16-year-old accused of attempted murder in shooting during Last Thursday event

16-year-old accused of attempted murder in shooting during Last Thursday event

By Maxine Bernstein | The Oregonian/OregonLive

A 16-year-old suspected of shooting three people at Northeast Portland’s Last Thursday street fair told police he took aim at someone in the crowd after he thought the person was “eying him,” according to court records.

Turon Lamont Walker of Vancouver was arraigned in juvenile court Friday afternoon on allegations of attempted murder and unlawful use of a weapon in the shooting at Northeast 20th Avenue and Alberta Street. He will be prosecuted as a adult on the Measure 11 offenses.

After his arrest, Walker admitted shooting a handgun at someone he believed had been looking at him, according to a probable cause affidavit. He later wrote an apology letter to the people struck by bullets, the document said.

Police recovered a black semi-automatic handgun that officers said he had thrown in the air as he attempted to run from the shooting scene, Deputy District Attorney Nathan Vasquez wrote in the affidavit.

Walker has had contact with Clark County juvenile officers in the past.

Two 15-year-old boys and a 25-year-old woman were wounded and are recovering from their injuries. Police identified them as Damon Terrell Knighten, 15, Nayuntre Latrell Hurd, 15, and Ashley Quinae Perry, 25. All have been released from Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

Residents in the Alberta neighborhood who heard the gunshots ring out on a warm, summer evening when thousands of people were out said Friday they’re still reeling from the violence, but thankful no one was killed.

The shooting pushed gang violence response calls to 64 this year for Portland police, up from 50 at this time last year.

“We’re playing catch up here. They’re coming in so fast,” said Sgt. Don Livingston, a supervisor of the 25-member gang enforcement team.

The brazen shooting is spurring Multnomah County probation and parole officers to do more night work and visits to gang offenders on supervision, enforce curfews, schedule group sessions with gang members to remind them of the consequences if they violate their conditions and increase coordination with police.

Perry Eising lives in an apartment on 20th Avenue near Alberta and heard four to five shots Thursday night that sounded “very, very close.”

The shooter, based on shell casings discovered later, was standing across the street, outside a business called “Brides for a Cause,” which had closed at 4 p.m. He shot northwest toward the corner of 20th and Alberta.

Eising ran out and saw a woman wounded in the arm on the sidewalk at the corner. Several people were tending to her, and Eising brought out some rubber gloves and towels to help.

“It’s really, really telling when violence erupts in a way where there were a lot of people on that corner and that person shot from very far way,” Eising said. “Fortunately nobody was killed.”

The alleged gunman ran south on 20th and turned east on Northeast Wygant Street, witnesses said.

Resident Andrew Almeter, who works as a contractor, was out loading his parked truck on Wygant  when he said he heard about five shots.

They sounded extremely close, he said.

“My heart sank,” he said.

He suddenly noticed, among all the people who were out walking or milling around for Last Thursday, “a guy running full speed with his hood up.”

He stood out and Almeter pulled out his cellphone and started racing after him, east on Wygant to 21st Avenue, and then south on 21st  toward Going Street.

He filmed the man running as he chased after him. By the time Almeter reached Going , he stopped, looked back and noticed several Portland police officers running behind him.

“I was yelling ‘Cut him off, 22nd and Prescott! ” Almeter recalled, as he saw the young man head east on Going and south on 22nd.

Police caught the 16-year-old in the area. The handgun police recovered matched the caliber of a shelling casing recovered at the scene of the shooting, the affidavit said.

The shooting so close to home has soured Almeter on the nearby Last Thursday event. “The cons outweigh the pros,” he said.

Nearby resident Randy Blazak, a criminologist who previously taught at Portland State University, said the involvement and concern of his neighbors, however, was a positive development.

“Everybody was out trying to find out what happened, and the neighbors were pointing the police in the right direction,” Blazak said.

Police are still trying to determine what prompted the shooting.

Sgt. Livingston, the gang enforcement team supervisor, said his investigators are still gathering police reports and evidence from last week’s shootings, and now have Thursday night’s violence to continue to investigate.

Community members who helped point police in the direction of the alleged shooter Thursday night were tremendously helpful, he said. Making arrests is how police can help stem the uptick in violence because those firing shots usually have been involved in more than one shooting, he said.

Sgt. Pete Simpson, bureau spokesman, said commanders of the tactical operations division “will be discussing options moving forward, based on available resources.”

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