The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Few of the deaths linked to recent protests are known to have been caused by demonstrators

Rhetoric from Trump and conservative media paints a different picture

Pennsylvania State Police officers are seen ahead of a Trump campaign stop on Aug. 20 in Old Forge, Pa. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

When President Trump first addressed a surge in protests in late May and the looting and violence that often followed, he offered stark words about the damage being wrought.

“A police precinct has been overrun here in the nation’s capital. The Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial have been vandalized. One of our most historic churches was set ablaze. A federal officer in California, an African American enforcement hero, was shot and killed,” Trump said. “These are not acts of peaceful protests. These are acts of domestic terror.”

On at least that last point, Trump was apparently correct. The death of Federal Protective Services Officer David Underwood in Oakland, Calif., was not at the hands of Black Lives Matter protesters or of looters who were taking advantage of the unrest. Rather, Underwood’s death on May 29 came after he was allegedly shot by Steven Carrillo, an Air Force staff sergeant who claimed to be acting as part of a far-right movement aimed at sowing chaos and discord. Carrillo was associated with the “boogaloo” movement, which hopes to spur a second American Civil War. The act, in other words, was much closer to “domestic terror” than the vandalization of the Lincoln Memorial.

A review of 27 deaths linked to either protests or subsequent violence since late May indicates that those ultimately alleged to be culpable, in cases where a suspect or perpetrator were identified, were almost never actually part of the protest movement.

That same phenomenon played out this week. After unrest erupted in Kenosha, Wis., following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police, two people were fatally shot and one wounded Tuesday during a chaotic night of demonstrations.

On Wednesday, police arrested the alleged gunman, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse. The shooting came as self-­declared militia members and armed counterprotesters have appeared in the city, though authorities have said they do not know for certain whether Rittenhouse was acting as a member of a self-proclaimed militia. The names of the victims have not been released.

Given the confusion that surrounds protests and incidents of looting, it can be hard to identify occasions in which deaths are directly linked to involvement in general unrest. A number of deaths identified as linked to protests soon after the events occurred turned out to be unrelated — acts that could callously be called everyday violence.

Below, the 24 other deaths we identified, along with any identified suspects in the case and the circumstances in which the deaths occurred.

Calvin Horton Jr. Shot on May 27 in Minneapolis. John Rieple, the owner of a pawnshop being targeted by looters, allegedly fired his shotgun at the group. It is not clear whether Horton was participating in the looting. Rieple has not been charged.

Chris Beaty. Shot on May 30 in Indianapolis. Beaty was shot by an unknown assailant in an attack that was linked to nearby protests, but it is not clear whether that was the case.

Dorian Murrell. Shot on May 30 in Indianapolis. Tyler Newby claims that he shot Murrell in self-defense after an altercation with a group of people near a protest. Newby has been charged with murder.

James Scurlock. Shot on May 30 in Omaha. Bar owner Jacob Gardner also claims to have been acting in self-defense when he shot Scurlock as looting was underway nearby. A nearby witness claims that he heard Gardner and Gardner’s father confronting people passing by using racially loaded and racist taunts. Gardner has not been charged.

Marvin Francois. Shot on May 31 in Kansas City, Mo. Francois was shot by an unknown assailant as he was picking up his son from a protest.

John Tiggs. Shot on May 31 in Chicago. Tiggs was shot by an unidentified assailant as he was entering a store which had been looted. Two people arrested shortly after Tiggs’s death were later released.

Myqwon Blanchard. Shot on May 31 in Riverside, Ill. Blanchard was shot by an unknown assailant in an incident apparently unrelated to protests.

David McAtee. Shot on June 1 in Louisville. McAtee, who ran a popular barbecue store, was shot and killed by members of the National Guard after he apparently fired at them with a handgun.

Italia Kelly. Shot on June 1 in Davenport, Iowa. Kelly was allegedly shot by Parker Belz, who Kelly’s family says had previously made threats against her and her sister. The shooting was apparently unrelated to a protest Kelly was attending. Belz has been charged with murder.

