PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland is seeing a historic spike in gun violence. The city just set a new record for the number of homicides in a year. That record number means a lot of families are grieving. One of them is Dustin White’s family.
“It's been the hardest week for my entire family, the hardest week of our lives,” said White.
His little sister, Ashlie Walker, was one of two people shot and killed in a Northwest Portland apartment on Sunday.
“To lose her so tragically and without warning or anything. I mean, just, it’s devastating,” White said.
He described his sister as someone who loved life and her two sons, who are 14 and 8 years old.
“She was beautiful. She was loving. She had a passion for life,” he said.
White said his sister loved music and cosplay, dressing up as characters from Star Wars and Disney.
“She loved to take her kids to Comic Con and conventions like that, to dress up and have a good time with family,” said White.
But her vibrant and joyful life was cut short. Investigators said the man who allegedly killed Walker, Michael VanDomelen, had told police he'd been using meth and heard voices in his head telling him to shoot people. He has reportedly pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder.
“Of course I blame her killer. But I also place a lot of blame on the leadership in Portland, Oregon,” White said.
He believes more could have been done to prevent his sister's death and said city and state leaders need to better address mental health and substance abuse issues.
“It's just going to continue devastating family after family, and that's not fair. There are things that people can do. They need to try harder,” said White.
White said he doesn't know much about Daniel Davis, the man who was also killed in the apartment. All he knows is his sister was friends with him and was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“She's my little sister. I love her,” said White. “My family is gonna miss her severely.”
White said a GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for funeral expenses and to support her children.