Four shootings, most gang-related, rock two neighborhoods

Neighbors in Hazelwood and Mill Park say this was a frightening way to start Spring Break …

One shooting after another brings police officers to crime scenes, primarily in two neighborhoods of outer East Portland.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Gunfire erupted in the Hazelwood and Mill Park neighborhoods, on the evening of March 21 and twice on March 23, putting neighbors on edge as Spring Break got underway.

Again and again, in different parts of outer East Portland, residents watched Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct district officers, Gang Enforcement Team detectives, Gun Task Force investigators, and criminologists come into the area.

A Police supervisor finds a shooting victim near SE Stark Street, but investigators say the crime scene is one block north, near SE Oak Street.

March 21, 2014 at 6:52 p.m.
Police and medical personnel located a gunshot victim at SE 119th Avenue and Stark Street; but the suspected location was a block north, on SE Oak Street.

“The victim, a 17-year-old male, was transported to a Portland hospital with what is believed to be a non-life-threatening injury,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

PPB Gang Enforcement Team investigators learned that the victim, along with the three people detained by police, had been standing on the corner of SE 119th Avenue and Oak Street when a vehicle drove up to them and stopped.

“A passenger got out of the vehicle and fired multiple rounds at the group, then got back into the car, and fled the area. At this point there is no useful suspect information,” Simpson later stated.

After being shot, and found laying in the street, this victim with a gunshot wound is finally “encouraged” to go to the hospital.

March 22, 2014 at 2:57 a.m.
Later that night, in the Hazelwood neighborhood, officers and medical personnel found a 32-year-old male shooting victim, lying injured near the intersection of SE 99th Avenue and Oak Street – just twenty blocks due west of the previous shooting.

Again, the PPB Gang Enforcement Team responded to the scene, reporting that preliminary information was that it had been a ‘drive-by’ shooting. But they wouldn’t comment if this crime could be, in any way, connected with the shooting just hours earlier that evening.

“The victim was not cooperative with police or medical personnel,” Simpson said. “But, he was eventually was transported to a Portland hospital for treatment. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.”

March 23, 2014 at 10:11 a.m.
Although gunfire disturbed Hazelwood neighbors, near SE 141st Avenue and Stark Street, police didn’t find any victims.

“Several witnesses told officers they heard ‘multiple gunshots’, but did not see anything,” Simpson told East Portland News. “Officers canvassed the area, looking for evidence of gunfire.”

They found little to go on, but Simpson said this incident did not appear to be gang-related.

After police get control of a near-rioting crowd, medical personnel move in to take care of a gunshot victim.

March 23, 2014 at 11:23 p.m.
The festivities for the group which rented the American Legion Portland Post #1 Hall, in the Mill Park neighborhood – reportedly for a birthday party – were cut short, when gunshots rang out.

Both East Precinct district officers and Gang Enforcement Team members converged on the area of SE 122nd Avenue and Mill Street.

“A large group of teens were in the street,” Simpson. “Officers found one gunshot victim, a teen-aged girl. The victim was transported to a Portland hospital with what is believed to be a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.”

As officers were attempting to locate the crime scene, Simpson said, several fights broke out in the crowd, and additional officers were called to restore order in the neighborhood.

Gang Enforcement Team investigators did locate both a crime scene and evidence. “Preliminary information indicates that two groups of people were involved in a verbal dispute outside, resulting in someone firing a gun,” reported Simpson.

“Investigators said they suspect that an African American male in his late teens or early 20s, 5’11” tall, average build, fired several rounds into the crowd then ran eastbound on Mill Avenue,” Simpson added.

Anyone who witnessed any of the shootings, or who has pertinent information, is asked to call the police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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