Police have confirmed that the 19-year-old man who was shot and killed last weekend was Andre Dupree Payton of North Portland. Police found him lying face down on the sidewalk at NW 2nd Ave. and Couch Street at around 2 am Sunday. He was transported to OHSU, but emergency medical staff were unable to save his life. He died of a gunshot wound to his chest.
Police have not yet arrested any suspect. Detectives have interviewed more than a dozen witnesses so far in the investigation, but still need to talk to more people. Officers responding to the original shooting scene estimate that there were between 100 and 200 people on the street at the time.
Police say dozens of shots were fired and some of those shots hit cars and buildings in the area. Police officers had been called out to a disturbance, just two blocks away, when the shooting started, sending weekend revelers fleeing in fear.
The site of the shooting is in the heart of the downtown entertainment area, heavily trafficked on weekend evenings.
Police say numerous gang affiliates were in the vicinity of the shooting, including the victim. But unattributed reports say Payton was not a gang member. Payton was a graduate of Grant High School from the class of 2009.
Anyone with information about this homicide is encouraged to call Detective Jim McCausland at (503) 823-0449.
Gang Outreach Workers Say Violence Has Increased
Portland's youth gang violence task force has been on high alert since August, when figures showed there had been 70 gang-related incidents this year. By comparison, police report 68 gang-related incidents for the entire year of 2009 and the same number during 2008.
"We had a huge number of incidents during August so we have been really planning and strategizing to keep a handle on this," said Tom Peavey, policy manager in the city's Office of Youth Violence Prevention. Police, parole officers and outreach workers stepped up their efforts to work with gang-involved youth. They also meet with bar and club owners to help shut down gang activity in the downtown area and elsewhere.
Peavey said the efforts seemed initially to be working, with only two incidents reported during the first half of September. Gang violence tends to spiral upward, as each shooting leads to retaliation.
The tragedy occurred just four blocks away from the teen dance club where two young women were killed by a Milwaukie man in January 2009. A second shooting victim, a 23-year-old man walked into Emanuel Hospital at 2:30 am Sunday, and was treated and released. Police told media this shooting may or be not be connected, as there was a shots fired call in the 8600 Block of North Swift Way at just before 2:00 a.m. the same morning. Investigators are trying to determine the circumstances surrounding that shots fired incident as well.
The city contracts with 10 gang outreach workers through seven different agencies to work with young people in gangs or on the fringes of gangs. More: Tonya Dickens Working to Keep Kids Safe 24/7