Stabbing death, drunk drivers and fire disturb Thanksgiving Eve peace

East Precinct Police officers were running in the rain, from call to call, while most people dreamt of the morrow’s feast ‚Ķ

A 29-year-old man died in the street here on 148th Ave. the night before Thanksgiving Day. Police say they have little to go on.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Other than the howl of wind-blown rain, it seemed like the night before Thanksgiving Day would be peaceful. Then, not long before midnight, police officers who serve outer East Portland became deluged with calls.

Gang activity caused officers to cordon off blocks out by the PAL club. Drunk drivers took to the roads. And, a man was stabbed to death.

“Here in Dispatch,” the news-line 911 Communicator told us, “we’re wondering why people aren’t just staying home on such an awful night.”

Officers were called to investigate a street fight, but all they found was a stabbing victim.

Murder in Glenfair
At 11:00 pm, East Precinct officers were radioed to check on a fight and possible stabbing on NE 148th Ave. near Glisan St. When officers pulled up on their patrol cars, they didn’t see a fight. But, shining their powerful spotlights around, they did discover the body of an adult male who had suffered what appeared to be stab wounds.

We rolled on-scene just after the Mobile Precinct pulled in and homicide detectives began conducting an investigation.

According to Sgt. Brian Schmautz, The victim in homicide has been identified as 29-year-old Leonardo Perez. “He is also known by the name Marco Leonardo Perez. Detectives have not developed any suspect information and have not established a motive for the crime,” said the police spokesman.

Schmautz was able to tell us that the autopsy showed that Perez died of multiple stab wounds.

Drunks take to the road
Fortunately for good citizens, the cops were keeping a sharp eye out for early, overly-lubricated celebrants of the holiday.

All across East Portland, both precincts reported numerous encounters with inebriated drivers.

Police say a drunk driver took out this utility pole on SE 92nd Ave. around midnight.

We just missed seeing the vehicle towed away from SE 92nd Ave. at Duke Street. The drunk driver stuck the utility pole with such force, it snapped it like a twig. The wooden pole was suspended from electric power, telephone and cable TV cables as it dangled in the blowing wind.

Police blocked off SE 92nd Ave. until PGE workers could install a new pole. “Another DWII driver into another pole,” mused the damp officer at the site, “Why can’t people just drink at home?”

Two-alarm fire displaces families in Wilkes
Thanksgiving Day was spoiled for at least two families when a fire broke out about 6:30 a.m. when firefighters were called to an apartment building at 14200 NE Sandy Blvd.

Within moments after the call came in, the crew of Engine 2 arrived on scene. They saw “flames were rolling out of the ground floor apartment and smoke from the apartment directly above,” according to Lt. Allen Oswalt, Portland Fire & Rescue.

Oswalt reported that the fire spread to the second floor apartment through a window directly above the fire room, after the heat from the flames broke out the glass. Moderate damage was done to the second floor apartment and major damage to the ground floor apartment where the fire started.

All of the occupants escaped the inferno, Oswalt added.

Take a tip from a firefighter: “A working smoke alarm in your apartment can save your life,” says Lt. Allen Oswalt. (Note: We took this photo at a training exercise, not at this fire.)

Commenting on this fire, Oswalt added, “When you live in an apartment you are only as safe as you make yourself. Don’t rely on the other tenants. Take responsibility for your own safety, and make sure you have two ways to escape. Above all have a working smoke alarm in your apartment.”

The fire is under investigation.

¬© 2006 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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