New Year’s party-goers stifle deadly shooting investigation

‘Uncooperative’ guests at this Madison South party may have well helped a gunman get away with murder …

Police say the New Year’s Eve revelers at this house didn’t want to stop partying – even as a fellow-celebrant lay dying from gunshot wounds in front of the residence.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The fact that gunshots rang out – and that a guest at their New Year’s Eve party, 25-year-old Christopher Adam Monette, lay fatally wounded on the residence’s front walkway – didn’t stop the party at 8407 NE Thompson Street, police say.

Just after midnight, we pulled up and found NE Thompson Street – across from Madison High’s sports field – sporting yellow “Police Line; Do Not Cross” tape. A dozen police cars were parked along both sides of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses.

Patrol cars were lined up on NE Thompson Street, both east and west of NE 82nd Avenue of Roses, as police looked for a deadly gunman who left on foot.

We spoke briefly with Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct Lt. Kevin Modica; but he followed protocol and politely declined to confirm information we’d gleaned by following the police radio calls regarding the event.

Parked in an otherwise empty lot on the corner, we saw a car, doors still open, which was said to have contained five individuals who left the party soon after the shooting.

Murder, minutes before midnight
“There was a ‘disturbance call’ from the house,” Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Sgt. Brian Schmautz told us, when we asked him to fill us in regarding this case.

Officials say it isn’t clear why this man, 25-year-old Christopher Adam Monette, a resident of North Portland, was gunned down minutes before 2008 began.

“We’re not sure why the incident took place, but we do know that the victim was deceased, lying near the street in front of the home on NE Thompson Street at twelve minutes until midnight on New Year’s Eve,” said Schmautz. “The Multnomah County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Monette; the finding was murder.”

Reading reports filed by several officers, Schmautz observed, “The party-goers were very uncooperative. One report indicates that people at the party seemed unconcerned that a guest at that party now lay dead in front of the house. They wanted to keep the party going.”

Although five people were stopped as they left the party who we believe were riding in this car, police say none of them was the shooter.

Regarding the five individuals who fled the party in the car, and then scattered when the vehicle was stopped by police, Schmautz said that all of them were apprehended and questioned – none was arrested.

Both victim and shooter attend party
Investigators do not believe this shooting to be a random act, Schmautz revealed. “Both the suspect and victim were attending the party at the listed location.”

As of this report, no suspect is in custody. Schmautz says the suspect is described as a black male in his early 20’s, 5’8″, 150-160 pounds, wearing dark clothing.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Detective Ken Whattam or Detective Rico Beniga at 503-823-0400.

This investigation is continuing.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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