Gang shootings on the rise in neighborhoods

Learn about two shootings, just hours apart – in Gresham, and in Powellhurst-Gilbert …

Police look for evidence of a gang-related shooting in an empty lot, south of SE Stark Street, just across the city line of Gresham.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The end of the weekend was punctuated with gunshots, on March 8 and during the early morning hours of March 9.

A Gresham Police Department officer heard gunshots coming from behind Cabaret II, at 17544 SE Stark Street, at about 8:40 p.m. that evening.

But, as it turned out, this wasn’t a disturbance in the “gentleman’s club”, nor was it in their parking lot.

It was, instead, a gang shootout on SE 175th Avenue, near the club, that the officer had heard.

Officers interview a witness to the shooting.

“I came out of my house to get something out of my truck,” said neighbor Alejandro Aguilera.

“I saw three young black guys walking up [northbound on SE 175th Avenue],” Aguilera told East Portland News. “They are arguing loudly, like really mad and angry. When they got up almost beside the nightclub, one of them took out a gun and shot at the others.

“I was too stunned to be afraid or shocked,” Aguilera added. “The one guy just held up the gun, and shot bang, bang, bang. I could see the bullet shells flying out of the gun and landing in the middle of the street.”

Gresham and Portland officers begin looking for evidence in the area pointed out to them by witnesses.

Aguilera pointed to the middle of the street, and moments later also pointed out the spot to Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers who came to assist with the investigation.

PPB Gang Enforcement Team officers also arrived at the scene, and marked several shell casings in the street, exactly where the witness said he’s seen the shooting.

Business cards mark the location of bullet shells in the street where a gang-related shooting takes place.

“The officer located 23-year-old Umberto Velasco-Arango, with a single gunshot wound to his torso,” Said Gresham Police spokesman Lt. Claudio Grandjean. “He was transported to the hospital in serious condition.”

Officers at the scene got a good look at the suspected gunman, Grandjean said. They believe the shooting to be gang-related, he said.

Arrested for Attempted Murder is 15-year-old Ze’andre Davis-Gray. Donald E. Long School booking photo

“15-year-old Ze’andre Davis-Gray was arrested for shooting Velasco-Arrango,” Grandjean later stated. “He will be charged as an adult for the Measure 11 crime of Attempted Murder.”

Davis-Gray was remanded to the Multnomah County Donald E. Long School Juvenile Detention Center.


Powellhurst-Gilbert gang shooting

Officers close off SE 125th Avenue south of SE Division Street, after a ruckus turns into a gang-related shooting.

PPB East Precinct District officers headed on SE Division Street, and turned south on SE 125th Avenue at 12:05 a.m. on March 9, responding to the report of a fight near the apartments located on this dead-end street.

Several gang members scattered, officers said, as they rolled into the area.

Paramedics prepare the gunshot victim for transport, by ambulance, to a local hospital.

“The Gang Enforcement Team officers located a gunshot the victim in a vehicle,” revealed PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “Medical personnel responded and transported the victim, 23-year-old Carlos Antonio Barerra, to a Portland hospital with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.”

A sizable crowd at the site of the shooting quickly evaporated, and officers and gang investigators came away without substantial information.

“Anyone with information about this, or other gang crimes, is encouraged to provide information to the Portland Police Bureau’s Tactical Operations Division at (503) 823-4106,” Simpson requested.

“And, Crime Stoppers of Oregon is offering a minimum $250 cash reward to anyone who reports a convicted felon or a juvenile in possession of a firearm – and tipsters can remain anonymous,” he added. To make a report online: CLICK HERE or text CRIMES (274637), and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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