Scuffle leads to stabbing death in Lents

Police aren’t saying much about this incident, but those who witnessed the scene described how a man’s life ended in the Lents neighborhood …

On the second story of these outer East Portland apartments, a fight leads to a man being killed.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The life of 53-year-old Brian Elliot Bruns ended traumatically about 8:30 p.m. on May 16 on the second story walkway of a small apartment complex located on the northeast corner of SE 99th Avenue at Holgate Boulevard.

“I heard scuffling and noises like people fighting outside,” said Max Gilbert, who said he was visiting a friend at the apartments that evening.

“I looked up, and saw a woman who looked like she was trying to pull a spear, or some kind of rod, out of a man’s neck – and, what ever it was, it was long,” Gilbert told East Portland News while standing in a cold, spring rain shower.

Officers step carefully, avoiding contaminating any evidence, at the doorway of the apartment where a murder took place.

This officer talks with a resident in the building next to the crime scene.

Resident Michelle Burge told reporters that she, too, heard the scuffle, and came out to find Bruns lying in a growing “puddle of blood”, and did her best to comfort him as his life slipped away.

What was dispatched as a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) “Priority Disturbance” call quickly turned into a murder investigation after East Precinct officers arrived at the scene, soon followed by Homicide Division detectives and Forensics Division specialists.

The PPB Mobile Precinct arrives, providing a office in which police can work while staying out of the rain.

This PPB Forensics Division photographer documents evidence at the scene.

The next afternoon, PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson announced that the Oregon State Medical Examiner had determined that Bruns died of “homicidal violence/stab wounds”.

“Detectives are not releasing any additional information about the nature of the injuries or weapon used in the stabbing,” Simpson said

Thanks to tips sent in regarding the murder of 53-year-old Brian Elliot Bruns, a suspect is now in custody.

Saying there is “probable cause” for being culpable in this murder, law enforcement officers arrest 38-year-old Michael Allen Shipley.

The afternoon of March 18, the US Marshal Oregon Fugitive Task Force arrested 38-year-old Michael Allen Shipley on probable cause for murder in connection with the Bruns’ death, Simpson said.

Shipley was booked into Multnomah County Detention Center at 7:39 p.m. that evening on one count of Murder and two outstanding arrest warrants, and is being held without bail as a Fugitive.

“Detectives are continuing to seek information from potential witnesses,” Simpson said. “Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact Detective Mark Slater at 503-823-9319, mark.slater@portlandoregon.gov; or, Detective Erik Kammerer at 503-823-0762, erik.kammerer@portlandoregon.gov.”

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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