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News / Northwest

55 homicides in Portland in 2020 — the most in 26 years — involved victims from 8 months old to 71

By Maxine Bernstein, oregonlive.com
Published: January 5, 2021, 8:19am

PORTLAND — Seven fatal shootings in December pushed Portland’s homicides to 55 in 2020, marking the most killings in the city in 26 years.

The last time Portland recorded as many was in 1994, when there also were 55 homicides, according to police.

It remains to be seen if the trend will continue now as it did in the early 1990s, when there were 50 killings in 1991, 46 in 1992 and 54 in 1993. The 2020 count is still far below the peak of 70 that the city reached in 1987.

The victims last year ranged in age from 8 months to 71 years old. Most were men.

Forty-one of the killings resulted from shootings.

There were 15 homicides in July, the most in a single month in more than three decades.

Nearly half of the killings last year — 26 — remain unsolved with no arrests made.

The homicides included one fatal shooting by police involving a Gresham officer handling a call in Portland.

Portland is among many big U.S. cities experiencing a significant increase in gun violence and homicides. Police here attribute the jump to isolation caused by the pandemic, staffing shortages partly caused by shifting officers to respond to mass racial justice protests, dozens of retirements and the absence of the Gun Violence Reduction Team, disbanded to address criticism that it disproportionately focused on Black people.

Here are the people who died in homicides in Portland:

1. DeAndre D. Rouse, 28

Jan. 4

Shot at 5:06 a.m. near Southeast 151st Avenue and Stark Street. Rouse was found dead at the scene, pinned between a car and a cyclone fence on the west side of 151st Avenue. An autopsy found he died from a shot to the lower right back. Seven 9mm and three .40-caliber casings were clustered on the east side of 151st. Gunfire had struck cars, houses and property on the street. Police arrested two men, accused of speeding away from the scene in a car and ditching two guns tied to the shooting.

Status: Christopher James Watkins, 20, and Timothy Edward Burks, 21, have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

2. Benjamin Taylor Johnson, 31

March 30

Shot about 3 p.m. outside USA Pawn & Jewelry at 8001 S.E. Powell Blvd. Johnson, the shop manager, was killed after someone tried to steal from the store, his sister said.

Status: Joseph David Schneider, 22, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder with a firearm, first-degree robbery with a firearm and unlawful use of a firearm.

3. William O’Connor, 52

May 4

Shot in a home in the 13600 block of Northeast Milton Street. Police responded to a call at 7:37 a.m., found two men shot and recovered a gun. O’Connor’s father, Michael O’Connor, 78, shot his son and then killed himself, police said.

Status: Ruled a murder-suicide.

4. Kenneth Lee Griffin, 53

May 19

Police haven’t released any information on Griffin’s killing, how he died or where, saying the case remains under investigation. They made his name public only at the request of The Oregonian/OregonLive as this list was compiled. An obituary said Griffin was born in Mississippi and moved with his mother to Portland in 1977. He grew up in North Portland and graduated from Roosevelt High School, where he played football and wrestled. After high school, he won trophies for weightlifting, bench pressing more than 300 pounds. He worked on construction of the Rose Garden.

Status: No arrests.

5. Israel Berry, 49

May 31

Gresham police shot and killed Berry after they were called to a disturbance at 9:35 p.m. in the 12400 block of Southeast Kelly Street involving a man making threats. Gresham police were taking Portland emergency calls due to several large demonstrations in the city.

Status: The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said the police shooting is still under investigation.

6. DeAnnzello McDonald, 28

June 11

Shot near Northeast 162nd Avenue and Hoyt Street about 12:35 a.m.

Status: No arrests.

