Featured Stories

POLICE

Cops look into shootings

Portland police on Monday were looking for the person who shot and killed a 31-year-old Northeast Portland man Friday morning.

Carlos Hernandez Sanchez died of a gunshot wound to the upper torso, according to Sgt. Brian Schmautz, a police spokesman. He was found dead in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 600 block of Southeast 162nd Avenue.

Schmautz said the suspect is described as a black man, 5-foot-1 to 5-foot-6, with a thin to medium build and a thin mustache. He had a diamond earring in his left ear and goes by the street name 'T.' The motive was not yet known.

In a separate investigation, police are looking for the person who shot a Tigard man around 3 a.m. Friday in a parking lot at Southeast 34th Avenue and Powell Boulevard. Zachary Russell Sanders, 23, was in critical condition Monday morning at Legacy Emanuel Hospital & Health Center. Police did not have suspect information.

Anyone with information in either case is asked to call detectives at 503-823-0400.

COMMUNITY

Mejia vigil planned

A group of Hispanic community members planned to hold a vigil today to recognize the death of Jose Santos Mejia Poot, the Mexican immigrant fatally shot by Portland police two years ago.

Martin Gonzales of the American Friends Service Committee said several speakers would also take part in a rally for police accountability. The event was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave.

Gonzales said he was pleased that the Citizen Review Committee of the city's Independent Police Review Division recently decided to hear the case of Mejia's March 30, 2001, arrest. The city attorney's office had said the committee could not review the case because the panel had already rejected an appeal of a police internal affairs investigation that cleared the arresting officers of using excessive force.

Witnesses told the Tribune that they saw several Portland police officers use excessive force against Mejia, who had not taken his epilepsy medication in nine days. Attorneys for Mejia's estate last month filed a $10 million federal civil rights lawsuit against the city.

COURTS

Weaver gets new lawyers

Ward Weaver's double-homicide trial may be delayed a year or more because Clackamas County Circuit Judge Steven Maurer allowed him to change lawyers last week.

Weaver, of Oregon City, has been charged with killing Ashley Pond, 12, and Miranda Gaddis, 13, last spring.

Weaver's original court-appointed attorney, Tim Lyons, asked to be removed from the case after Weaver disregarded his advice and did an extensive taped interview with KATU (2) reporter Anna Song.

Although Weaver denied killing the two girls, he made several statements that might be incriminating. Among other things, Weaver admitted having given Pond alcohol, said he was late for work the morning Gaddis was murdered and revealed that investigators were testing blood in a freezer where investigators believe Pond's body was stored.

The new attorneys are Michael Baker and Peter Fahy, both of whom practice law in Corvallis. Although Weaver's trial had been scheduled to begin Sept. 5, Baker told Maurer it could take him and Fahy a year to prepare for it.

IRAQ WAR

Troops to deploy

After six weeks of training at Fort Carson, Colo., Oregon National Guard troops are headed overseas.

Hundreds of members of the 162nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, flew to the Colorado base Feb. 15.

According to Oregon Military Department spokesman Arnold Strong, several groups flew overseas during the weekend and the rest are expected to leave during the next few weeks.

Strong could not say where the troops are headed or how long they will be deployed.

The troops are nervous about the deployment but think they are ready for whatever comes, according to Tracy Acuna, the wife of Anthony Acuna, medic for the battalion's Charlie Company.

Tracy Acuna said word of the deployment has made the war real to her.

'I've been having nightmares. And I'm not the only one. Other wives I've talked to say they aren't sleeping,' she said.

FBI interviews area Iraqis

The FBI's Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force has interviewed nearly 400 people of Iraqi descent since the start of the war.

According to Charles Mathews III, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, most of those interviewed live in the metropolitan area and cooperated with questioning. No one was arrested as a result of the contacts.

Mathews said agents focused on information concerning activities in Iraq and possible terrorist activity in the United States. The agents also assured the Iraqis that the FBI would investigate any hate crimes against them.

'The overwhelming majority of people have welcomed us into their homes and provided information,' Mathews said. 'In some cases, that information has proved valuable, and we have forwarded it to the military and other U.S. intelligence agencies. In some cases, we actually had people calling us, offering to be interviewed, before we could contact them.'

Ñ Tribune staff