Violence continues to erupt in East Portland

These three incidences of violence – within a week – indicate why more neighbors are saying they’re wishing for a little more “peace and good will” in their neighborhoods, as Christmas draws near …

When suspected gangster’s bullets fly, especially when shot directly into a vehicle like this one was, neighbors have real reason to be concerned.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At a quickening pace, violence is on the uptick in East Portland – and it’s making neighbors uneasy. Although officials won’t label it “gang violence”, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Gang Enforcement Team has been called to the site of many of these scenes.

‘Hit-and-Run’ turns into gang shooting in Powellhurst Gilbert

At another “suspected” gang shooting – this time in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood – another victim is loaded into an ambulance.

When PPB some East Precinct officers headed out to investigate the report of a hit-and-run vehicle accident about 11:00 p.m. on December 14, others were investigating a “shots fired” call in outer East Portland at SE 122nd Ave and SE Ramona Street.

“Officers arrived in the area of the hit and run and located a damaged vehicle that matched the description of the suspect vehicle in the hit and run,” said PPB Public Information Officer Lt. Robert King. “Near the suspect vehicle, officers located a 17-year-old male suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment.”

Powellhurst-Gilbert neighbor Christine Jigau told reporters she had quite a start when a young man came limping up to her door – from what she later learned was gunshot wounds. She called 9-1-1 and let the young man in her home where police and an ambulance soon arrived.

Officers, detectives and forensic team members search for clues in this, the most recent suspected gangster shooting in outer East Portland.

“The Forensic Evidence Division and the Gang Enforcement Team responded and made an investigation into the shooting,” King said. “Additional details will be released as they become available.”

However, no further details have been released at this time.

Bullets fly as gunman shoots up Mt. Scott-Arleta

Across the street from the Mitchell Court Apartments, officers place evidence markers over spent bullet shells on December 10th.

Gunshots rang out in the Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood at a little after 2:00 p.m. on December 10. Not just one or two shots, either – from the numbers of police “CSI crime scene evidence markers” over gun shell casings in the street, it was obvious the shooter unloaded a whole clip of ammo near the intersection of SE 72nd Avenue and SE Mitchell Court.

“It sounded like a string of firecrackers,” said Deborah Gilderson, who lives just down the street. “It sounded like, maybe, seven bangs in a row. Someone yelled ‘someone’s shooting’, and I got back in my house.”

While some media reported that the gunman stood in the parking lot of Mitchell Court Apartments, the gun shells were actually marked on the west side of SE 72nd Avenue, and investigators were looking at evidence – some say bullet holes in doors and windows of the building and cars in the lot – to the east of there.

Some witnesses told media the shooter got in a car that sped away. Police put out the word to stop a green Ford Suburban – which patrol officers did, on SE 70th Avenue and SE Reedway Street.

On SE 70th Avenue near the intersection with SE Reedway Street, officers carefully check over the SUV witnesses said they thought was the target of the shooter in the December 10th incident.

A neighbor at the intersection said he watched as five police officers, guns drawn, surrounded the vehicle and took three occupants into custody, one at a time.

“Officers made a ‘high-risk stop’ because it was a vehicle of interest in a recent shooting,” Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Lt. Robert King later told East Portland News. “We are now led to believe that the occupants of the vehicle were actually the intended targets.”

According to latest information, no one was injured during the shooting incident; the investigation remains ongoing – but this shooting appears to remain an unsolved mystery.

Teen shot at corner market

Police say gang violence erupted at this market in the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood.

Thirteen days after one teenager was accused of stabbing another, 20 blocks east on SE Flavel Street – a 17-year-old man was shot and injured at Flavel Market at SE 52nd Avenue on December 8.

According to witnesses, the sound of gunfire was unmistakable when it erupted a little before 11:00 a.m. The results were clear – the window in a minivan was shot out, and bullet holes were clearly visible in the driver’s-side front door.

“We ran toward the sound when we heard the shots,” neighbor Kristina Sampson told East Portland News. “He was laying there on the ground; I grabbed a towel and ran over to him. He was holding his leg. I used to towel to put pressure on it so it wouldn’t bleed so much.”

While waiting for first responders the wounded man, later identified as 17-year-old Eric Hernandez, asked Sampson to get his cell phone, and called his parents.

“He kept saying, ‘Make the pain stop, make it stop!’; I kept telling him that help was on the way,” said Sampson. “I’ve never been around anything like this. It’s really upsetting; I wish this kind of violence around here would stop.”

Lt. Robert King confirmed that Hernandez had been shot in the leg and was suffered non-life threatening injuries when he was transported to an area hospital.
“Officers determined in their investigation that a maroon or burgundy vehicle drove into the store lot and had words with the victim.” King stated. “As they were having words the driver of the car shot seven shots at the victim hitting him once in the leg.

Inside the market, business owner Soon Cho said that Hernandez and his family often would buy food and merchandise on credit. “They come in all the time, we trust them. That’s why we give the credit for thim over and over.”

In fact, Cho said that Hernandez had stopped by the store to pay on their account. “They say something about gangs – but I don’t think so.”

Looking at the bullet holes in the minivan, witnesses say it’s surprising the victim wasn’t killed in the parking lot attack.

However, King countered, “Based on the nature and style of the shooting and descriptions and other information available to the officers they concluded this is a gang shooting and so the Gang Team responded to conduct the investigation. The Forensic Evidence Division also responded and processed the crime scene.”

Because they live nearby, it took only minutes for victim’s father, Juan Hernandez to arrive at the store, saying he disagreed with the characterization of the shooting as being gang related, and denied that reports that his son knew the man who pulled the trigger.

When detectives completed their investigation at the location, they revealed that the suspect vehicle had dark tinted windows, was possible a Buick and contained four Hispanic males.

“The car drove southbound on SE 52nd Avenue,” King said. “Officers looked for the suspect vehicle but they have not located the suspects at this time.”

Again, no further information has been revealed.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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