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Armed, White and Dangerous: Search Is on for 3 Suspects In Shooting of #BlackLivesMatter Protesters In Minneapolis

Members of Black Lives Matter continue their encampment outside the Minneapolis Police Department's Fourth Precinct after the shooting death of Jamar Clark by a police officer. (Jim Mone / Associated Press)

Members of Black Lives Matter continue their encampment outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct after the shooting death of Jamar Clark by a police officer. (Jim Mone / Associated Press)

Violence erupted in Minneapolis late Monday night, as three white supremacists, armed, masked and wearing bullet proof vests, reportedly opened fire on a crowd of #BlackLivesMatter protesters near a police precinct. Five protesters were shot at the site of a protest for Jamar Clark, 24, who was shot to death by police. The shooting occurred near an alley a block away from the 4th Precinct police station, where Black protesters have been staging a sit-in since the November 15 Clark shooting.

Miski Noor of Black Lives Matter said, “a group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights.” Noor told the New York Times that “shady” men appeared at the demonstrations since Friday, and the individuals were filming protesters and refusing to answer questions concerning why they were present. The protesters escorted the masked white men away from the site of the rally. When they reached a dark area, the men turned around, opened fire and fled. The victims were hospitalized and the injuries were not life threatening, according to the Associated Press. One victim was shot in the stomach and underwent surgery on Tuesday.

Authorities for several agencies were reportedly meeting to determine whether to treat the attack as a hate crime, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“Like all Minnesotans, I was horrified to learn about the shooting of five people outside the Fourth Precinct last night,” said Sen. Al Franken. “I understand that a search for the shooters is currently underway, and I join residents of the North Side in demanding that they be brought to justice. In the meantime, my thoughts are with Jamar Clark’s family and the injured.”

“I am obviously appalled that white supremacists would open fire on nonviolent, peaceful protesters,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, who returned to the location after the shooting.

“Thank you to the community for the incredible support you have shown for our family in this difficult time,” said Eddie Sutton, Jamar’s Clark’s brother, in a statement responding to the shooting. “We appreciate Black Lives Matter for holding it down and keeping the protests peaceful. But in light of tonight’s shootings, the family feels out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers, we must get the occupation of the 4th precinct ended and onto the next step.”

People have taken to Twitter to express their sentiments over the attack, criticism over responses from police and local officials.

In recent days, the Minneapolis mayor, police chief and other city officials have expressed concern that a few Black protesters allegedly threw rocks bottles and bricks at demonstrations. Yet, armed men manage to flee the scene of a shooting near a police station, and police sit around rather than engage in a manhunt for the terrorists.  Meanwhile, as government officials express their concern about responses by members of the Black community to acts of police brutality, and others refuse to accept Syrian refugees for fear of ISIS, one elected official is concerned about the real threat facing America.

Dallas Mayor Mile Rawlings told MSNBC he is more fearful of armed white men, the rise of white supremacy and mass shootings than refugees fleeing civil war in Syria.

“I am more fearful of large gatherings of white men that come into schools, theaters and shoot people up, but we don’t isolate young white men on this issue,” Rawlings said, as was reported by Think Progress. “ISIS is no more Islamic than Nazi senior staff was Christian.”

Rawlings also mentioned Christian governors who have turned away refugees and failed to follow Jesus’ call to “welcome the stranger” in the Bible, asking, “Christ following people like myself — how do we deal with this issue of strangers, and are we going to let them in?”

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