Three more murdered, as gun violence rises

As men die in the Centennial and Montavilla neighborhoods – and a woman is murdered at one of the victim’s wake – one wonders if outer East Portland murders-by-gun will be increasing, unabated …

Calls for police to investigate shootings, and subsequent murders, continues to escalate in outer East Portland.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

With homicides happening so often in outer East Portland, neighbors have lost count of them. The latest firearm-related murders took place on July 25 and July 27.

Days before the homicide count for 2020 clicked up another notch on July 10 – as eighteen-year-old Shai-India Harris was shot to death on a Lents street; and ratcheted up again, when 19-year-old Julian Heredia gunned down later that day in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood – Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officials decried the quadrupling of homicides, year-over-year from 2019.

In a July 14 podcast, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said, “The loss of the Gun Violence Reduction Team, in particular, has had a diminishing effect on how we’re able to investigate shootings, which are some of the most important crimes that we investigate.”

Later, at a press conference, Mayor Ted Wheeler helpfully advised, “If you have information about one [or more] of these crimes, please share it with us so we can solve these cases.”

May 25:
Man dies in Centennial neighborhood shooting

Police are called to the Centennial neighborhood, after two men are shot; one of them dies.

Medical and police first-responders were dispatched on May at 5:36 p.m., PPB officers a minute later, at 5:36 p.m. to the 15800 block of SE Division Street – near the Fortune Star Lounge, and the Aurora Asian Massage Spa – in the Centennial neighborhood, as a result of a “Shooting; with Weapon” call.

“When East Precinct officers arrived, they found two adult male victims with gunshot wounds; one victim of the shooting was pronounced deceased, the second has been transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries,” reported Public Information Officer Lieutenant Tina Jones.

As night falls officers stand by, as PPB Homicide Division detectives begin gathering evidence.

Jones later revealed that the murdered man had been identified by as 27-year-old Tyrell Penney of Sacramento, California. “The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office has determined the cause and manner of death to be homicide by gunshot wound.”

If you have information about the shooting, and have not been contacted by investigators, contact Detective William Winters at, or Detective Travis Law at, about “Incident #20-232529.”

Centennial murder leads to another, in Montavilla, three days later

Due to a hostile crowd after a stabbing at the wake of Tyrell Penney, police close off this Montavilla street far from the site of the investigation.

On July 28, at 10:39 p.m., East Precinct officers were dispatched to investigate a disturbance in the Montavilla neighborhood, on NE 92nd Place, a couple houses north of East Burnside Street.

“When officers arrived at the location they found multiple victims with knife wounds,” Lieutenant Jones reported.

Earlier that evening, a group of people met for a vigil near the on SE Division Street near the area of the shooting resulting in Tyrell Penney’s death; some members of the group returned to the Montavilla residence to continue the vigil.

“Approximately 20-30 people were in the residence when a large disturbance occurred involving multiple participants; during the disturbance, two subjects were stabbed,” Jones said.

“Officers and medical personnel attempted life saving measures, but one subject was pronounced deceased at the scene and PPB Homicide Detectives were summoned to assist,” added Jones.

“Officers and detectives encountered hostility and a lack of cooperation during their attempts to conduct this investigation; but, believe there were multiple witnesses to what transpired,” concluded Jones.

Officials say that 34-year-old Aja Rhone-Spears was stabbed to death during the wake of another murder victim. Family provided image, via PPB

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause and manner of death to be homicide by stabbing. The deceased has been identified as Aja Rhone-Spears, born 03/09/86.

If anyone has information about this incident and has not been contacted by investigators, they are encouraged to contact Detective Brad Clifton at 503-823-0696, or Detective Mike Greenlee at 503-823-0871,

July 27:
Montavilla shooting leaves
man deceased

An officer marks where bullet casings were found at this shooting, in the Montavilla neighborhood.

On July 27 at 10:40 p.m., East Precinct officers were dispatched to investigate “a person being shot” call on NE 87th Avenue, north of NE Glisan Street, adjacent to Multnomah University.

“Officers found an adult male suffering from multiple gunshot wounds; they attempted lifesaving measures, but the victim died at the scene,” said PPB Public Information Officer Lieutenant Greg Pashley.

Officials say this man, 19-year-old Mister Ford, was killed on this street – now little used, because the nearby university has been closed due to COVID-19. Family provided image via PPB

The victim of the shooting was identified as 19-year-old Mister Ford, of Portland. “The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined the cause of Ford’s death was from gunshot wounds and the manner of Ford’s death a homicide,” Pashley said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Detective Scott Broughton at 503-823-3774, or Detective Rico Beniga at 503-823-0457,

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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