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Victim in Burnside Bridge shooting dies, prompting homicide investigation

A witness told KGW that he saw the shooter, wearing a ski mask and flipflops, running from the scene.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A man found suffering from a serious gunshot wound under the Burnside Bridge has died, Portland police reported.

Officers from the Portland Police Bureau responded to Northwest Naito Parkway under the bridge just before noon on Friday after receiving a report that someone had been shot.

At the scene was a man with a gunshot wound to his neck. Paramedics arrived and took the man to the hospital by ambulance, but PPB later said that he died in the hospital.

Benito Zurita was nearby when the shooting happened on Naito Parkway. He told KGW that he had his headphones on, but a loud "bang" made him stop and take notice.

"As fast as that shot rang out I turned around and saw the other guy run to Couch Street and took a left," Zurita said.

The man that Zurita believed to be the shooter was wearing a ski mask and flipflops, he said. At the same time, he saw the victim suddenly begin bleeding profusely before dropping to the ground.

"He did drop right there next to the bridge, and when I saw him drop to the ground I said 'stay awake, don't just lay down,'" Zurita recalled.

Zurita is still shaken, thinking that he easily could have been shot if he'd been in a slightly different place at that moment.

"That situation, I could've been in that situation — I got kind of in a position where I could've been there, I got scared a little bit," Zurita said. "It doesn't make sense ... they were friends, I think, maybe the other guy didn't know he had a gun."

Sergeant Kevin Allen, public information officer for PPB, told KGW that a person was detained in connection with the shooting.

Diana Gladden, general manager of the nearby Portland Saturday Market, is worried that this and other recent shootings will further chill the public's willingness to go out and share the city.

"My initial reaction was 'this is going to bring in a negative vibe to Portland Saturday Market,' especially as we're setting up for tomorrow already," Gladden said. "This is an isolated incident I'd like to say, but it might not be, I don't know ... there are a lot of unknowns."

Gladden said that the Saturday Market has received a great deal of help from the city and support from TriMet after several years hampered by the pandemic, and vendors having been scraping by in the meantime. They've poured their hopes into getting back in action this spring.

"We can't let something like this stop us from bringing back Portland — and we want Portland to come back to Portland," Gladden said. "So I'm still here."

Gladden said that there needs to be some accountability for the recent surge in violent crime, and more responsibility from city leadership.

"We need to know that if you're not going to do anything, what can we do," Gladden said. "I don't want my hands tied because the city can't do anything, or the leadership can't do anything  — but what can we do? Let us know what can we do."

Naito Parkway was closed for about four hours from Northwest Couch Street to Southwest Ash Street for the investigation.

Friday's shooting happened a few blocks away from a fatal shooting Thursday night, which happened just after 10 p.m. near the intersection of West Burnside Street and Northwest 6th Avenue. Responding officers on Thursday night attempted first aid but the victim died at the scene.

PPB has not said whether the two shootings are related.

RELATED: Shooting in downtown Portland leaves 1 dead, police say

Coming off a record-high number of shootings in 2021, gun violence has continued to surge in Portland. There have been more than 100 injury shootings and more than two dozen homicides in the city so far this year. 

At this rate, 2022 is on track to be Portland's deadliest year on record. In many cases, there have been no arrests.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Travis Law Travis.Law@portlandoregon.gov 503-823-0395 or Detective Ryan Foote Ryan.Foote@portlandoregon.gov 503-823-0781 and reference case number 22-93596.

RELATED: Here's what we know about Portland's 2022 homicide victims

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