Early morning scuffle ends in death, in SE Portland

While neighbors say they suspect they know why a 32-year-old man was murdered on SE 72nd Avenue and SE Powell Boulevard, officials remain silent about what that reason is. See what we’ve found out about this case, so far …

Police and investigator’s vehicles line SE Powell Boulevard at 72nd Avenue, as the homicide investigation begins.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
About three months after a woman was found shot to death in an apartment on SE Powell Boulevard at SE 72nd Avenue, yet another murder occurred nearby – in the early hours of December 2 – directly south, across the street, in a house.

> CLICK HERE to read about the August 28 murder.

The story started unfolding approximately 2:30 a.m. when a neighbor called 9-1-1 to report that she heard the loud sounds of a fracas coming from a nearby home.

“Uniformed officers entered the home and discovered a deceased male inside with blood on his body,” reported Portland Police Bureau spokesperson, Lt. Kelli Sheffer. “Officers called Homicide Detectives to the scene regarding this suspicious death.”

The Portland Police Bureau Mobile Precinct is parked on SE 72nd Avenue, as inside a nearby house investigators catalog evidence gathered in this murder case.

After the initial investigation, detectives determined that 32-year-old Randy Lee Willard had indeed died at the hands of another person. “Because of the nature of the situation, investigators sought and obtained a search warrant, before processing the scene. They got underway starting in the early afternoon hours,” said Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

A man, coming out of the 7-11 Store across the street with coffee in hand, said he’d awakened to the sound of emergency vehicles streaming into the area. “I didn’t know the man who they say was killed,” he said. “But, it seemed like a lot of people came and went from the house and stayed for a short time. Maybe they were just friends, or maybe he was involved in something else,” said the neighbor, who asked not to be identified.

Little is known about what when on, in this house – which is subdivided into at least two rental units.

Police haven’t taken anyone into custody. “But, it doesn’t appear this was a random attack,” Simpson later added.

Investigators are following up on leads in this investigation, but have not identified any suspects at this time, and although they say they suspect a motive, they haven’t revealed what it might be.

Folks on their way to work slow to goggle at the contingent of police gathered at SE Powell Boulevard at 72nd Avenue.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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