Marquis Tousant. Shot on June 1 in Davenport, Iowa. Tousant was shot by an unknown shooter near a protest.

Jorge Gomez. Shot on June 1 in Las Vegas. Police shot and killed Gomez after he allegedly aimed a firearm at them. Gomez’s family plans to file a federal lawsuit.

Jose Gutierrez. Shot on June 1 in Cicero, Ill. Zion Haygood allegedly was not aiming at Gutierrez when Gutierrez was struck and killed near an area where looting was underway. Haygood was charged with murder.

Victor Cazares Jr. Shot on June 1 in Cicero, Ill. Cazares was shot and killed by an unidentified gunman.

David Dorn. Shot on June 2 in St. Louis. Dorn, a retired police officer, was allegedly shot and killed by Stephan Cannon as Dorn was responding to an alarm at a friend’s business in an area where looting was happening. Cannon has been charged with murder.

Unknown. Shot on June 2 in Philadelphia. An unidentified man was shot and killed by Greg Isabella, the owner of a gun store that was being broken into during looting. Isabella has not been charged and police did not identify the man.

Sean Monterrosa. Shot on June 2 in Vallejo, Calif. Monterrosa was shot and killed by police after he was stopped near a protest. Monterrosa, who was kneeling at the time he was shot, was carrying a tool that an officer mistook for a gun. Monterrosa’s family has filed suit.

Javar Harrell. Shot on June 5 in Detroit. Harrell was allegedly shot and killed by Tyjon Hites in an incident apparently unrelated to ongoing protests. Hites has been charged with murder.

Robert Forbes. Run over on June 7 in Bakersfield, Calif. Forbes was struck by a vehicle and killed during a protest on a highway. The driver, Kieth Moore, was not charged.

Horace Anderson. Shot on June 20 in Seattle. Marcel Long allegedly shot and killed Anderson in the autonomous protest zone established in Seattle in June. Long has been charged with murder; the incident was apparently not connected to the protests.

Tyler Gerth. Shot on June 27 in Louisville. Gerth was allegedly shot and killed by Steven Nelson Lopez during a protest focused on the killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville police. The shooting occurred during a protest but was reportedly a function of Lopez’s mental illness. Lopez was charged with murder.

Antonio Mays Jr. Shot on June 29 in Seattle. Mays was shot by an unknown shooter in the Seattle autonomous zone. Videos later suggested that people at the scene removed evidence before police arrived.

Summer Taylor. Run over on July 3 in Seattle. Taylor was struck and killed by a car driven by Dawit Kelete. Kelete was charged with vehicular homicide, though the incident appears to have been an accident.

Secoriea Turner. Shot on July 4 in Atlanta. Turner, an 8-year-old girl, was killed when a vehicle in which she was riding was fired upon by a group of people who had set up a roadblock near the site of an earlier police shooting. Julian Conley was charged with murder but maintains his innocence.

Garrett Foster. Shot on July 25 in Austin. Foster was shot and killed by Daniel Perry, an Army sergeant. Perry alleges that he only fired at Foster, who was also armed, in self-defense. Witnesses at the scene question Perry’s account and, when Trump in June tweeted a muted threat against potential protesters at his rally in Tulsa, Perry replied, “Send them to Texas we will show them why we say don’t mess with Texas.” Perry has not been arrested.

We did not include incidents in which shooting victims survived, such as when Las Vegas police officer Shay Mikalonis was shot on June 1. (Police were responding to that shooting when they encountered Jorge Gomez.)

In a speech focused on police accountability two weeks later, Trump mentioned Mikalonis, though not by name.

“In recent days, two members of law enforcement were killed amid riots and looting, and hundreds of police officers were injured just recently,” Trump said. “One officer was shot in the head and is now laying in a hospital, almost totally paralyzed.”

The implication is clear: The protesters bear the blame.

Mikalonis was allegedly shot by Edgar Samaniego, who was staying in a room at a TraveLodge near protests when he allegedly fired at Mikalonis. Samaniego has been charged with attempted murder. According to his arrest report, he was not part of the protest.