Teen arrested in ballroom shooting

Fight broke out in November in downtown Vancouver




Gang detectives on Friday said they arrested a 16-year-old gang member in the shooting of another teenager during a fight that broke out in November during a hip-hop and rap DJ dance at the Vancouver Ballroom.

The alleged gunman, whose name was not immediately released, is well-known member of the Hoover gang, a subset of the Crips gang in Portland, said Sgt. Tim Huberty with the interagency Southwest Washington Safe Streets Task Force.

The suspect was arrested in Portland for a warrant charging first-degree aggravated assault in the 1:15 a.m. Nov. 28 shooting outside the ballroom at 808 Main St. in downtown Vancouver, Huberty said.

The suspect was taken to the Multnomah County detention center, and officials plan to extradite him to Vancouver next week to face charges.

The victim, Jeffrey Anthony Ali, 19, an Oregon resident, was shot in the hip and released from a hospital soon after the incident.

“It’s unknown if he’s gang-affected or not,” Huberty said.

The hip-hop rap dance had been organized by a Vancouver high-school student, who was serving as DJ, for people 15 to 25. Alcohol was not served and the DJ is “a very nice kid,” Huberty said.

At one point, the fight broke out between two unidentified girls or women in the ballroom.

Several males then joined in the brawl, which grew to about 30 people. When security guards ordered them to leave, the melee continued outside, where Ali was shot. At least six shots were fired, police said.

Detectives have interviewed many people who were at the scene, Huberty said.

They determined that some of the people at the dance and fight were affiliated with several black gangs that are identified by the Portland neighborhood they live in, Huberty said: Lincoln Park Bloods, Unthank Park Bloods, Rolling ‘60s Crips and Hoover Crips.

But he said it’s not known what started the fight, and whether it occurred because of gang rivalries.

“These two sets of Bloods and Crips have moments of truce between them and moments of conflict,” Huberty said.

Huberty said a few of the gang members live in Clark County, but most live in the Portland area, where they commit violent crimes including robberies and traffic in illegal drugs including methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.

Detectives have not yet identified the handgun used in the shooting, but believe it was a 9 mm or larger bore.

Gang trends in Vancouver differ from those in Portland, Huberty said.

“We probably recognize more Latino gangs here in Vancouver,” he said. “They are probably more prevalent than any other ethnic gangs.”

Latino gangs here sometimes include white members, he said.

A Vancouver gang member pleaded guilty in February in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to selling cocaine and crack on several occasions last year.

Sentencing for Shawn A. Goldfinch, 27, before Judge Robert Bryan was set for April 30.

According to his plea agreement, Goldfinch, a known member of the Norteno street gang, sold cocaine and crack cocaine in Vancouver. Goldfinch was on arrested on Sept. 10.

The Safe Streets Task Force includes officials with the Vancouver Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, FBI and state Department of Corrections and its main focus is violent gangs.

“We definitely have a presence of gangs in Vancouver that keeps us focused and busy in our work,” Huberty said.

John Branton: 360-735-4513 or john.branton@columbian.com.