Centennial neighbor’s spat leads to deadly shooting

Find out what apparently led up to this tragic incident – and the unusual step some neighbors are taking to help ‘heal the neighborhood’ …

In the Centennial neighborhood, eastbound SE Division Street is closed to traffic, while police investigate the report of a shooting.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It was a hot, still summer Saturday evening on June 27. That was when Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct Division officers were called to the Centennial neighborhood at 7:16 p.m. by the report of a shooting.

But unlike many of the past such incidents, this one was not gang-related.

Emergency first responders fill the 2600 block of SE 151st Avenue, after the report of a shooting in the neighborhood.

Arriving PPB Homicide Detectives began to unravel why a 57-year-old male resident of the neighborhood was apparently shot by 48-year-old male neighbor.

PPB Forensic Evidence Division criminalists came to the scene, as did the Multnomah County Medical Examiner, as the investigation began.

The following day, officials revealed that Dean Anthony Kuntz died that evening as the result of gunshot wounds.

48-year-old Jon E. Landis is accused of murder, in the shooting of his neighbor.

His neighbor, Jon Landis, was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 2:18 a.m. the next morning, on a single count of Murder.

The deceased’s daughter, Miranda Kuntz, and son, Tabor Kuntz, have spoken freely with reporters. Both said that their father, a homeowner on SE 151st Avenue for more than three decades, was concerned about speeding in the neighborhood.

His son told reporters that his father had previously gone to Landis’ home to speak about his speeding nearby – a meeting that ended in a confrontation.

An officer talks with a witness at the scene.

Both son and daughter said that Landis came over to the Kuntz residence the following day, allegedly armed with a gun. When the exchange turned antagonistic, Landis reportedly stepped back into the street, and shot Kuntz in the chest.

Several witnesses said that Landis stood in the street, with a gun in one hand, and a cell phone in the other, apparently calling the police.

The investigation continues, along this usually-quiet outer East Portland street.

No one has stepped forward to tell about the incident from the Landis family point of view. However, some anonymous witnesses told reporters, off the record, that they’d heard Kuntz previously threaten Landis’ wife and family.

Landis’ next court date is July 8; he’s currently being held without bond at MCDC.

Neighbors pray for healing
Neighbor Patty Hicks, a resident in the Centennial Community Association 25 years, knows neighbors who also live on the street.

As a community leader and lay person at Eastside Free Methodist Church, Hicks said, “God has increased his love in me for the people here and it’s that love that urges me and my fellow Christians to pray for our neighbors here.

“Because I have personal friends who live where the shooting happened,” Hicks told East Portland News, “it really brought home the grief and the burden for this community. I felt so utterly helpless in myself; all I could do was pray for them.”

Being a member of the “Mid East County Prayer Network” – a group of local pastors and Christian leaders who meet regularly – Hicks suggested “prayer topics”, including both the alleged gunman, his family, and the family of the victim.

Four years go, before the “Heal Our Community” walk, Centennial neighbor Patty Hicks led a prayer at a meeting of the Mid East County Prayer Network.

Specifically, Hicks requested:

  • “For the spirits of bitterness, resentment, hate, anger, and pride to be overcome with good;
    “For truth to come out, and for rumors be laid to rest;
  • “For courage for those who need to speak up, that they would not fear coming forward; and,
  • “For a spirit of caring for one’s neighbor to be born out of this tragedy.”

 

“So it is my hope and the hope of all of us who are praying that those affected by the shooting will be encouraged to know they are loved,” Hicks added, “and that we grieve with them, and are here praying.”

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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