PORTLAND, Maine — Fireworks were reportedly discharged at Portland police officers who were seeking to help a person suffering an alleged assault and gunshot injury at Kennedy Park on Monday.
Officers called to a reported shooting in the neighborhood at about 11 p.m. found the man on the ground being "assaulted by one or more people," Maj. Robert Martin said in a release Tuesday.
As officers treated the injured man, a crowd formed and became hostile toward officers, Martin said, and fireworks were reportedly fired at the officers.
"The attacks continued as investigators remained on scene for the next several hours. Officers were forced to deploy pepper balls into the groups that were targeting officers with mortar-style fireworks," Martin said. "Several officers were struck with sparks from the fireworks that were intentionally aimed at them."
No serious injuries were reported among the officers. Police did not initially indicate whether there were other injuries.
A spokesperson with the Portland Police Department also said that many of those involved in the fireworks incident do not live in the neighborhood.
According to the release, this is the second consecutive year in which officers who were responding to a "weapons call" were reportedly attacked with fireworks at Kennedy Park over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The gunshot victim, 35-year-old Bashir Hassan of Portland, was in fair condition Tuesday morning at Maine Medical Center.
No suspects had been arrested or identified as of 11 a.m. Tuesday.
One resident said she just moved nearby to Kennedy Park last week and recounted what she heard.
"There were a lot of people walking around, and then later that evening we were just watching TV, we didn't really hear much, but heard a lot of what sounded like fireworks and screams," Natalie Freheit said. "We just moved in. Kind of scary, but we're fine."
Another nearby resident said she left her home near where the incident happened to see for herself what was happening.
"I walked down that way and they were throwing fireworks at everybody, they were just shooting them at each other. I think on the Fourth of July they should have somebody down in this area to stop it," Sissy Winslow said.
The incident is under investigation. Portland police ask that anyone with information about the incident call them at 207-874-8575.
Police said there is no threat to the public at this time.