‘Gang hit’ suspected, in Wilkes neighborhood murder

Find out why neighbors say they’re outraged at the violent activity “Section Eight” housing seems to have brought to their neighborhood …

Into the day following the shooting, Portland Police Bureau detectives are on scene – it’s the left side of this duplex – in the Wilkes neighborhood, investigating a murder.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Many years ago, a “Light Up for the Holidays” contest in Wilkes Community Group – the farthest northeast neighborhood in Portland – brought East Portland News out to photograph the Christmas decorations, including at a home on NE Fremont Court.

But, in the waning hours of May 9, that cul-de-sac was lit up with another kind of lighting – those of emergency and police vehicles, called because a man was shot to death at his front door.

When Portland Police Bureau (PPB) North Precinct officers arrived on-scene at 11:38 p.m., they found the deceased man in the entrance of a duplex at 14811 N.E. Fremont Court.

At the front door of this duplex, three men are said to have cut down a man with a fusillade of bullets.

A next door neighbor told reporters she heard gunshots ring out – followed by what sounded to her like two women shrieking and crying.

Officers immediately began searching the neighborhood for suspects, PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Peter Simpson said. A Portland Police K-9 got the scent, and the dog led its partner and other officers north and slightly east of the crime scene.

Bullet holes like this one are clearly visible – the bullets having been dug out by criminalists who processed the crime scene overnight.

Witnesses disagree about the final destination of the police. Some it was the Walnut Grove Apartments at 3835 NE 152nd Avenue; others say it was at the adjoining Village Garden Apartments at 15298 NE Sandy Boulevard that was swarmed by law enforcement personnel.

“Three men were located near NE 152nd Avenue off Sandy Boulevard,” is all Simpson said. “They were detained, and transported to the Detective Division.”

Until the early hours of the following day, PPB homicide detectives and criminalists processed the crime scene, Simpson added. Gang Enforcement Team officers also assisted in the investigation.
“The victim has been identified as 29-year-old Kenneth Ray Henry,” said Simpson after the autopsy. “The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined that Henry died of multiple gunshot wounds.”

Police are charging these three men with murder: (left to right) 23-year-old Xabian Robert Riley, 24-year-old Tracey Christopher Lomax, and 21-year-old Marcellus A. Allen. MCDC photos

Detectives aren’t yet saying whether the shooting might be gang or drug-related, Simpson added. He later released the names of the men arrested and charged with murder: 23-year-old Xabian Robert Riley, 24-year-old Tracey Christopher Lomax and 21-year-old Marcellus A. Allen.

Neighbors venturing out of their homes the following day talked together on the sidewalk, as they watched the investigation continue – and watched family and friends of the deceased come to the duplex.

“When we built or bought our homes here, long ago,” reflected Sally Diega Sutton, “this was a quiet and peaceful neighborhood. Then, they started building duplexes here – I think that one is owned by a company somewhere else – and the trouble began. I don’t think they pick their tenants very well.”

Although the three others standing with Diega Sutton declined to be identified, they agreed they’d heard that the shooting was a “gangster hit” – not an accident.

This spilled blood remains on the porch, providing a chilling reminder to local residents that violent crime has moved into the Wilkes neighborhood.

In fact, according to public information, this duplex has been owned since 2004 by a “limited liability corporation” located in Sunnyside, California, since 2004.

Others nodded when Diega Sutton concluded, “Many of us planned to retire here. But now, with all the drug and gang problems moving into the area – maybe it’s time to get out. But where to move is the question.”

According to Multnomah County Detention Center records, Riley is being held at their facility without bond on one count of Murder, as well as Lomax and Allen – who additionally are being charged with parole or post-parole supervision violations.

Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to contact homicide detectives. Detective Eric Kammerer can be reached at (503) 823-0762, (Erik.Kammerer@PortlandOregon.gov) – and Detective Anthony Merrill can be reached at (503) 823-4033, or (Anthony.Merrill@PortlandOregon.gov).

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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