PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Police on Sunday were getting help from the FBI in investigating the latest round of shootings in Portland amid a “cycle of violence” that the city’s police chief believes is gang-related.
At least three shootings were reported over the weekend. A woman was killed in a shooting Sunday morning about an hour after a man suffered serious gunshot injuries in another shooting, police said. The man was expected to recover.
On Saturday morning, a woman was shot in the shoulder as she was driving, but she is expected to survive, police said. Authorities believe the shooter was in another vehicle.
The Enhanced Community Safety Team (ECST) responded to investigate this incident. They believe that the victim was shot from another vehicle as she was driving. Multiple rounds entered her side window (photo). She was struck once, in the shoulder, and seriously wounded.
No suspect information is available at this time. Investigators are hoping to hear from any witnesses who may have seen this shooting or the suspect vehicle on Southeast Stark Street around Southeast 119th Avenue.
Police said the department’s Enhanced Community Safety Team responded to the shooting. Eight more officers were working on the team this weekend following an increase in shootings, Chief Chuck Lovell said Saturday during a press conference about the effort which had been announced Friday by the city council and Mayor Ted Wheeler. In addition, FBI agents were partnering with police to more quickly investigate all shootings in hopes of preventing retaliatory shootings that may result, which can lead to even more shootings, said Kieran Ramsey, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Portland field office.
According to a statement announcing the joint police and FBI effort from the mayor and city commissioners, authorities found that there are “imminent” efforts from outside groups, some traveling from Washington and California, to “engage and advance gun violence” in the city.
When pressed about what kind of groups were involved, Lovell said thought the shootings were gang-related and involved retaliation.
“There’s a cycle of violence here that we’re trying to break,” he said.
Since the beginning of May, before Sunday, police have responded to 40 reports of shots fired, with four people killed and 14 injured in shootings, Lovell said. There have also been 31 homicides in the city so far this year, compared with four by this time last year and three at this time in 2019, he said.
Seven people that were shot at a vigil for a shooting victim in Gresham last month. The statement from Wheeler and the city council noted that there are several upcoming vigils and funerals that could be targets for more shootings.
“Our goal is to deescalate and lower the tensions in the community that are fueling this crisis,” they said.