Armed BLM Protesters Traveling Cross-Country To D.C. Spark Gunfire Clashes In Pennsylvania
Bedford — One shot as group, residents clash
State police respond to second report of gunfire
Aug 26, 2020
gbock _ at_ altoonamirror _dawt_ com
BEDFORD — After a shooting late Monday night in Schellsburg that injured a community activist, tensions between the group and Bedford County residents bubbled over again late Tuesday night as state police responded to gunfire at a motel where the activist group was staying.
State police spokesman Trooper Joseph Dunsmore confirmed that troopers were investigating a second incident involving the group of about 30 people making a trek from Milwaukee, Wis., to Washington, D.C., on foot and in vehicles to raise awareness of police and racial issues.
"We are handling it as two separate incidents," Dunsmore said of the gunfire in the parking lot of the motel Tuesday night. Information about two pickup trucks and a motorcycle that could be involved was heard in scanner chatter Tuesday night and Dunsmore confirmed those vehicles were thought to be involved.
No one was injured in that incident, unlike the incident on Route 30 in Schellsburg in Juniata Township, Bedford County, late Monday night where one person was taken to a hospital after getting shot in the face with birdshot from a shotgun.
Questions remain after a late night confrontation between property owners on the 800 block of Lincoln Highway about 11:30 p.m. Monday.
State police and Bedford County District Attorney Leslie Childers-Potts said Tuesday afternoon investigators were working to find out what happened.
"All we know is there was an exchange of gunfire between the two partiers involved," Bedford state police Captain Jamie Clark told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
State police indicated the Bedford station was contacted by property owners about 11:18 p.m. Monday about a group of people in the parking lot of a private business.
It was the group of activists from Milwaukee, which was walking to Washington, D.C. About 11:35 p.m., before state police arrived, the property owners confronted the group.
State police said the situation escalated and gun shots were exchanged between the property owners and the group, with one of the activists getting hit with bird shot from a shotgun.
"I don't have details," Clark said Tuesday. "They were asked to leave and they didn't leave. We're still looking at who fired the shots, to be honest."
Clark said with the large group of people, investigators were still trying to determine who, if anyone, in that group exchanged gunfire.
A shotgun and shotgun shells were recovered at the scene along with a 9 mm handgun and shell casings, Clark said.
Later on Tuesday, state police clarified through a spokesman that there was evidence to suggest both parties fired upon each other.
A 28 minute, 52 second video posted on Facebook by Frank Sensabaugh, a Milwaukee community activist who also goes by the name of Frank Nitty, showed the group stopping along the roadway to rest for several minutes before what sounded like gunfire could be heard as they were preparing to continue their march.
According to previous media reports and the Frank Nitty Facebook posts, the march began in early August with the anticipated arrival in Washington, D.C., to coincide with the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream Speech" on Aug. 28.
At the 23:02 mark of the video, a gunshot can be heard. A few seconds later, there are two more shots as Sensabaugh can be heard telling people to get in their cars.
As the activists are getting into their vehicles, over the next minute, the camera swings to show two men standing at the edge of the driveway, one who is is shirtless. The man in a shirt appears to be holding a rifle and they are yelling at the group.
"This dude's shooting at us," Sensabaugh can be heard saying just before there are three more gunshots and he again urges everyone to get in their vehicles.
At 24:55 seconds into the video, a woman in a vehicle with Sensabaugh appears to ask, "Where the f— is my gun at?"
The activist who was shot then gets into the vehicle and says he was shot in the face. At the 25:47 mark, he appears to say, "He shot me with the buckshot. I hit him, too."
Lt. William Slaton of the state police Heritage Affairs Section said Tuesday that everyone who had been detained by troopers after the incident had been released and any charges would depend on a review by the district attorney once troopers concluded the investigation.
No one had been charged, but Slaton said that didn't rule out charges being filed against people in both parties as the investigation continues.
Childers-Potts said she wasn't willing to speculate and put any part of the investigation in jeopardy.
"There's still a tremendous amount of information that the Pennsylvania State Police are recovering and attempting to analyze as quickly as possible, and a determination won't be made until they've had an opportunity to finish the investigation in a thorough fashion," Childers-Potts said.
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