7. and 8. Cassy Leaton, 22, and Najaf “Nate” Hobbs, 39

June 16

Found stabbed about 3:45 p.m. at a fourplex in the 1400 block of Northeast Davis Street where they lived. A man squatting in the building’s basement was acting as their landlord and got mad when they changed their locks, police said. The squatter then shut off their water and attacked them when they confronted him, police said. Hobbs was found dead in the basement, while Leaton ran out to the front yard to call for help. Hobbs suffered a stab wound to the upper left shoulder that penetrated his chest and abdominal cavity. Leaton suffered a wound to her upper right back that penetrated her chest and right lung.

Status: Police arrested Phillip Nelson, 39, the alleged squatter, by tracking a purple bus he drove. They found it parked at the Burlingame Fred Meyer. Nelson has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.

9. Evelin Navarro-Barajas, 23

June 18

Found shot at 11:49 p.m. in the 6700 block of Northeast Killingsworth Street. A man, also wounded, was taken to a hospital and survived.

Status: No arrests.

10. Eunice Castillo-Ross, 69

June 21

Killed at a home in the 8400 block of Southeast 138th Drive. Police did a welfare check at 6:51 p..m., saw a woman down inside the home and heard someone else racking a gun. Officers retreated and called for the Special Emergency Reaction Team and Crisis Negotiation Team. As the tactical squad was getting into position, some heard a single gunshot inside the house, police said. A robot with a video camera was sent in and transmitted images of a wounded man. Police took the man, Eric A. Ackerman, 64, to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police said Ackerman killed Castillo-Ross and then himself.

Status: Ruled a murder-suicide.

11. Sharon Carr, 71

July 5

Police responded at 11:24 a.m. to a disturbance in the 400 block of Southeast 99th Avenue. They said they found Carr’s son, Todd Allen Carr, 54, outside the apartment. He told investigators he was experiencing delusions and came home and thought his mother was possessed by demons so he punched her in the face, cut her throat and removed her eyes, according to a probable cause affidavit. Investigators found her eyes in the kitchen garbage, according to police.

Status: Todd Carr has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder constituting domestic violence.

12. Cody Nicholas Vickers, 32

July 8

Stabbed about 4 p.m. in the 1300 block of Southeast Water Street near the Hawthorne Bridge.

Status: Stephen Bache, 52, was arrested but the charge was dismissed after a Multnomah County grand jury found he acted in self-defense.

13. Dominique Marcel Dunn, 28

July 9

Shot about 8:15 p.m. in the parking lot of a strip club off Southwest Barbur Boulevard.

Status: Jordan Christopher Clark, 26, of Tualatin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. He is accused of trying to kill two other men that night.

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14. Nadezhda Volobuev, 61

July 10

Stabbed in the kitchen of her home in the 16300 block of Southeast Foster Road. Police responded just after 9 a.m. to do a welfare check. Volobuev’s daughter, Angelina Marie Volobuev, 30, had called police, saying she had just killed her mother, according to court records. She told officers she grabbed a knife and started stabbing her mother because her mother disapproved of her lifestyle, according to a court document.

Status: The daughter has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon constituting domestic violence.

15. Shai’India Harris, 18

July 10

The recent Parkrose High School graduate was shot about 12:45 p.m. in the 7400 block of Southeast 84th Avenue.

Status: Her ex-boyfriend, Kceon Colbert, 18, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

16. Julian Heredia, 19

July 10

Shot just after 9 p.m. in the 13600 block of Southeast Powell Boulevard.

Status: No arrests.

17. Jeffrey Sloan, 67

July 10

Died from blunt force trauma after a pistol-whip strike to his head in his home on Northeast Dekum Street, police said. A family friend, Damian Raufmalik Lucas, 36, was arrested. Lucas had gone to Sloan’s home July 2 to repay $10 to Sloan’s wife. Jeffrey Sloan apparently joked that Lucas shouldn’t be “cheap” when Lucas said he had a $20 bill and asked for change, according to a probable cause affidavit. Lucas replied he was tired of being disrespected, left and returned with a 1911-style handgun and struck Sloan once in the head, the affidavit said. Sloan lost consciousness and died eight days later.

