Bullets fly during multiple East Portland gang shootouts

See why neighbors wonder if law enforcement will be able to curb gang-related shootings in this part of the city …

An investigation of what is described as a “gang shooting” continues, along SE Holgate Boulevard.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

With gang-related shootings spiking during the month of May – and many of them taking place in outer East Portland – neighbors say they’re alarmed, because the situation now appears to be “out of control”.

Many troubled citizens attended a Public Safety Forum held on May 30.

CLICK HERE to see that story.

Detectives say at least two youths took potshots at each other, from across this street, on a Sunday morning when many people were at home.

Just 24 hours after the forum was getting underway in Hazelwood neighborhood, shots rang out in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, at 1050 a.m. along SE Holgate Boulevard near SE 118th Avenue.

“Multiple officers arrived in the area and contacted witnesses who told police that one suspect ran away westbound on Holgate, then turned northbound on 117th Avenue,” said Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “Two other suspects reportedly ran southbound on 118th Avenue, then westbound through Raymond Park.”

A suspect riding a bicycle was described as an African American male in his late-teens or early 20s, wearing white T-shirt and gray sweatpants, and armed with a handgun, Simpson said. “He shot at two suspects described as African American males in their 20s, wearing all-black clothing, and with at least one of them armed with a handgun.”

Evidence markers show the location of bullet casings, still lying in the street.

The only known damage was a bullet-hole-flattened tire on an SUV parked on the street. A search of the neighborhood failed to locate any suspects or victims.

Calling this daytime shooting “brazen”, Simpson observed that it was the 24th such incident in May. “This shooting, on a busy street, when residents are typically at home,” Simpson commented, “puts people in the community on edge.”

Drive-by shootout Centennial neighborhood

Police shut down SE Market Street, after suspected gang members shoot at one another from car to car.

Later on May 31, neighbors along SE 164th Avenue and Market Street heard a number of gunshots, and saw several cars speed out of the area.

“Officers located evidence of gunfire, but have not found any gunshot victims in the area, despite there being a great number of families and children in the neighborhood,” Simpson reported.

“This is the 25th gang-related shooting investigation in the month of May,” he said.

Police are called to the scene of 25 gang-related shootings during May, 2015.

Earlier in the week …

On Tuesday May 26, at 12:44 a.m., East Precinct officers responded to the Eastern Cathay Restaurant on NE 82nd Avenue of Roses near the I-84 Freeway on the report of multiple gunshots heard in the area.

> On Tuesday May 26, 2015, at 5:15 p.m., East Precinct officers found evidence of a car-to-car shootout at SE 108th Avenue and Powell Boulevard.

“My neighbors and I were talking about it, waiting for the street to open,” commented Powellhurst-Gilbert neighbor Greg Ellis, as he looked at the crime scene on SE Holgate Boulevard on the afternoon of May 21.

“One of my neighbors works with the [Multnomah County] Sheriff’s Office,” Ellis told East Portland News. “He says it doesn’t take much for a gangster to whip out a gun and start shooting. It could be just a ‘look’ he interprets as being not friendly.”

Asked about the Mayor’s plan to give free Community Center passes to youths this summer, Ellis said, “Even with that offer, I doubt they’re going to shoot hoops and swim at the Community Center. Their guns would fall out of their waistbands!”

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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