Murder in Montavilla remains a mystery

CRIME STOPPERS: A cash reward is being offered for information about who shot a 42-year-old man to death, next to the “Top of the Hill Tavern” on NE Glisan Street …

Detectives begin their investigation of a homicide that took place here, on NE Glisan Street, a couple of blocks west of I-205.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Neighbors said they were surprised by loud bangs – some said it sounded like fireworks – on the rainy evening of October 15.

But it wasn’t fireworks. Outer East Portland neighbors shortly afterward discovered a man’s body, curled up in the fetal position, lying absolutely still on the rain-soaked pavement in the middle of NE 92nd Place, just a few feet south of NE Glisan Street.

Police cordon off a large crime scene area, as seen here looking north along NE 92nd Place from NE Everett Street.

“I couldn’t imagine why anyone would be shooting off firecrackers during a downpour,” said neighbor Felicia Baxter. “It sounded like three, really loud ‘bangs’ – and that was it.”

When the rain let up, Baxter said she ventured out and was shocked to see what looked like a motionless man in the road. “Police came in from every direction and shooed everyone away.”

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Sgt. Peter Simpson confirmed Baxter’s account. “At 7:52 p.m., officers assigned to East Precinct responded to the report of a shooting at that location. Officers located one deceased person.”

Officers look for witnesses, as homicide detectives begin their investigation.

Within minutes, officers cordoned off a large area along NE Glisan Street, from NE Everett Street on the south to SE 88th Avenue to the west and to the I-205 overpass to the east.

By 8:30 p.m., PPB’s “Mobile Precinct” had rolled into the area, and homicide detectives began their investigation.

Officials say this man, 42-year-old Durell Gee Davis, was killed by a gunshot wound. PPB-supplied image

It didn’t take them long for detectives to identify the victim: 42-year-old Durell Gee Davis.

The following day, Simpson announced that the Oregon State Medical Examiner had performed an autopsy and determined that Davis died of a gunshot wound.

But, what remains a mystery is why Davis was shot and left to die on that windswept and rainy evening.

“The Portland Police Bureau, in cooperation with Crime Stoppers of Oregon, is asking for the public’s help in solving this homicide,” Simpson said. “Homicide detectives would like to hear from anyone who has information about this shooting.”

Throughout the night, NE 92nd Avenue is blocked off, as this homicide investigation continues.

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in this case, or any unsolved felony, and you can remain anonymous when you contact them.

Leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at their website: CLICK HERE, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information. Visit to download the Crime Stoppers App for the iPhone or Droid.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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