Two dead, seven hurt in downtown Portland shooting
by The Oregonian
Sunday January 25, 2009, 12:05 AM
Two people were killed late Saturday when a gunman opened fire in a downtown Portland area busy with bars and nightclubs.
Seven others were transported to local hospitals, one in critical condition. The suspect was also transported and remained in critical condition, according to Detective Mary Wheat, a Portland police spokeswoman.
Police don't know of any connection between the gunman and the two people who were killed, one of whom, a woman, who died downtown and another victim who died later at a hospital.
"I don't remember having something like this in Portland," Wheat said.
The shooting started in front of The Zone nightclub on Southwest Second Avenue, and witnesses described a chaotic scene.
Southwest Second Avenue and Pine Street.
Aaron Hull, 18, of Salem said he and some friends had tried to get into The Zone and were 30 to 40 yards away when they heard gunfire. As they ducked and ran, they heard about nine shots; it "sounded like a whole clip got emptied," Hull said.
They walked around the block and turned to see bodies on the sidewalk. Hull said people were screaming and running.
The Portland Police Bureau's Gang Enforcement Team Lt. Mike Leloff said the shooting does not appear to be gang-related. The bureau's Gang Violence Response Team was not called out, but homicide detectives were called to investigate.
"Kells is not a usual spot that we get called out to," Leloff said, referring to the police gang enforcement team.
Police have had a heightened uniformed presence on the city's east side the past week during a special "Operation Cool Down" in response to an increased volley of gang-related shootings in North, Northeast, Southeast Portland and Gresham.
As officers tried to sort through a chaotic scene, witnesses gave similar accounts of multiple shots being fired and numerous people injured.
Alexandra Paulus, 18, said a 16-year-old friend was shot while standing in line outside The Zone. His mother had called Paulus to go downtown and help find out what happened to her son as she headed there, too. Paulus said her friend had been shot in the leg, and his wound did not appear to be serious.
Joel Walker, 27, was going downtown to help a friend open his bratwurst cart business across the street from Kells. He saw at least three people loaded into ambulances.
"One of the girls looked pretty bad," he said. "Her friends were crying."
Walker returned from Iraq as a part of the Marine Reserves in April. "I thought I left all that
stuff back in Iraq," he said.