Second SE Division Street shooting this week vexes Midway neighbors

For the second time in four days, late-night gunfire erupted on SE Division Street just east of SE 122nd Avenue. See what officials – and locals – say about this latest round of violence …

On early Sunday morning, gunfire caused patrons to scatter from what authorities say was an illegal, after-hours party at LaCueva Night Club on SE Division Street, just east of SE 122nd Avenue.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Both neighbors and business people are wondering about two late-night shooting sprees in the Midway area of outer East Portland, near the intersection of SE Division Street and 122nd Avenue.

At this time, officials aren’t saying whether or not the two shooting incidents, one in the wee hours of March 16 and the second just before midnight on March 20, are related. But, folks in the area say they’re concerned that this may indicate a dangerous trend.

Gunfire outside of LaCueva
At about 4:15 am, on March 16, Portland Police Bureau East Precinct officers were called to the area near the LaCueva Night Club – the most current name of a windowless party room that has been the location of many disturbances in the past.

“Several people called 911 to report that they heard gunshots,” said police spokesman Brian Schmautz. “Officers determined that participants in a nearby after-hours party appeared to have fired several shots at an unknown person or target.”

Hostile witnesses
Individuals at the scene were uncooperative and hostile towards the officers, Scnmautz reported. “Officers couldn’t find anyone who wanted to report a crime. The scene was processed and officers do not have a suspect in custody.”

Officers did see what appeared to be bullet holes in some vehicles and nearby buildings. ”This investigation is continuing,” pointed added Schmautz.

Police guard the back lot of the Maverick Restaurant and Lounge on SE Division Street after they find shell casings, and a gun – said to be used in the most recent shooting spree.

Shootout at the Maverick
Fast-forwarding just four days to Thursday night, March 20, at 11:30 p.m. – the relative quiet of the evening was shattered as seven shots rang out behind the Maverick Restaurant and Lounge, at 12424 SE Division Street.

“You bet I heard the shooting,” said the night manager (she declined to give her name) of the Taco Bell restaurant located east of the Maverick. “It was loud. I think I heard seven shots – pop, pop, pop! It scared me. Then, a dark-colored car took off.”

Shortly thereafter, the eyewitness said she saw people running, “and cops pulled up right away. They started looking at buildings – trying to find bullet holes, I think.”

Neighbors and business owners in the area say they’re concerned about the recent increase in violent crime.

Cop confronts gun-toting felon
Apparently, officers did respond quickly to the shooting.

“East Precinct Officer Wilbon arrived on-scene, and confronted a suspect,” confirmed Portland Police Bureau spokeswoman Officer Cathe Kent.

“He was still holding a gun, as he got into a dark green Dodge Intrepid,” Kent continued. “The vehicle left the area and drove to SE 125th Avenue and Ivon Court, where officers initiated a high-risk traffic stop.”

We heard the police radio crackle with a report that officers had located several gun shell casings behind the Maverick, plus a gun. The crime scene was quickly cordoned off.

Police say they are charging 24-year-old Tyrone Mask with shooting up the area; but there was no apparent victim or reason for firing the gun.

“24-year-old Tyrone Mask was arrested and charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Felon in Possession of Weapon,” Kent stated. “Additionally, Mask is an admitted gang member, and has numerous felony arrests for possession of firearms and for robbery, to name a few.”

Mask was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center.  The driver of the vehicle was released. The gun was located behind Maverick’s Bar.

There was no shooting victim, Kent added, and investigators are still unsure why Mask was allegedly firing the gun.

LaCueva shot up – again
Investigators from the Gang Violence Response Team responded to the area to start an investigation, Kent told us.

“An additional crime scene was located at an after-hours club located at 12241 SE Division Street,” Kent reported. ”It appears several bullets were fired into the back door of the club. No one was inside at the time of the shooting.”

Kent recalled that this was the second shooting this week connected to this after-hours club. “Investigators have asked for a building inspection, as well as involvement from OLCC regarding illegal drinking and various code violations discovered inside the building.”

If you have information related to either shooting, police ask that you call the Gang Violence Response Team at (503) 823-4106.

Business leader express concerns
Bill Dayton, the owner of Pizza Baron, a pizza parlor serving three decades of outer East Portland families, told us that crime in the area has ebbed and flowed over the years.

“Violent crime hasn’t been a big concern here,” said Dayton, the current president of the Midway Business Association. “But the statistics we’re getting from the police show an increase in shootings. It seems that crime from the inner city has been exported to outer East Portland.”

What concerns him, Dayton went on, is that government officials say that crime is going down in the Midway area. “This may be true, but it looks like we’re having more violent crime. Crime is one issue, violent crime is quite another issue.”

To help combat crime in the area, Dayton said that the Midway Business Association is supporting the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association and their new Citizen’s Bike Patrol to help detect problems – and report them to police – before violent crime takes place.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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