At Saturday's protest in Elizabethtown, a couple dozen people — including shop owners and militia members, one of whom was on a roof, armed — wore strips of chartreuse green tape. Tape also marked at least a half-dozen shops.
The tape - and two armed men on a building rooftop - has raised concerns and questions: What did the tape mean? Who put armed men on the roof of the buildings housing 1 and 3 South Market Street?
Jeri Culbertson owns Naturally Gifted by Jeri, which is located in one of the buildings where armed men were on the roof.
She was wearing a strip of tape on the front of her T-shirt Saturday; she said it was as a way to show solidarity and unify small businesses.
And, standing outside her shop Saturday, she said if some kind of violent incident had occurred, the tape marked those wearing it as concerned citizens who would be able to help anyone in distress to be "sure they were taken care of."
Wednesday, she declined to say who put the security plan in place, but said she'd pass on a reporter's contact to the person.
Police Chief Edward Cunningham said he's also trying to get answers, but stopped short of saying he was conducting an investigation, noting there's no evidence any crime was committed.
Cunningham said he became aware Friday night that a few businesses planned to have security inside their shops.
“I asked that there be some sort of a signal so that my officers would know who these security persons would be. It was supposed to be a very discrete signal that no one would know about except those who absolutely needed to know," Cunningham said.
Cunningham declined to say what businesses were involved.
LNP | LancasterOnline called a number of downtown businesses, but couldn't get answers or messages returned.
One of the militia groups, Carlisle Light Infantry, had about a half-dozen people present.
Cunningham, in an email, said: "I did not invite them, I did not 'approve' their plans, and I did not know that the Carlisle Light Infantry was going to be in elevated positions until I saw them there."
He said he was aware, from Facebook posts, that a group called the Domestic Terrorism Response Organization might be attending.
A closed Facebook named DTRO and described as “Domestic Terrorism Response Organization” was created on June 2. It was renamed from a group formed June 1 called “Anti ANTIFA.” The moderator of the group is a man whose Facebook profile said he lives in Elizabethtown. Efforts to reach a member of that group have been unsuccessful.
A man who would only identify himself as Jay, a 30-year-old Elizabethtown resident, told a reporter on Saturday he was with the group and that it had approximately 300 members in central Pennsylvania. The closed DTRO Facebook page shows 314 members.
Councilman Bill Troutman said he also wants answers.
“My issue is, who put those people on the roof," Troutman said Wednesday, describing the two men as carrying .223- and .308 caliber-semi-automatic rifles. Troutman said he's a certified National Rifle Association firearms instructor and has probably taught 10,000 people firearms usage.
"If (shop owners) really needed security, there are at least a dozen companies in the area that are bonded and insured," Troutman said.
Niels Norby Jr. is a member of Carlisle Light Infantry and was one of the men on the roof. “I was there to protect everybody" - store owners, police and protesters, he said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Norby wouldn't say who brought his group in, but said he and the others were there as volunteers and weren't paid. They were brought in, he said, because of a concern that outside groups could come in a cause trouble.
The other armed man on the roof wasn't with his group, he said, and he did not know who he was, other than he said he was a local business owner.
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Carlisle Light Infantry as an antigovernment group.
Norby, of Gettysburg, disputes that.
“Across the nation, just about every single militia group is on that list. We didn't do anything to put ourselves on that list," he said.
He said his group has asked the SPLC to remove it, but "They don't want to listen to us."
"I'm not anti-government. I don't want to overthrow the government," he said.
LNP reporters Paula Knudsen and Gillian McGoldrick contributed.