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Portland man charged with murder in violent downtown assault

Elijah Williams, 21, is accused of attacking 46-year-old James "Tony" Wise near Northwest Third Avenue and Glisan Street on Feb. 13.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Police arrested a 21-year-old suspect Saturday in the deadly assault of a homeless man in downtown Portland.

According to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), the suspect, Elijah Williams, allegedly attacked 46-year-old James "Tony" Wise outside the Blanchet House, a nonprofit that offers food and shelter to houseless individuals, near Northwest Third Avenue and Glisan Street on Feb. 13. 

Officers responded around 4:15 a.m. that day and found Wise had been beaten unconscious. He was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries. 

Scott Kerman, executive director of Blanchet House, said in an interview with KGW that Wise was a regular at the nonprofit, and that some of the homeless residents staying there were traumatized after witnessing the attack.

Credit: Wise family
James Anthony Wise

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"He didn't deserve this," Kerman said. "Nobody does. Just because someone is homeless and living on the street doesn't mean they deserve to be subject to this kind of violence."

Through an investigation, detectives identified Williams, from Portland, as a suspect and obtained a warrant for his arrest. 

Around 2:30 p.m. Saturday, law enforcement located and arrested the suspect in the area of Southeast 140th Avenue and Stark Street. He was booked into the Multnomah County jail on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree assault and third-degree assault. 

Police did not release any information about a potential motive.

Anyone who witnessed the attack is asked to contact Det. Detective Michael Greenlee at 503-823-0871 or Michael.Greenlee@portlandoregon.gov, or Det. Brad Clifton at 503-823-0696 or Brad.Clifton@portlandoregon.gov.

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