged with obstruction of justice and rioting.
Provo, Utah police have confirmed that one person was shot during a protest Monday night near the police department. A group calling itself Back to Blue planned to drive around the Provo Police Department and honk their horns to show support for law enforcement.
According to Deseret News, a local news agency, “another group planned a counter-protest at the same time and place. On Facebook, their event page was originally titled End Police Brutality but was later changed to Marching for Racial Equality. The Facebook pages list the event’s hosts as the groups’ Insurgence, Solidarity for Justice, Salt Lake Equal Rights Movement, and the Salt Lake Antifascist Coalition“.
Provo Police Sgt. Nisha King said in a statement, “The victim, a 60-year-old Provo resident, remained hospitalized Tuesday but was stable” according to police. “The man was not part of the protest or counter-protest that had been going on, but was just driving in the area“.
Deputy Chief John Geyerman, Provo PD said during a press conference, “Several protesters began crowding around the vehicle. A male protester ran to the SUV on the passenger side, pointed a handgun at the driver, and shot one round”. After the shooting, the video shows the gunman then “conceals the firearm and continues to protest,” Guyerman said. “This same protester later approached another vehicle at 500 North and University Avenue, striking and breaking the window with the handgun.”
About 100 people had gathered on Center Street about 6:30 p.m. Monday to protest. The event remained peaceful until about 8:40 p.m. when the shooting and a hit-and-run were reported.
Zoomed in and slowed down video of the anti-police militant firing a handgun into the vehicle as it attempted to escape the mob. pic.twitter.com/qsAIb24NG2
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 30, 2020
The video shows what appears to be a man with his face concealed pointing a handgun at the SUV on the passenger side of the vehicle. The “popping” sound of shots being fired can be heard in the video.
The driver accelerated away and the protester who fired the shot once again opened fire, Provo Police said on Twitter. The second shot went through the rear passenger window of the SUV.
Provo City Police were made aware of a planned Police Rally and a Counter protest scheduled for last night. Both events coincided without incident until 8:38 pm when a call was received regarding possible gun shots and a hit and run. pic.twitter.com/zVTUCCQm2T
— Provo Police (@ProvoPolice) June 30, 2020
Protestors continued to march after the shooting to the Provo Police Department and were greeted by police officers in riot gear. By 10 pm one of the organizers of the protest told everyone to go home and everyone dispersed.
Hootie Hennessey, who was present and recorded some of the protest, said he supports the BLM movement but was confused about the motives of those who acted violently. “There is inequality, but the way that the group yesterday goes about inciting change isn’t going to bring the change that they expect,” Hennessey said.
Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi denounced the violence today, by saying, “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 Provo Police Department said in a statement, “We are grateful for the photos and videos we’ve received and we are following all leads. If anyone has video or photos of the incident at Center Street and University Avenue, please contact detective Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org”.