Cops quiz quartet of suspected gangsters in Lents shooting

The only real victim of the gunfire appeared to be a car parked in a driveway. But, the number of bullet shell casings found at the site raises many questions. Read all about it, and see our exclusive photos, right here …

When shots rang out here on SE Ellis Street in the Lents neighborhood, neighbors called for police immediately.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Minutes until midnight on February 11, on a quiet street in the Lents neighborhood, half a dozen shots rang out.

Startled neighbors called the 9-1-1 Center and reported the gunfire at 11:44 p.m. According to police records, the callers said they heard six or eight shots, and saw four individuals speeding away from the intersection of SE 88th Avenue and SE Ellis Street, toward Lents Park.

“The neighbor who reported the incident gave a good description of the individuals, and the vehicle in which they fled the scene,” reported Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Captain William Walker. “Police dispatch relayed that information to our officers on patrol.”

That notification paid off moment later, Walker told us, when an alert East Precinct officer spotted a white car – with four occupants – that matched the description that was broadcast. “They spotted the car, turning off SE Powell Boulevard onto southbound I-205, and immediately called for backup officers to make a ‘high-risk stop’ on the suspect vehicle.”

Many officers gather to make a “felony stop”, on I-205 south of SE Foster Road, of the vehicle said to be carrying four individuals – one of them an alleged gunman.

For the safety of the officers – and those driving past a car carrying potentially armed individuals – police shut down the freeway to make the stop. Freeway traffic quickly stacked up to the Gateway area; some frustrated drivers made illegal U-turns and exited up the SE Foster Road on ramp.

It wasn’t much of a chase; as we traveled northbound on the freeway, we saw the white vehicle stopped and suspects standing near it – surrounded by officers – on the southbound side, about halfway between the SE Foster Road and SE Johnson Creek Boulevard interchanges, at the SE 92nd Avenue overpass.

Having taken the suspects into custody, the officers reopened two southbound lanes of the freeway.

At the scene of the shooting, officers had already placed evidence markers where the spent shell casings lay on the ground. “As far as we can tell, no one was injured in the shooting,” Walker commented.

This car’s windows were shot out in the incident. The motive for this vehicular assault remains a mystery.

It was clear that the vehicle involved was struck by at least one bullet; the front and passenger side window was completely shot out, the back window was mostly blown out and the rear window of the vehicle appeared shattered.

“We do have four individuals in custody,” Walker reported. “They were transported, to be interviewed, last night. The Gang Enforcement Team will be conducting the followup investigation.  Charges may be pending, based on the outcome of the investigation. The suspects’ identities haven’t yet been released.”

Evidence markers show where multiple spent bullet casings hit the ground, as the gunman peppered a car with gunfire.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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