Status: Lucas has pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with second-degree murder, first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, felon in possession of a gun, attempted first-degree robbery, menacing and tampering with evidence.

18., 19. and 20. Lawrence Murphy, 77, Elmer E. Hughes, 45, and Tashia Cobb, 40

July 17

Police responded twice to a home in the 2500 block of Northeast 122nd Avenue and discovered three bodies on the second visit. A caller to 911 reported hearing shots fired about 4:30 p.m. Police went to the home about an hour later but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary and didn’t get a response from anyone inside the home, according to court records. They were summoned back to the house about 10 p.m. when a friend discovered two bodies outside the home in the back near the garage. Hughes and Cobb had been shot once in the head and Murphy had been shot in the back, police said. The following day, Brett Pruett, 59, the neighbor to the south, told his girlfriend that he had shot all three, according to prosecutors. Pruett’s aunt had owned the home where the victims lived, but she had recently died and deeded the property to her granddaughter. Pruett apparently was angry that Hughes was paying the rent to the granddaughter, according to police. He said he shot Hughes first, then Cobb because she kept screaming and then Murphy when he appeared to be on his cellphone calling 911, according to court records.

Status: Pruett, 59, has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of first-degree murder with a firearm, domestic violence assault and unlawful use of a firearm. Pruett also is accused of assaulting his girlfriend with the butt of a .44-caliber revolver that is the suspected weapon used in the triple homicide, according to court records.

21. Tyrell Nathaniel Penney, 37

July 25

Shot about 5:30 p.m. outside a strip club at Southeast Division Street and 158th Avenue. His cousin, Masico “Mase” Laveral Walker Jr., was shot five times and survived.

Status: Thomas E. Cooper, 32, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

22. Derrick James Jensen, 32

July 26

Shot about 11 p.m. in the 6100 block of North Marine Drive. The shooting apparently followed a dispute over minor damage to a car near a spot where speed racing was occurring, police said.

Status: No arrests.

23. Mister Ford, 19

July 27

Shot about 10:40 p.m. while in bed in the 700 block of Northeast 87th Avenue.

Status: No arrests.

24. Jordan Lee Louis, 22

July 28

Shot at 7:27 p.m. while walking near Woodlawn Park in the 800 block of Northeast Dekum Street. Police said three cars drove up and people got out and sprayed Louis with bullets in an ambush-style killing. More than 50 shell casings were found at the scene from three guns.

Status: No arrest.

25. Aja Rhone-Spears, 34

July 28

Stabbed while attending a memorial vigil for Tyrell Nathaniel Penney, 27, of Sacramento, who was killed in a shooting earlier in July. The stabbing occurred at the Southeast Division home of the mother of the man who had been shot along with Penney but survived.

Status: No arrests.

26. James Richard Greenwood, 24

Aug. 12

One of two people shot about 5:48 a.m. in a home in the 11500 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard. An officer found a woman lying on top of Greenwood. She had been wounded in the chest and arm. She told police who shot them, saying it was related to “money and drugs,” according to a court affidavit. She told police Greenwood frequently bought heroin from her, the affidavit said.

Status: Police got an arrest warrant for Ryan Michael Allen, 29, who took his own life on Aug. 13 as a Southwest Washington Regional SWAT unit tried to take him into custody, police said.

27. Lee Hudson, 69

Aug. 16

Found dead about 6:45 p.m. inside a home in the 1100 block of Southwest Stephenson Court. He was attacked with a hammer, according to court records.

Status: Police arrested Robert Duane McGowan, 66, accused of second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon. McGowan was found unable to assist in his own defense and is at the Oregon State Hospital for treatment.

28. Julio Montee, 25

Aug. 19

Shot at 16124 S.E. Alder St. about 7:39 a.m.

Status: A grand jury found Jesse Hultquist, 25, acted in self-defense and returned no charges against him.

