Reports about a tragic death and several insane assaults got buried this weekend between news of two police shootings. The rest of 2010 had the lowest crime rate in 40 years, but I'm going to go ahead and declare this "The Most Crime-Riddled New Years Eve Week in the Entire Damn History of Portland." Way to kick off the new year, Rose City!
Wednesday: Four Teens Beat up Homeless Guys
At 7:45 pm, police responded to a report of a fight on North Clarendon and Houghton streets and arrived to find 52-year-old Donald Dickerson and 48-year-old John Hammons seriously beaten. The two homeless men said four teens attacked them and stole one of their wallets. While Dickerson was taken to the hospital, officers tracked down four teenage suspects (a 17-year-old, two 18-year-olds, and a 19-year-old, all males) and booked three of them on third degree assault and robbery charges. Detectives believe the four are gang members.
Thursday: Homeless Man Dies in a Dumpster
At 3 o'clock in the afternoon, police responded to a report of an unconscious man in a dumpster on SE Hawthorne and 35th Avenue (the block with Clogs and More and My Thai Bistro, among boutiques). The unconscious man turned out to be dead and homeless. 58-year-old Randy Lee Tinnell was wearing several layers of wet clothes and died of hypothermia. Around his body were clothing, his few possession, and many empty alcohol bottles. RIP Randy Tinnell.
Thursday: Assault With Sword
Officers were on patrol in SE Portland Thursday night when they saw a man with a sword run into an apartment building on SE Stark and 92nd Avenue. After calling for cover, officers went in to the apartment and discovered a 39-year-old man, Raashid Salaam, bleeding in his apartment from an apparent sword wound on his hand. As police were interviewing neighbors, a gunshot was fired in the same apartment unit that the sword-man ducked into. Officers called loudly at the unit for 15 minutes, until finally 33-year-old Lawrence Broadus came out and surrendered both his sword and gun to the police without incident. Salaam and the sword-wielding neighbor had a long-standing dispute with each other, according to detectives.
Friday: Assault in Old Town
A 40-year-old man remains in critical condition at a local hospital, after police discovered him on the corner of NW 6th and Everett around 5:30 am Friday morning, bleeding heavily. Officers had responded to a report of an assault at that corner, but anyone who possibly witnessed a fight or altercation there is asked to call Detective Mark Slater at (503) 823-9319.
Saturday: Fight and Fatal Shooting Outside Club
A New Years Eve fight outside Club 915 downtown led to the first fatal shooting AND the first officer-involved-shooting of 2011, all of one hour and thirty seven minutes in to the year. Club bouncer Ruben Mata was killed in the altercation. The officer's bullet, luckily, did not hit anyone.
Sunday: Police Fatally Shoot Homeless Man Armed with Knife
A homeless man threatened twice to kill a security guard in a Food for Less parking lot on SE 82nd Avenue—when she called the police, the man took refuge in an abandoned carwash. The officers who were the only witnesses to the incident say he came out of a room inside the carwash holding a "large knife" and refused to drop it. One of the officers fired a Taser, which failed to connect, and then two officers opened fire, killing the man.
Phew. What a terrible weekend. In conclusion all of these violent and tragic incidents so close together should make it clear that anyone who doesn't believe we need better services for the homeless and a functional mental health network that keeps mentally ill people off the street is themselves crazier than a sword-wielding angry neighbor.