Lents, Montavilla, and Centennial again rocked by shootings

Will it ever cease? Across outer East Portland, shootings continue; two shootings in one afternoon injures victims. Good news: Officials arrest one suspect in Montavilla …

A Portland Police Bureau officer puts up crime-scene tape after yet another shooting in East Portland neighborhood streets.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Violent people with guns continued the wave of shootings in outer East Portland this week; one of these incidents resulting a seriously-wounded victim. Two of the shootings were in the Lents neighborhood, one was in Montavilla, and another was in the Centennial neighborhood.

Overall, there were 31 “Shots Fired” calls logged; however, as police officials point out, many of these end up being unverified, in cases in which officers don’t locate “evidence of gunfire”.

June 4
Man shot, multiple times, in Lents Neighborhood

After being shot multiple times, a male victim is rushed off to a local hospital.

On June 4, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers were dispatched at 8:03 p.m., to a report of someone having been shot near the 8400 block of along SE Lafayette Street near 84th Avenue – an intersection southwest of the Kirkland Union Manor.

As officers pulled up to what they determined to be a crime scene, neighbors pointed out an man down in the street with multiple gunshot wounds. The officers performed lifesaving measures until paramedics arrived and took over patient care, after which the victim was rushed to a local hospital via ambulance.

Officers and detectives begin looking into an incident that left a man with multiple gunshot wounds.

Members of the PPB’s Enhanced Community Safety Team (ECST) responded to investigate.

“His injuries were determined to be serious, but he is expected to survive,” a PPB spokesperson revealed, adding that no arrests had yet been made, and no suspect information has yet been released.
Detectives still hope to speak with people who may have information about this incident. If you have information about this case, please reference the Case No. 21-151674 when you e-mail crimetips@portlandoregon.gov.

June 9
Suspect, with rifle, arrested in Montavilla after shooting

Officers look for evidence that shots had been fired in this residential area of Montavilla – and they find it.

PPB officers were called at 10:30 p.m., to investigate a “Shots Fired” call in the northwest edge of the Montavilla neighborhood on June 9 near NE Halsey Street and 75th Avenue.

Callers to the 9-1-1 Center reported that she’d heard loud arguing, yelling – and then gunshots. Another caller said he’d seen a man armed with a rifle, “out in the street”.

This wasn’t a false alarm. Arriving officers spotted a man standing in the street, armed with a rifle.

This is the gun the law enforcement officers say they believe the suspect had been shooting at an intended victim.

“Officers directed bystanders and witnesses out of the area for their own safety,” a PPB spokesperson said. “The suspect moved behind a parked car and reemerged without the rifle, then started to run away. Officers took him into custody, and recovered the rifle stashed behind a car.”

Police found evidence of gunfire, and based upon the following investigation they believe the suspect had intentionally fired his rifle at an individual – however, nobody had been shot. The PPB’s ECST arrived and took over the investigation.

Officers took 37-year-old Tsaan Kuang Saelee into custody. Since he showed signs of recent drug use, officers requested medical personnel examine him at the scene, and he was soon taken to a local hospital by ambulance prior to booking.

Facing multiple Felony charges in connection with this shooting is 37-year-old Tsaan Kuang Saelee. MCDC booking photo

After his brief in-hospital evaluation, Saelee was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) on June 10 at 5:28 a.m. on three Felony charges: Attempted Murder, Attempted Assault in the First Degree, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. Currently, Saelee remains lodged in the MCDC in lieu of $275,000 combined bail.

June 10
Two injury shootings in one afternoon, in Lents and Centennial, strain police resources

SE Insley Street is littered with spent bullet casings; each of them documented with a yellow evidence marker.

East Precinct officers were dispatched to a “Shooting – with Weapon” call on June 10  at 4:02 p.m., near SE 82nd Avenue of Roses and Insley Street – but found the crime scene further east, near the Lents Knights of Pythias Ivanhoe Lodge, at SE 84th Avenue.

Officers located a crime scene and a substantial amount of evidence of gunfire. “A short time later, officers learned of a shooting victim being dropped off at a local hospital by private vehicle; and confirmed that the patient was injured in the shooting on SE Insley Street,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Kevin Allen.

Officers secure evidence and talk with witnesses, before ECST investigators arrive at the scene.

“The adult male victim was severely wounded, but after lifesaving treatment at the hospital he is expected to survive his injuries,” Sgt. Allen added.
The PPB’s ECST was called out and assumed the investigation; later, investigators said they believe occupants of another vehicle were involved in the shooting.

These are the handguns investigators located and secured, after the Lents shooting. PPB image

Following leads and tips from witnesses in the area, officers to locate a vehicle involved in the shooting and three firearms that were seized as evidence. Investigators will determine if they were in fact used in a crime.

They have not yet been located yet and no arrests have been made. If you have information, this is Case No. 21-157409; e-mail information to  crimetips@portlandoregon.gov.

Hours later, Centennial shooting injures neighbor watering his lawn

Evidence markers show where spent bullet casings landed in a Centennial neighborhood street.

As officers and investigators were working on the shooting case in Lents, other East Precinct officers were dispatched the evening of June 10 at 7:17 p.m. on a different shooting call.

This time, the crime scene was located in the far eastern reaches of outer East Portland, along SE 174th Avenue; a couple blocks north of SE Powell Boulevard near Marie Street, in the Centennial neighborhood.

Arriving officers found that one adult male had been shot in a leg; the victim was taken to a local hospital with what was described as non-life-threatening injuries.

Investigators believe that this was one of the guns involved in the Centennial shooting. PPB image

“Investigating officers determined that at least two people were shooting at each other,” Sgt. Allen reported. “A stray bullet struck the victim, who was just watering his front lawn at the time, and was totally uninvolved with the shooting.

“Several bullets also pierced a nearby occupied apartment, narrowly missing a child taking a bath,” Allen added.

One involved person was identified and detained; at least one other suspect is outstanding. At this time no charges have been filed in that case. A firearm was seized as evidence. If anyone has information about this case, e-mail it to crimetips@portlandoregon.gov; and reference Case No. 21-157537.

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“ECST supervisors noted that, in both these cases, outstanding call response by patrol officers to the two chaotic scenes, led to significant progress in the case investigations,” Sgt. Allen commended.

Grim statistics:
In the past week in Portland there were at least thirty shootings, ten resulting in injuries. There were also six deaths that are being investigated as homicides.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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