Lents visitor killed in ‘hail of bullets’

Although very little has been revealed about the murder, here’s what we found out about this unusual homicide …

The Portland Police Bureau Mobile Precinct motor home, set up on SE 84th Avenue just north of SE Knapp Street, provides shelter from the cold for officers as the murder investigation begins.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
There wasn’t a consensus among the Lents neighborhood residents who spoke with East Portland News on the evening of December 10 about how many gunshots rang out about 7:30 p.m.

Five outer East Portland neighbors said they wouldn’t speak “on the record” – but each recounted hearing a number of shots in front of 7203 SE 84th Avenue – ranging from six to “more than a dozen” gun blasts.

Police look for evidence in the street in front of the house where a man was gunned down.

What became very clear to all who were drawn out by the shots to see what happened was that a man, later identified as a Columbia County resident – 41-year-old Marc Anthony Leverett – lay bleeding in the home’s driveway.

Shortly after medical personnel arrived, paramedics declared Leverett to be dead.

“It sounded like a string of firecrackers going off down the street,” said John Tanio, a resident who did agree to talk. “I couldn’t say how many shots; but there were many – as if someone was being ‘mowed down in a hail of bullets’, not just shot.

Standing in the freezing fog, investigators discuss the evidence they’ve found.

“It was very surprising, because it is so cold out tonight,” Tanio continued, saying that another reason the shooting surprised him is that “the neighborhood is improving. Many more people who live here own their houses; I think that really helps.”

He didn’t know the family who lives in the house in front of which Leverett was killed, Tanio told East Portland News. “There are always a lot of cars and trucks and motorcycles around. I think they work on them, like a home business.”

A police officer ducks into a warm patrol car to escape the bone-chilling cold.

A resident of a house that public records shows is owned by the Pine family did speak with one reporter, saying he’d been working on a vehicle for Leverett.

As officers braved the unusually cold weather, they discovered that the deceased lived in St. Helens, and had a police record – but had not been in trouble with the police in thirteen years. He died in front of the home where he was known, but apparently there was no reason to suspect anyone in the home of the crime.

On into the night, the intersection of SE 84th Avenue and SE Knapp Street was filled with police cars, vans, and the Mobile Precinct, while Homicide Detectives and Criminalists from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Forensic Evidence Division went to work on the case.

Police criminalists set up a “TotalStation” to take measurements they’ll use to diagram the crime scene.

“The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined that Leverett died of multiple gunshot wounds,” said PPB Sgt. Pete Simpson. “Detectives have very little information, and are asking for the public’s help to solve this homicide.”

This Multnomah County Detention Center booking photo of the victim, Marc Anthony Leverett, is from his last arrest in 2000 for being a Felon in Possession of Firearm.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact Detective Rico Beniga at (503) 823-0457, rico.beniga@portlandoregon.gov; or, Detective Molly Daul at (503) 823-0991, molly.daul@portlandoregon.gov.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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