Police are investigating two deaths that occurred at "Occupy" encampments in California and Vermont on Thursday.
According to The Associated Press, Oakland, Calif., police Chief Howard Jordan said that open gunfire resulted in the death of one man near the "Occupy Oakland" site, and after a preliminary investigation it appears that it resulted from a fight between two groups of men.
However, an Occupy Oakland organizer told the news agency that the man shot and those involved in the fight were not involved in the protest, as he did not recognize them.
"The person on the ground was not part of the occupation. I can verify that," said Shake Anderson. "This is a street incident. It happens all the time."
In addition, Burlington, Va., police reported that a 35-year-old military veteran fatally shot himself in the head in a tent at an "Occupy" site. The man's name has not been released because not all family members have yet been notified.
The recent violent outbursts have protesters and police alike fearful for their own safety as well as the safety of the public.
"Our responsibility is to keep the public safe," said Deputy Chief in Burlington Andi Higbee. "When there is a discharge of a firearm in a public place like this it's good cause to be concerned, greatly concerned."
Additionally, in recent weeks, sexual assaults have been rampant in "Occupy Wall Street" encampments, leading protesters to create a "women's only" tent.
"They are in the lion's den, so it's not surprising that they are more susceptible to crimes," Sgt. Ed Mullens, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, told Fox News regarding the attacks.
One online commenter said she is not surprised that such violence is occurring at the "Occupy" sites.
"I am actually surprised that this has not happened sooner," said Lorri Greene. "Whether the people involved were with the Occupy group really does not matter. Where there is such frustration, as their is in this country at this time, there will be some form of aggression. It has happened since the beginning of recorded history."
Greene added, "However, the Occupy people are not to blame, nor are the Oakland police, who are probably as frustrated as the Occupy people...The real blame goes to the leadership of this country; the greed of the people on Wall Street and other places; the outsourcing of jobs; the creation of a huge division between the radical elements of both the democratic and republican parties and the mainstream media."