'Hostile' crowd attacked police as they tried to save gunshot victim, Maine cops say

  • In US
  • 2022-07-06 13:30:50Z
  • By Miami Herald

Police officers working to save a wounded man came under attack from a "hostile" crowd armed with "mortar-style fireworks" on the Fourth of July, according to the Portland Maine Police Department.

It happened around 11 p.m. near Kennedy Park when officers responded to reports of a gunshot victim "being physically assaulted by one or more people" as he lay on the ground, police said in a news release.

"Officers ... used trauma dressings and other supplies from their medical kits to provide immediate life saving treatment to the victim until medics from the Portland Fire Department arrived," police said.

"The crowd that had formed became hostile toward officers as they rendered aid to the victim. ... As officers were containing the crime scene, they came under attack from a group that discharged fireworks at officers."

The 35-year-old victim was taken to Maine Medical Center for treatment, but investigators who remained at the crime scene say the attacks on officers continued "for the next several hours."

"Several officers were struck with sparks from the fireworks that were intentionally aimed at them. We are fortunate that officers did not receive any serious injuries," police said.

Police eventually responded by firing pepper balls, a non-lethal "projectile deployed with a launcher similar to a paintball marker," police said. The balls have "an irritating effect on the eyes and respiratory system if it is inhaled," experts say.

The department did not release details of any arrests or offer a size estimate for the "hostile" crowd. However, police said "dozens of innocent bystanders" were also at the scene and were targeted by fireworks.

It is the second Fourth of July "officers were attacked with fireworks while responding to a weapons call near Kennedy Park," police said.

The gunshot victim, Bashir Hassan of Portland, was listed in stable condition, police said. Investigators have not identified a suspect in the shooting.

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