‘Gang shooting’ at New Copper Penny disquiets Lents neighbors

Although owners of this long-time entertainment establishment have pitched in to help with community events for years, see why some neighbors now want to see their liquor license pulled …

All is quiet this evening at the New Copper Penny Restaurant and Lounge in Lents. But, days ago, police responded to what they characterized as a gang-related shooting outside the establishment.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As another Saturday night was turning into a Sunday morning, New Copper Penny, the famous long-standing entertainment venue, was closing for business on March 16.

At 2:07 a.m., Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers were called to the club, located in Lents Town Center, on SE 92nd Avenue between the SE Foster Road and Woodstock Boulevard couplet.

“Preliminary information indicates that there was some sort of disturbance inside the nightclub,” remarked PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “A crowd of people involved in the disturbance came outside the club. Someone standing outside fired several rounds toward the crowd, striking a victim.”

Paramedics prepare to take a gunshot victim to the hospital.

Emergency First Responders found 34-year-old Kyron Antonio Trevino suffering from “non-life-threatening” gunshot wounds, and transported him to a Portland hospital for treatment.

“It’s not known at this time if Trevino was the intended target,” Simpson said, “or, if the shooter – described as a skinny African American male – had been in the nightclub.”

With a PPB K-9 Unit leading the way, police searched the area, but came up empty-handed. “Based on information obtained at the scene, officers requested the Gang Enforcement Team respond and continue the investigation,” Simpson added.

New Copper Penny owner Theodosis “Saki” Tzantarmas served guests prime rib, during this December, 2008 Lents Neighborhood Association community dinner. East Portland News archive photo

New Copper Penny owner, Theodosis “Saki” Tzantarmas, has hosted neighborhood association dinners, and donated hot dogs to Lents Founder’s Day events, for decades.

> Read about such an event, held in their ballroom in 2008: CLICK HERE.

However, because news media have reported on criminal activity that has occurred in, around, and near his establishment over the years, Tzantarmas has been unfriendly to all reporters, including East Portland News.

And, with this recent shooting, some Lents area residents have told reporters they question whether or not this establishment is a detriment to the community.

Their Pantheon Ballroom has been one of outer East Portland’s finer banquet facilities.

One news reporter quoted Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications statistics saying that police have been called to, or into the area of, the New Copper Penny 136 times in the last two years.

However, since he opened the New Copper Penny decades ago, Tzantarmas has overcome many challenges. It seems likely that his family business will survive this current incident, as well.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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