Lents shootings tied to December death

It appears that an outer East Portland altercation which ended in death late last year, led to revenge shootings along SE 92nd Avenue. Here’s what’s known …

To the north of the area where gunshots peppered a house in the Lents neighborhood, police close down southbound SE 92nd Avenue at Foster Road, forcing a school bus to make a detour.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The saga that ended on April 20, with the arrest of a man accused of shooting up a Lents neighborhood home the day before, actually began late last year.

On December 28 at 12:30 p.m. Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers were dispatched to a reported  fight on SE 82nd Avenue near Clinton Street, a block south of Division Street. There they found an unconscious man who paramedics treated at the scene and sent to a hospital, but he later died of unspecified injures.

PPB Detectives identified 42-year-old Alphonzo Leon Johnson as the suspect; and ten days after the confrontation, he was accused of second-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault.

In January, court records show, a Multnomah County Court grand jury delivered a “No Bill”, which means that the Grand Jury did not believe there was a sufficient amount of evidence or probable cause to indict him, and the case against Johnson was dropped.

Officers move in to the area of the house and cars, struck by bullets earlier that morning.

On April 23, Johnson told reporters that his house on SE Henry Street, near 92nd Avenue, was shot up on the morning of April 19.

“Officers arrived at 7:49 a.m., and located the occupied residence that had been struck by gunfire, as well as two nearby parked and unoccupied vehicles also damaged by bullets,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Burley.

During the investigation, Burley said, officers also learned that a dog in the home was also struck by gunfire and suffered injuries.

Johnson confirmed that his pit bull, named BamBam, had been struck in the neck, but was already recovering at home after being treated at a veterinary hospital.

In total, police found five bullet holes at the crime scene, three in the house.

More police units move into the area, while the shooting investigation continues.

The shootings are in retaliation, Johnson said, for the death of 35-year-old Jonathan Lehman, who came at him with a meat tenderizer mallet on that December day. Johnson responded by punching the man; the assailant fell to the ground and hit his head.

Johnson said that he believes the shootings were in revenge for Lehman’s death, and that apparently some people feel that “justice wasn’t served” in this case.

Police investigators learned of a vehicle that was associated with the shooting suspect, and on April 20 about 12:30 p.m. officers spotted the car near SE 145th Avenue and Division Street.

“After seeing the police, the driver abandoned the vehicle and fled the area on foot and was not located,” Burley reported.

Facing several felony charges in this shooting incident is 36-year-old Anthony Wade Skillings. MCDC booking photo

“They did locate 36-year-old Anthony Wade Skillings, after a witness told police that he’d been in the vehicle also,” Burley added.

Skillings was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 9:42 p.m. the evening of his arrest on charges of Attempted Aggravated Murder, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Felon in Possession of a Firearm (two counts), and a parole violation.

At his arraignment, the next morning, a probable cause affidavit introduced in Multnomah County Court showed that Skillings told investigators the driver of the Jeep in which he was a passenger was a close friend of Lehman. Further, the affidavit revealed that Skillings claimed the driver got him to participate in the drive-by shooting by threatening to harm his children.

The judge dropped the Attempted Aggravated Murder charge against Skillings to Attempted Murder, still a Class A Felony charge, but upheld the weapons charges, and added a charge of Second Degree Animal Abuse, a Misdemeanor, for having injured the dog.

Skillings remains in custody, in lieu of $261,500 combined bail, at Inverness Jail.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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