Police in downtown Portland have been called out to a shooting in a busy nightlife area where 2 people are dead and has left 7 others injured. The incident happened outside an underage nightclub called The Zone at around 10:30pm.
Oregon Live News who also report the events say: The seven injured have been taken to local hospitals, one is in critical condition. The suspect was also taken to hospital after apparently shooting himself and remained in critical condition, stated Detective Mary Wheat, a Portland police spokeswoman.
Police say they didn’t know of any connection between the gunman and the two people who were killed. By time police had made their way to the scene, one of the victims is a woman had died. The other victim also 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, people where running around and screaming witnesses said. The scene had been described as chaotic.
Witness Aaron Hull age-18, from Salem said that he and some friends had been trying to get into The Zone and were not far away when they had heard the gun shots. As they ducked and ran, they had heard about eight to nine shots; Hull said it “sounded like a whole clip got emptied.”
When they walked around the block he and his friends had turned round and saw bodies on the lying on sidewalk. “People were screaming and running.” said Hull
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 had not been called out, but homicide detectives were called out to the scene to investigate the shootings.
Lt. Mike Leloff said referring to the Gang Response Team: “Kells is not a usual spot that we get called out to,” .
Portland City has seen more of uniformed police presence on the city’s east side the past week “Operation Cool Down”which is in response to a string of gang-related shootings in North, Northeast, Southeast Portland and Gresham over the past month.
As officers tried to sort through a what has been described as a chaotic scene, witnesses have given accounts of more than a few shots being fired and seeing a number of people lay injured on the sidewalk.
Alexandra Paulus, 18, said that his 16-year-old friend had been shot while waiting in the line outside The Zone Nightclub. His mother telephoned Paulus to go downtown to help find out what happened to her son as she was on her way there, too. Paulus said her friend had been shot in the leg, but his wound had not been serious from what she had seen.
Joel Walker, 27, had been heading into downtown Portland saw at least three people loaded into ambulances. Walker was to help a friend open his bratwurst cart business which is across the street from Kells.
Walker said: “One of the girls looked pretty bad. Her friends were crying.”
Walker who has recently returned from Iraq serving as part of the Marine Reserves in April last year said: “I thought I left all that stuff back in Iraq,”
It has been revealed this morning that the two victims who lost their lives were both girls and foreign exchange students on a one year program with Rotary District 5100.
The program’s chairman Chuck Itoh told Oregon Live News sources that a host parent had arranged for the students to celebrate a fellow student’s birthday.
Itoh said this morning in a statement: “Apparently, they all felt the place they were going to go was well-established and a very reputable place.” He said that he had been in hospitals most of the night and informing the relatives of the students about what has happened. Itoh continued: “Unfortunately, this incident took place by a stranger, on the street I understand. A stranger began shooting in the crowd for unknown reasons.”
Portland police Detective Mary Wheat said: “A lot of these are juvenile victims. We have poeple involved in this from all over.”
The victims have been taken to OHSU Hospital and Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Medical Center for treatment.
The suspect who also shot himself is still in am critical condition as are two of his victims.
Police have also recovered the gun that was used in the shootings.
Source: Oregon Live News.