29. Thomas Hammond, 66

Aug. 20

Shot about 4 p.m. in the 4300 block of Northeast 90th Avenue. Homicide detectives asked residents between Northeast Prescott Street and Northeast Skidmore Street from Northeast 85th Avenue to Northeast 92nd Avenue for home security system footage during the hour leading up to the killing.

Status: No arrests.

30. Sammie Lee West III, 20

Aug. 22

Shot at 12:34 a.m. in the 13900 block of Southeast Main Street.

Status: No arrests.

31. Jaelin James Scott, 16

Aug. 27

One of four people shot at 9:02 p.m. at Gateway Discovery Park, near the 10500 block of Northeast Halsey Street. Three young adults survived. Scott attended Sabin and Irvington Elementary K-8 before going on to Grant High School and Helensview School.

Status: No arrests.

32. Aaron “Jay” Danielson, 39

Aug. 29

Shot at 8:46 p.m. on Southwest Third Avenue near Alder Street after attending a pro-Trump car rally that passed through downtown. Danielson, a supporter of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, was walking with another Patriot Prayer follower. They were confronted by Michael Reinoehl, 48, a self-described antifascist activist who said he provided security at Portland’s social justice protests throughout the summer. Surveillance video shows Reinoehl emerging from an alcove of a parking garage before firing at Danielson.

Status: Four officers from several Washington law enforcement agencies assigned to the U.S. Marshals Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force fatally shot Reinoehl while trying to arrest him in Washington on a warrant. The police shooting remains under investigation.

33. Gus Dino Komas, 50

Sept. 1

Assaulted about 4:30 a.m. and found unconscious on Northeast Ivy Street, west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. He was breathing and taken to a hospital, where he died hours later.

Status: No arrests.

34. Lasalle Jamal Shakier, 29

Sept. 9

Shot at 6:58 a.m. in the 6600 block of Northeast Columbia Boulevard.

Status: Donald Anthony Beckwith, 31, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, felon in possession of a gun and unlawful use of a firearm. He told court officials he didn’t know Shakier.

35. Christopher M. Klein, 30

Sept. 11

Shot multiple times about 9:30 p.m. near East Burnside Street and 122nd Avenue.

Status: No arrests.

36. James Allen Anderson, 45

Sept. 21

Stabbed about 9:15 a.m. in his home in the 8400 block of North Interstate Place. Police arrested his brother-in-law Jonathan C. Creswell, 32, who had called police. Creswell lived in a tiny home in the driveway of the residence and said he stabbed Anderson when he refused to turn down the music inside the house, a probable cause affidavit said. Creswell claimed he acted in self-defense when Anderson put his hands on Creswell’s shoulder and neck, according to the affidavit. Anderson died from a chest wound. Police said they found a small paring knife inside Creswell’s tiny home.

Status: Creswell has pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter constituting domestic violence and unlawful use of a weapon.

37. and 38. Amber Coughtry, 41, and Billy Lewnes, 41

Sept. 29

Shot while both were inside a car near North Victory Boulevard and North Force Avenue. Police responded to a 911 call around 5 a.m. and found Lewnes and his girlfriend dead.

Status: No arrests.

39. Michael Epps Jr., 38

Oct. 1

Shot at 5:31 a.m. at 11104 N.E. Sandy Blvd.

Status: Quentin Pernell Blackmon, 30, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, the attempted murder of another man at the same scene, felon in possession of a gun and unlawful use of a weapon.

40. Jimmy Lee Melton, 52

Oct. 1

Shot at 7:46 p.m. at 4726 N.E. 111th Ave.

Status: No arrests.

41. Shawn Fujioka, 23

Oct. 6

Shot in a room at the Marriott on Southwest Naito Parkway in the early morning as he celebrated his birthday. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Status: Abdikadir Osman, 22, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon. Osman, tied to the Young Come Up gang, allegedly shot Fujioka when he was asked to leave the birthday party, according to a source familiar with the investigation but not authorized to speak on the case.

