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Weekend shootings underline Portland's gun violence problem

The city saw at least four shootings that resulted in injury or death within the space of just a few hours early Saturday morning.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland's surge in gun violence and homicides shows no signs of abating, a phenomenon underlined by a spate of shootings over the weekend that left multiple people hurt and several dead.

According to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), officers responded a little after 12:30 a.m. to the 7200 block of Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, just south of Mt. Scott Park, for a report that someone had been shot at a convenience store.

Officers arrived to find two shooting victims. They applied a tourniquet to one of the victims in an attempt to stem the bleeding. Both victims were taken to the hospital, and PPB said that their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

No arrests have been made, and the agency is not releasing any suspect information for the time being.

Credit: KGW

About 40 minutes later, officers responded to another shooting — this one near Southeast 127th Avenue and Burnside. One gunshot victim was found at the scene and taken to the hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.

Again there were no arrests, and no suspect information is being released.

Credit: KGW

Just after 2 a.m., officers responded to the 14100 block of Southeast Woodward Street for a report of two people shot. They arrived to find both people dead in an apparent murder-suicide, so no suspects are being sought. PPB identified the two people as 31-year-old Sharline Esah and her husband, 30-year-old Lopez Uehara. The Medical Examiner ruled Esah's death a homicide.

Credit: KGW

About 10 minutes later, officers were called to a shooting at a bar in the 3200 block of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Officers found one victim at the scene, who was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.

"A short time later, another possible victim arrived at a hospital by private vehicle, although it is not clear if he was related to this shooting," PPB said. "A third male was hurt by possible shrapnel and arrived at the hospital by private vehicle."

PPB said that all victims were adult men, and their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. No arrests have been made, and the Enhanced Community Safety Team is now investigating.

Dylan lives in the neighborhood, and the gunfire woke him up — giving him immediate cause for concern.

"It was just multitude of shots," he said. "I just got up, first looked for my wife and wanted to know where she was at."

Dylan's wife was at a nearby bar called Gold Dust Meridian when the shooting started.

"They were just at the bar and shots started firing and everybody hit the ground," he continued. "Somebody next to her was struck."

Another neighbor said that she saw people in two separate cars arguing just before the shooting started.

"Seems like they were trying get away," she told KGW, "and so they sped off down 32nd Place — but then another car parked out there, about five people got in and they sped away also."

Credit: KGW

"Any one of these by themselves would be a big deal in my book, and to have them all happen in one evening was just absolutely remarkable," said Sergeant Kevin Allen, a public information officer with PPB.

Between the multiple shootings and several major crashes, Allen said that PPB was only dispatching officers to high-priority calls — meaning those with serious life safety issues.

"It's extremely unusual for us to have the entire city on priority calls only," Allen said.

Property crimes and calls for petty theft were put on the back burner.

"We have to get to a place were we have enough resources so that we can address nights like this," Allen said. "As tragic as they are we need to have enough cops to respond to them."

About four months into 2022, Portland is already on pace to surpass 2021's record-breaking number of homicides. Up until Saturday, at least 34 people had been killed since the beginning of the year, many of them as a result of gun violence.

In the majority of homicide cases this year, no suspect has been arrested or charged.

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