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Deadly week puzzles police
Wednesday shooting is the third in six days; three people have died
Portland police are trying to make sense of the sudden burst of shootings in North and Northeast Portland this past week that they believe may be gang related.
There were three fatal shootings in the span of six days, all within about 3 miles of one another.
'It certainly raises a lot of concerns because we hadn't had a pattern like that for quite some time,' said homicide Det. Chuck Shipley, who is handling the most recent shooting, which occurred Wednesday night at a home on North Mississippi Avenue. 'This is all of a sudden out of the blue.'
A 24-year-old woman with no criminal record was the latest victim in the string of shootings. Asia Bell died of gunshot wounds after being shot at her home, at 5706 N. Mississippi Ave. Her husband, Tyrone Lee James, 26, also was shot and was in serious condition Thursday morning at Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center.
Bell's death was the 21st homicide in the city this year, police said.
The shooter was still at large Thursday morning, and police had not yet confirmed whether it was gang related. This year there have been several dozen gang-related shootings, most of them this summer.
'At this point there's really no particular leads on a specific person,' Shipley said. 'It's still in the early stages so it's kind of open to suggestion.'
Court records show James has several charges for felony drug possession, harassment and trespassing but has not gone to jail.
An acquaintance, Robert Lee Milhouse, 28, also was hit with gunfire. Police, who were called to the scene shortly before 10 p.m., initially saw Milhouse down the street from the house and did not know whether he was a victim or suspect.
When they realized Milhouse was a victim, he was transported to the hospital, where he was treated and released.
Court records show Milhouse has an extensive criminal history of drug charges and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is on probation.
Police were at the scene when more shots were fired. Three children who live across the street said they heard the first shot and ran to the house to see what was happening. They said they saw a man fall to the porch on his stomach, apparently shot in the back.
Another neighbor, Osie Johnson, said the violence in the neighborhood has not been as bad as it was years ago. She said she heard the commotion Wednesday night but didn't realize the sounds were gunshots.
'I thought it was somebody shaking on the door,' she said. 'I looked outside and saw the police cars. I said, 'Oh my goodness, what happened now.' '
Several neighbors said they knew Bell from about two years ago, when she worked as the office manager at the low-income housing complex across the street, the Plaza Townhomes.
'She was a very nice woman,' Said Ahmed said. Another woman, who did not want to give her name, said Bell was 'like a granddaughter to me.' 'She's very sweet,' she said. 'She moved here from Moses Lake because she wanted to get closer to her mom.'
Neighbors said Bell had four children. At least one was in the house during the shootings, police said.
Another wave of violence
There were two shootings last weekend that also caused a stir in the community. No arrests have been made in either case.
• Last Friday morning, 20-year-old Deaustin Vondale Duckett was found dead of gunshot wounds in the passenger seat of a plum-colored 1999 Honda Accord LX parked outside an apartment complex at 508 N.E. Graham St. Police said the incident likely stemmed from a drug deal and not from a gang rivalry, although Duckett was a known gang member.
• Early Sunday, 25-year-old Domingo Lee Gonzalez was shot and killed near the intersection of Northeast 22nd Avenue and North Lombard Street. He may have been attending an after-hours party in an abandoned house in the area. Gonzalez was a known gang member.
Police said Gonzalez's shooting was not related to Duckett's, but was possibly in retaliation for the Sept. 8 early morning shooting of Anthony Duane Brown, 20. Brown was killed in the middle of a gathering of hundreds of people on the 200 block of Northeast Russell Street. Police were unable to catch the shooter because of the size of the crowd, they said.
One officer said police are concerned when shootings are unrelated because it makes it difficult to predict who the next victim might be.
Portland Police Chief Mark Kroeker earlier this week said that he was not alarmed at the recent incidents but concerned. He said the Gang Enforcement Team is constantly working to tackle the violence.