42. Milo Raney-Hill, 8 months

Oct. 10

The baby’s father, Isaiah Hill, 19, told police that he shook, squeezed and dropped the baby on a bed, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Paramedics had responded to a 911 call from the baby’s mother after Hill had called her, telling her that the baby was having a seizure and difficulty breathing. An ambulance arrived at Hill’s Southwest Portland home and took the baby to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, where the baby was on life support before he died.

Status: Hill has pleaded not guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

43. Huarleen Bain, 40

Oct. 23

Found dead inside a burning car at 10:48 p.m. near Northeast 148th Avenue and San Rafael Street. Police have not released how he was killed.

Status: No arrests.

44. Noah Terry, 21

Oct. 24

Shot at 9:34 p.m. near Southeast 48th Avenue and Division Street. He was taken by private vehicle to a hospital, where he was declared dead.

Status: Police arrested Dario Papa-Vicente, 23, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon.

45. Matthew Choi, 33

Oct. 25

Stabbed in his apartment in the 300 block of Southeast 12th Avenue as he sought to protect his girlfriend from a neighbor who burst into their unit with a knife about 2 a.m., investigators said.

Status: Allen Coe, 30, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. Coe was a tenant in the same apartment building.

46. Harold Andrew Major, 31

Nov. 7

Shot at 7:33 p.m. in the 3500 block of Southeast 33rd Avenue. He was dead at the scene.

Status: No arrests

47. Ian Alexander Phillips, 35

Nov. 23

Shot about 1:30 a.m. in the 200 block of Northeast 122nd Avenue.

Status: No arrests.

48. Anthony Tyler McNaughton, 36

Nov. 27

Shot about 2:30 p.m. near Northwest Glisan Street and Broadway.

Status: No arrests.

49. Gabriel Rivera, 20

Dec. 2

Shot about 7 a.m. near North Columbia Boulevard and North Bank Street. Police found Rivera after they were asked to do a welfare check in the area, they said.

Status: No arrests.

50. Abdishukri Uren, 16

Dec. 14

Shot about 2:30 p.m. after a gun battle between cars that went along 136th Avenue, between Holgate Boulevard and Division Street. Uren was driving and was shot in the head. At least three people fled from the car. A 19-year-old passenger in the car is suspected of accidentally shooting Urem, according to a source familiar with the case but not authorized to speak about it. The 19-year-old was killed in Gresham the next day, the source said. Uren wasn’t enrolled in Portland Public Schools this school year, but was a student the previous year at Reconnection Outreach Services, a district spokeswoman said.

Status: No arrests.

51. Michael Arthur, 44

Dec. 14

Shot during an armed robbery of a marijuana dispensary on North Lombard Street where he worked and was alone, closing up about 9:50 p.m.

Status: No arrests.

52. Dfuliqar Kareem Mseer, 23

Dec. 12

Uber driver shot in the head about 12:01 a.m. as he was slowing down to pick up a fare on Northeast Stafford Avenue, near 11th Street. Police said they believe he was mistaken for a gang rival because his car was going slow. Mseer was on life support for several days and declared dead on Dec. 16.

Status: No arrests.

53. Kelley Marie Smith, 53

Dec. 17

Shot just before 7 p.m. while driving into gang crossfire on North Vancouver Avenue near Stanton Street. Smith died at the scene in front of her husband. More than 80 shell casings were found at the scene from three different types of guns: a .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle, a 9mm handgun and .45-caliber handgun. Smith drove for Uber Eats and had just finished her last delivery.

Status: No arrests.

54. Jaron Weeks, 33

Dec. 25

Shot along with another person on the 10th floor of the Louisa Flowers apartment building at Northeast Holladay Street and Grand Avenue. Police responded after receiving multiple 911 calls at 8:48 a.m. The other person was taken by ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and is recovering, police said.

Status: No arrests.

55. Unidentified man

Dec. 31

One of two people shot about 10:30 p.m. at Northeast Alberta Street and Mallory Avenue.

Status: No arrests.