While they may appear to be gang shootings, with no suspects or motive, it's too soon to say

Uncooperative people of interest, as well as witnesses who are hostile to police, are making it difficult for Gresham detectives to make any arrests in back-to-back shootings.

As many as 17 shots were exchanged during the most recent shooting in the parking lot of the Sunset Station Apartments near Northeast 177th Avenue and Glisan Street at 11:51 p.m. Monday, June 10.

Remarkably, only one person was injured when a bullet penetrated an exterior wall of an apartment, grazing a woman inside, said Lt. Claudio Grandjean, Gresham police spokesman.

The shooting happened just one night after a shooting left one man dead in the parking lot of the Rockwood Station Apartments in the 19100 block of East Burnside Street shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, June 9. The victim, Andreas Prince Jones, 21, of Portland, was a documented gang member, giving rise to speculation that the shootings are connected as gang shootings.

When police arrived at the scene of Monday night’s shooting, they evacuated some units at the Sunset Station Apartments while checking the area for the suspect and damage. A TriMet bus was used to shelter the evacuated residents.

Meanwhile, police detained four people for questioning; they were seen running from the parking lot and into an apartment immediately after the shooting.

However, those four people, in addition to people interviewed following Sunday’s fatal shooting, are not cooperating with police, Gresham Police Chief Craig Junginger said. “It could be that they’re fearful of coming forward or fearful of retaliation,” he said.

No arrests have been made, and detectives are investigating the shootings jointly in case they are connected, Grandjean said. They’re also working with Portland police to see if they might be tied to a string of recent shootings in Portland, including one gang shooting in the Cully neighborhood about an hour after the second shooting in Gresham.

But Junginger cautioned against jumping to conclusions that the Gresham shootings are gang related.

“With no suspect or motive identified, it’s impossible to say that,” he said.

Both shootings do have the hallmarks of being gang related and are “alarmingly brazen” even by gang standards, Junginger said.

The first shooting took place during daylight hours in the parking area of a heavily populated apartment complex that has high visibility from Burnside. “Most homicides don’t happen with essentially an audience,” Grandjean said.

Monday night’s shooting also was in a densely populated complex, but took place in the dark of night and involved an exchange of gunfire between people, as well as uncooperative witnesses, Junginger said.”There was a huge amount of rounds exchanged,” he added.

Those shots put a lot of people in danger, Grandjean said. “It’s bad enough to have a shooting like this in a neighborhood. It’s even worse in an apartment complex where people are up above, down below, all around.”

Gresham police, including members of the East Metro Gang Enforcement Team, are now focusing additional resources on gang hot spots, such as popular gathering areas and hangouts. “We’re covering all the bases in the event that these shootings are gang related,” Junginger said. “We want to work proactively to stop any further gang activity.”

Anyone with information on either shooting is asked to call the Gresham police tip line at 503-618-2719.

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