Mystery surrounds bullet-ridden death of a 19-year-old man in Madison South neighborhood

You’ll be amazed at how many police evidence markers were strewn around the scene of this deadly crime. Learn why neighbors now say they’re scared of what may happen this summer when the weather clears …

NE Sacramento Street, east of SE 82nd Avenue, is closed, as police investigate the shooting death of a young man.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In the wee hours of Sunday, April 10, Madison South neighborhood resident Earlene Kent said she was awaked by what she thought were the sounds of fireworks.

“It was loud – first some smaller pops, then some really big, throaty-sounding ‘boom’s,” Kent told us as she waited to be escorted back to her home after walking out for groceries. Portland Police Bureau (PPB) detectives, officers and command staff had cordoned off NE Sacramento Street, from NE 84th Avenue east to NE 88th Avenue.

“It was like, ‘pop, pop, pop’ and ‘bang, bang, bang’,” Kent continued. “The way they were going off, I realized this was guns, not firecrackers. It seems like there were twenty or thirty shots. I think our house got hit a couple of times, but we haven’t been able to go out to look, and no one [in the house] was hurt.”

As the sun comes up, detectives and criminalists surge into the area for evidence. Apparently, there’s a large amount of evidence to be cataloged.

Indeed, neighbors did hear the sound of gunfire – and a young man lay bleeding to death on the sidewalk at NE 86th Ave and Sacramento Street.

“We heard at least one car hitting the gas and driving away,” Kent added. “We didn’t look outside; we did call 9-1-1. I looked at the clock; it was a little after 1:00 a.m.”

Evidence Marker #43 shows the location of a fallen spent bullet cartridge on NE 86th Avenue, just south of NE Brazee Street – one of many in the area.

Apparently, according to official records, many neighbors in this working-class neighborhood – in which, according to City of Portland records, there are many rentals or homes that have been foreclosed – called the 9-1-1 Center to report the shooting.

“Medical personnel responded to the scene ,and determined that the victim was deceased,” confirmed PPB Public Information Officer Pete Simpson. “The victim appears to be a young male adult. Some area houses sustained damage from gunfire, but there do not appear to be any other victims.”

In the distance, a criminalist takes photograph evidence. The number of evidence markers in the foreground is astounding.

Neighbors are kept in – or out of – their homes along NE Sacramento Street, as detectives gather evidence.

As officers cordoned off the crime scene, the PPB Mobile Precinct came into the area to serve as the investigation’s headquarters.

Throughout the night, and well into the daylight hours, homicide detectives and criminalists from the PPB Forensic Evidence Division carefully looked for evidence, and started putting out yellow evidence markers as they began their investigation into the deadly crime.

“Investigators cannot yet say if the shooting is gang-related or not, and no suspects have been identified or arrested,” Simpson told us, early on in the investigation.

Police say this man, 19-year-old Mario Alexander Marin, was found dead, after neighbors reported hearing numerous gunshots. Oregon DMV photo, courtesy of PPB

The following day, the shooting victim was identified as 19-year-old Mario Alexander Marin of Gresham. “The Oregon State Medical Examiner is performing an autopsy later today to determine the exact cause of death,” Simpson updated.

Detectives are now asking for the public’s help in locating a vehicle that was described by witnesses as leaving the area after the shooting. “The vehicle is described as a light tan or silver 4-door, unknown make or model,” reported Simpson. “Detectives do not know if this is a suspect or witness vehicle, but would like information from anyone who knows more about this car.”
Either to protect the case they are building, or because they simply don’t know, detectives are holding off saying whether or not they believe that this was a gang-related shooting.

Neighbors say they wonder if violence like this will pick up during the summer months, or if this is an isolated incident.

“I’ll tell you what I do know,” Kent concluded. “This neighborhood is changing, and not for the better. It’s a nice neighborhood during the day, but things really change at night. There can be a lot of traffic cruising to the area, and ‘not the good kind’. I’m really worried that things are going to get bad this summer when all the kids are out late.”

Have information on this case? If so, call PPB Detective Chris Traynor at (503) 823-0449 or Detective Steve Ober at (503) 823-4033.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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