Three outer East Portland shootings – two gang-related – injure three youths

Although one shooting was deemed accidental, find out why officials say two lives will be long-affected by this incident. And, see why investigators are still puzzling over just who pulled the trigger in a drive-by shooting this week – and how another gunshot victim traveled some 30 blocks before seeking medical help …

SE Ramona Street is shut down near Alice Ott Elementary School, while detectives look for clues in what they believe may be a gangster drive-by shooting.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In a torrential rainstorm on the evening of December 14, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) detectives and criminalists were out looking for evidence, after a young man was shot in the 12300 block of SE Ramona Street – just two blocks west of Alice Ott Elementary School.

“East Precinct officers were called to the scene at approximately 7:36 p.m.,” reported PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “9-1-1 had several callers who reported hearing multiple gunshots in the area.”

Portland Police Bureau officers and detectives seal off the area, while they investigate a shooting in the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood.

But, at first, officers didn’t find a victim. They searched the area, and 13 minutes later they found a shot-up car – and a bit later, a wounded victim three blocks east of where the shots were reported, Simpson revealed. SE Ramona Street, from SE 122nd to 128th Avenues, was blocked off for hours, while detectives conducted their investigation in the soaking rain.

“Investigators learned that shooting victim was seated in his vehicle when another vehicle, described as a dark-colored American car, pulled up alongside and fired shots at him,” Simpson said. “One of those shots struck him in the leg.”

Later, Simpson reported that 18-year-old Antonio Young suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, and had been transported to an area hospital for treatment.

The deluge doesn’t seem to seem to faze officers searching for evidence on SE Ramona Street.

“At this point in the investigation,” Simpson continued, “there is no suspect information to be released, but investigators believe that the shooting may be gang-related. Anyone with information about this shooting is urged to call Detective Todd Gradwahl at (503) 823-2056.”

Youth accidentally shoots friend

Police and detectives arrive on-scene to investigate what was called in as an accidental shooting, in the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood.

About 24 hours earlier, minutes after 8:00 p.m. on December 13, Portland Police officers were checking out a report of an accidental shooting, in a house in the 14000 block of SE Foster Road.

“Officers arrived and located a 17-year-old female suffering from a non-life-threatening gunshot wound,” Simpson revealed. “Medical personnel arrived, and transported the victim to an area hospital.”

With one adult and several youths in the residence, PPB detectives took their time to unravel how the incident had occurred. At the end of their investigation, 23-year-old Benjamin Allen Sprague was placed under arrest.

Police say this man, 23-year-old Benjamin Allen Sprague, is facing a charge of Reckless Endangerment – a Class A Misdemeanor.

“Portland Police Bureau Assault Detectives arrested Sprague, of Happy Valley, for Reckless Endangerment,” Simpson said. “Shot was 17-year-old Jessica Heffler.”

During the investigation, Simpson said, detectives learned that Sprague and Heffler were at the home of 19-year-old Grant Arnold when the shooting occurred. “Detectives learned that several people were playing with pellet guns when Sprague fired Arnold’s handgun, striking Heffler in the abdomen.”

Officials later said Heffler’s injury was a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. “Detectives believe that alcohol may have been a factor in the shooting,” Simpson concluded.

Sprague was booked into the Multnomah County Jail at 11:30 p.m., and released with a citation for the charges the following day.

Just in: Gunshot victim travels 30 blocks before seeking help
On Friday, December 17, officers were called to SE 112th Avenue and SE Division Street – to investigate yet another potentially gang-related gunshot victim.

“About 5:23 p.m., officers assisted ambulance medical personnel. They were flagged down by someone in a car saying their friend had been shot. The victim was removed from the car and the car left eastbound on SE Division Street.”

The shooting victim, a 29-year-old male, told officers that he “didn’t know where he was when he was shot” after leaving his house, on foot, near SE 80th Avenue and SE Center Street, we learned. The shooting victim was transported to an area hospital with a non-life threatening gunshot wound.

”The Gang Violence Response Team will be investigating the incident,” Simpson said.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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