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Two dead as gunfire erupts at Wisconsin protests over police shooting

Gunfire after tear gas and rubber bullets seemed to subdue crowds protesting against police shooting of a black man in Wisconsin

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN: A third night of street protests over the shooting of Mr Jacob Blake Jr by US police erupted into gun violence late on Tuesday and early yesterday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing two people and wounding one.

Social media videos showed chaotic scenes of people running and screaming amid a volley of gunfire and others tending to gunshot wounds. It is unclear who the shooters were.

The bloodshed followed a night of skirmishes that had appeared to turn calm after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who defied a curfew.

The shooting broke out shortly before midnight, killing two people and wounding a third who was expected to survive, the Kenosha Police Department said in a statement.

Meanwhile, more details have emerged about the shooting of Mr Blake Jr.

The father of six was struck from behind in a hail of bullets fired on Sunday by police who were following him with guns drawn as he walked away from the officers to his car.

Three of his young sons inside the car - aged three, five and eight - witnessed their father being gunned down, according to civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who represents the Blake family.

Mr Blake, who had been attempting to break up a quarrel between two women, was struck by four of seven gunshots fired at him, all by one officer, and there was "no indication he was armed", Mr Crump said in an ABC News interview on Tuesday. The police have not explained why he was shot.

ANGUISH

At a news conference, Mr Blake's parents voiced anguish over the shooting while decrying two previous nights of looting, vandalism and arson.

"They shot my son seven times. Seven times! Like he didn't matter," Mr Jacob Blake Sr, trembling with emotion, told reporters.

"My son matters. He's a human being and he matters."

Ms Julia Jackson, Mr Blake's mother, said her son "has been fighting for his life", but called for unity, saying she was praying for police officers.

She also said her son would disapprove of damage done to the city, declaring: "It doesn't reflect my son or my family."

Mr Crump and another lawyer for the family, Mr Patrick Salvi II, said bullets shattered some of Mr Blake's vertebrae, leaving him paralysed from the waist down - possibly permanently.

He also suffered gunshot wounds to his stomach and gastrointestinal tract, requiring surgeons to remove most of his colon and small intestine, and he sustained damage to his kidney, liver and one of his arms, they said.

"It's going to take a miracle for Jacob Blake Jr to ever walk again," Mr Crump said, adding that the family intended to bring a lawsuit "to hold wrongdoers accountable".

He said Mr Blake's three sons would likely suffer "psychological problems for the rest of their lives".

There were violent protests in Portland too.

Police there declared a gathering of hundreds of protesters outside City Hall a riot, ordering the crowd to disperse or face arrest.

Portland Police had late on Monday made 25 arrests as fires were lit at the offices of the police association. - REUTERS

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