Suspected gang activity heats up along MAX line

Fortunately, this time no one was killed. Unfortunately, it seems that gang activity – involving guns – continues to increase in outer East Portland …

Portland Police Bureau officers and command staff stage at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office building on NE 122nd Avenue at NE Glisan Street as the suspected gang shooting incident continues.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Blocks of busy 122nd Avenue, from SE Stark Street up to NE Glisan Street, were shut down, while folks were heading home from work last Friday, August 19 – due to another suspected gang shooting incident.

“At 5:20 p.m., Portland Police officers assigned to East Precinct responded to the report of multiple gunshots fired in the area of SE 122nd and Stark,” reported Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Peter Simpson.

Witnesses described a group of black males, shooting at a vehicle that was traveling on 122nd Avenue, Simpson said.

Folks returning home, ready to start another summer’s weekend, found the highway being shut down a major inconvenience, but officials say they were just concerned about the public’s safety, with a roving band of gun-toting gangsters on the loose along 122nd Avenue.

PPB officers, with help from Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputies, started stringing police-line tape, cordoning off many blocks along 122nd Avenue, from SE Stark Street up to NE Glisan Street. As their investigation continued, the perimeter was reduced and moved up to E. Burnside Street.
“Several officers from East Precinct and the Gang Enforcement Team detained people that might be involved,” Simpson reported as the evening wore on.

Bystanders look, along with police, to see if they can spot bullet holes at this apartment building along the MAX Light Rail Line at 122nd Avenue.

Thanks to the long ladder supplied by Portland Fire & Rescue’s Truck 7, this intrepid police officer climbs high, looking to spot any bullet holes in the apartment building.

“There are no reported victims of the shooting at this time,” Simpson said. “Several buildings appear to have sustained damage from gunfire along 122nd from Stark to Glisan, and officers are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the shooting.”

Evidence sits atop this unmarked patrol car, as the investigation continues.

Following up, this week, the Bureau’s Lt. Robert King told us that the investigating officers were unable to locate any victims of this shooting, and eventually did not make any arrests in this case.

Days later, gang gunfire again erupts in area

Just four blocks away from Friday’s “shots fired” incident, and only days later, police move in to investigate yet another suspected gang-related shooting incident.

On early Sunday morning, August 22, after most folks were in bed, police again swarmed into the area, responding to another call of gunshots.

“12:52 a.m., responded to the area of 126th Avenue and East Burnside Street,” Sgt. Simpson revealed. “The information was that a group of black males were fleeing the area, after firing shots near an apartment at 12610 East Burnside Street.”

Officers learned that there had been a party at the apartment on Burnside, Simpson later said, and several gang associates arrived – creating a disturbance. Multiple shots were fired, but once again there were no reported injuries or property damage.

19-year-old Christopher Jordan, along with two other under-age suspects, were picked up in the Sunday morning incident – but not for the reported shooting; rather for probation violations. MCDC booking photo

“19-year-old Christopher Jordan, 17-year-old Demetrius Ray Brown, and 17-year-old Aronte Kerney were all booked on probation violations,” Simpson said. “No arrests were made as a result of the shooting, and no firearms have been recovered.”

Did you see something that night which could help police curb the gang violence? If you did, contact Detective Todd Teats at (503) 823-2137, or todd.teats@portlandoregon.gov; or Detective Mike Frome at michael.frome@portlandoregon.gov
The statistic, Simpson added, isn’t comforting: “This shooting was the 64th gang-related violent crime investigation so far in 2011.”

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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