Gang shoot-out on SE Division Street

As bullets flew, citizens ducked for cover, and schools went into lockdown. Here’s what officials are saying about this most recent outbreak of gang violence …

A Portland Police Bureau detective interviews Johnny, the owner of the Perfect Touch Salon, immediately after the shooting broke out near his business.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Officials aren’t saying much about the latest East Portland gang shooting incident that broke out on September 23 at 11:58 a.m.

A regular customer at the Perfect Touch Salon, on SE Division Street at SE 79th Avenue, said she was having her hair done when the gunfire broke out.

“All of a sudden, we heard gunshots,” Diva Marie told us, after talking with police detectives. “We heard a bunch of shots.”

Portland Police Bureau criminialists check the area where the shooter was reported to have stood, at the corner of SE Division Street at SE 79th Avenue.

With all of these shell casings, police had lots of evidence to examine – but no suspect yet in hand.

A police criminialist placed this evidence marker next to where a gun shell came to rest after the shooting.

Johnny, the salon’s owner, told everyone to duck down, because he saw someone standing near the Division Street Market, shooting off rounds in the direction of the salon, Marie continued.

“When we got up, we saw the guy take off – the shooter and about six other guys. They were running and getting into cars,” Marie added. “We locked our doors right away.”

Although there has been some gang violence in the area, Marie said she’s never personally seen “other scary stuff” going on around there.

The evidence stickers “C” and “D”, stuck to the metal bands, mark where bullets struck this utility pole.

Another gang-related shooting
Officers on scene told East Portland News that, while they couldn’t confirm it, they believed this to be another gang-related shooting. The shooter observed by the beauty salon patrons was standing on the southeast corner of SE 79th Avenue and SE Division Street, by the Division Street Market. He was shooting toward the west-southwest from that point, at a house thought to be occupied by rival gang members.

Bullets hit a car, the telephone pole, and the garage door of a house.

“There was no shooting victim in this case,” confirmed Portland Police Bureau spokesperson, Detective Mary Wheat. “We do believe there is gang involvement. Members of our Gang Unit are following up on leads.”

This bullet fragment fell to the sidewalk after hitting the utility pole, investigators believe.

School in lock-down
At 3:15 p.m., Matt Shelby of the Portland Public Schools Communications Department put out a bulletin: “Because of police activity in the neighborhood, Bridger K-8 School is requiring students who normally walk home to be picked up by an adult. Students will be in the cafeteria and gym, and may be picked up at the west end of the school.”

At deadline, no suspects have been arrested; this case is still under investigation

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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