Bullets fly in two shooting incidents at an outer East Portland MAX station – in the same day

While there’s still no official word about the afternoon incident, find out why police think the evening shooting at the 122nd Avenue MAX Light Rail station may have been “gang” related – and who they accuse of firing off shots …

For what police say is the second time in one day, a MAX Light Rail platform is closed off with crime tape, due to a shooting incident.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A Hazelwood Neighborhood man tells his family members to “hit the floor and take cover” as shots ring out a block away about 9:30 p.m. on May 12 at the MAX Light Rail station at SE 122nd Avenue.

“I’d just gotten home from work,” says Timothy Whittle, “I heard, I think, about six gunshots. Then there was a pause. And then I hear another round of gunshots, about six of them.”

Nearby neighbor, Timothy Whittle, points out the “Walk” sign he believes was hit by gunfire.

It wasn’t firecrackers going off, Whittle says. “I’ve heard gunshots before; I knew what the sound was from. I told everyone in my house to get down, take cover and wait for police as I called 9-1-1. When it stopped, I came out and saw the chaos at the intersection, at the MAX station.”

Suspects that increase in crime is due to MAX line
Not a newcomer to the neighborhood, Whittle tells us his father has owned the house in which he lives for a couple of decades. “I’ve lived here for the past five. It’s progressively gotten worse and worse. I think the MAX line definitely has a lot to do with it.”

What concerns Whittle, he says, “There’s people here all hours, all day every day. Kids, women, children – it’s just insane what goes on here.”

Some preliminary information indicates a high-caliber gun was fired.

This pedestrian traffic control signal now sports what people in the area say is a bullet hole, made during the nighttime gang shooting incident.

“Just from the sound, I couldn’t tell how high power [the weapon] was. But I do know there is a bullet hole here in the ‘Walk’ sign,” says Whittle as he points up to a pedestrian traffic control signal – its metal casing now sporting what looks like a fresh bullet hole.

Officers on-scene tell us they checked inside the apartments on the southwest corner of E. Burnside Street and SE 122nd Avenue, looking for potential gunshot victims. A sergeant points out where a bullet penetrated the outer wall of an apartment unit, and one inner wall.

Officers arrived in the area, set-up a crime scene investigation, and located evidence suggesting several shots had been fired, confirms Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

An officer points to the apartment building where a stray bullet penetrated a window (lower right hand corner, enlarged in inset), across the street from the MAX platform.

“A caller reported that a round had gone through a window and three interior walls inside of their apartment,” reports Simpson, adding that no injuries were reported.

East Precinct officers then received a 911 call from a woman with the belief that her 16-year-old son, Terrence Andrews-Ramsey, was the intended victim, Simpson continues. “East Precinct officers then learned that two other young men might be involved – 20-year-old Sean Lee Tapio, and 21-year-old Tavaris Deontay Winchester.”

Officers and detectives from the Gang Enforcement Team respond, and take over the investigation.

PPB officers maintain the crime scene, and compare information gathered from physical evidence and witness statements.

With the help of the PPB Transit Division, investigating officers scan through video taken in the area and confirm that Terrence Andrews-Ramsey, Sean Tapio, and Tavaris Winchester had indeed been on the MAX platform talking to an unidentified black male victim who appeared older than the others, notes Simpson.

“A confrontation between the unidentified black male victim and the three young men followed,” says Simpson. “Andrews-Ramsey pulled a gun and pointed it at the unidentified black male victim. The unidentified black male victim and Andrews-Ramsey struggled over the gun and the gun was fired several times. Tapio also pulled a gun, but did not appear to fire any shots.”

Simpson adds, “The unidentified black male victim got away from the group, then appeared to pull out his own gun and fire several shots back at the group. At this point, investigators do not believe anyone was hit by the gunfire. Based on information learned at the scene by investigators, it is believed that this shooting is gang-related.”

Police arrested these men, 21-year-old Tavaris Deontay Winchester and 20-year-old Sean Lee Tapio, in connection with the MAX platform gang-related shooting incident. MCDC photos

Winchester was charged with a Probation Violation and booked into the Multnomah County Jail. Tapio was charged with a Probation Violation and being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm and booked into the Multnomah County Jail.

Andrews-Ramsey was charged with Attempted Murder and booked into the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home.

“The unidentified black male victim is still outstanding, and detectives would like to hear from anyone who has information regarding this shooting,” concludes Simpson. “Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Lori Goodwin at (503) 823-2079, and reference Portland Police Case #11-38816.”

Police remain on-scene late into the night as the investigation continues.

Not the day’s first shooting call at the station

During the afternoon of May 12, officers are reportedly called to the same MAX Light Rail platform – at 122nd Avenue – also on reports of shots being fired.

Because it happened before a PPB sergeant on-scene came on duty, the police command staff member doesn’t have details, and refers us to police headquarters. At this time, no further information is available on this incident.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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