Find out why these two teenagers, facing charges of committing a Measure 11 crime, are being treated as adults, as they try to explain their behavior – allegedly shooting up a well-patronized outer East Portland superstore …
Portland Police Bureau officers and detectives comb this Fred Meyer store for evidence, after two youth fire off shots during what officials call a “robbery gone bad”.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Some would call the suspects who allegedly used a gun – and reportedly shot up a Fred Meyer store on July 20 – mere children. But, if they’re convicted of the crime, these youngsters may not see the outside of prison walls until 2017.
About 10:40 p.m., a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officer was called to the north entrance of the Fred Meyer super-center at 5253 SE 82nd Avenue of Roses at SE Foster Road to deal with subjects on a “beer run” – grabbing cases of brew and running out without paying for it.
After a pair of teenagers tried to rob a cashier at gunpoint, officials say, they bolted for the door and headed out the store’s south entrance.
As the officer and store security wrestled with the beer thieves, the officer heard gunshots come from the store’s south entrance, near the home and garden section.
“Two male subjects attempted a robbery,” said PPB spokesperson Detective Mary Wheat. “During the course of the robbery, one of the suspects fired multiple gunshots inside the store, aiming at security personnel and patrons inside the store.”
After shooting up the store – but fortunately, not hitting anyone – the pair of alleged gunmen took off running.
“Officers were outside the store when the two male subjects fled,” Wheat told us. “The officers began chasing one suspect; the other suspect left in a vehicle. The officers chased the subject on foot into the neighborhood, but lost sight of him.”
Police set up the Mobile Command Center to coordinate the neighborhood manhunt for a suspect – possibility armed with a gun – who showed no qualms about firing it, just moments before.
Within minutes, patrol cars were blocking off streets, closing down a portion of the Lents Neighborhood, from 82nd Avenue to 92nd Avenue, and from SE Foster Road north to SE Holgate Boulevard.
While officers made sure no one was injured in the store, detectives started reviewing store security camera images – Fred Meyer stores are noted for their excellent quality video surveillance gear – and tentatively identified one of the suspects. Detectives dispatched officers to check addresses associated with the suspect.
A SERT Tactical Units races to the command center’s location.
Because of the possibility that a gun-toting robber was running through neighborhood streets, the bureau’s elite Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) was activated and responded to the scene. After three hours of street-by-street searching, the SERT squad left the area.
“Neither suspect was located that night, but Portland Police Detectives gained valuable information at the scene about both suspects,” Wheat confirmed.
Officers lock down a 20-block section of the Lents Neighborhood while they search for the alleged robbers.
Detective work pays off
The following day, the previous evening’s diligent policework paid off. “Detectives have identified one suspect as 17-year-old Stephen Fowler,” reported Wheat. “Fowler has been charged with one count of Robbery in the First Degree.”
Because of evidence they found at the scene, detectives didn’t give up – instead they turned up the heat. Officers followed up on leads, talking with everyone who they thought might know the suspect still at large.
Their perseverance paid off the following night. “The second suspect turned himself in to Portland Police detectives,” Wheat announced. “He’s identified as 15-year-old Shawnell Dedelle Greene; he is charged with one count of Robbery in the First Degree.”
Even though officials say the suspected gun-toting robbers be tried as adults, they declined to release the suspects’ photographs.
A Measure 11 crime
When we checked back to learn more about the case, Wheat mentioned that using a gun in a robbery – attempted or otherwise – is a Measure 11 crime. If found guilty, the suspects will face the mandatory sentence for Robbery in the First Degree – 7 years, 6 months.
Anyone with information concerning this case should contact Detective Heidi Housley at 503-823-0400.
© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News