Wheeler, Lovell call for end to violence, homicides
Mayor Ted Wheeler and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell called for the public to help stop a recent increase in gun violence during a Monday afternoon press conference.
"I'm asking for your help, the public's help. If you have information about one of these crimes please share it with us," Mayor Wheeler said. "We're in a time of great challenge, we all know that. But together we can and we will address this public health and public safety threat," he said.
According to the Portland Police Bureau, there has been a 380% increase in shootings during the first 12 days of July compared to 2019. There has also been a record number of homicides — five — in a 24-hour period.
"Each of these numbers represents a human being, we must not lose sight of that," Chief Lovell said. "Five victims of homicide within 24 hours is staggering."
Wheeler and Lovell said they does not know what is causing the uptick in violence. Although the City Council abolished the bureau's Gun Violence Reduction Team effective July 1, Wheeler said he does not believe that contributed to the shooting and Lovell said it is too soon to know. Lovell also said police are still investigating every shooting and has made several arrests in the recent ones.
Wheeler and Lovell also addressed weekend protests that saw federal officers wound protester Donovan LaBella. Wheeler said he wants the officers held accountable. He said he does not have the jurisdiction to order the officer protecting downtown federal buildings to leave Portland, however.
"I want them to deescalate the situation, not add to an already highly volatile situation," he said.
Lovell reiterated that federal authorities are operating under different command chains.
"We communicate with them, mostly to deconflict activities, because we're operating in close proximity to each other," Lovell said. "They do operate under their command and control structure. The Portland Police Bureau does not dictate any of their practices," he said.
Witnesses said Donavan Labella was hit in the head with some sort of munition from federal officers that left him bleeding on the ground across the street from the courthouse around 10 p.m. Saturday.
Oregon elected leaders — Gov. Kate Brown, U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, and City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty — all denounced the actions of the federal officers and laid the blame on President Trump's decision to deploy these officers to Portland.
In a Sunday statement, Wheeler said he spoke with US Attorney for Oregon Billy Williams and said the US Marshals service will conduct a thorough investigation.
The five homicides
Beyond the protests, it was a violent few days in Portland with the bureau reporting the following incidents:
• Nadezhda Volobuev, 61, died Friday in Southeast Portland. Her daughter, 29-year-old Angelina Volobuev, is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death.
• Police responded to the 13600 block of SE Powell Boulevard shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday after witnesses reported hearing seven to 10 shots fired. Julian Heredia, 19, died.
• An 18-year-old girl was killed in a shooting in the area of SE 84th Avenue around 1 p.m. Friday. Shai-India Harris died at the scene.
• Despite rumors, Portland police don't believe racism was a motive in a shooting that left a man dead in the 8300 block of Southwest Barbur around 8:15 p.m. Thursday. Detectives interviewed multiple witnesses to this crime and "there is no information at this time to support race was a factor that played a role in this case."
• A man was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly stabbing and killing a person in Southeast Portland's Buckman neighborhood around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday.
And though no one died in these incidents, bullets were fired:
Other recent shootings
• A fusillade of bullets hit two vehicles in Southeast Portland around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, injuring a 10-year-old girl who was in one car with her mother and 3 other children. More than 25 bullet casings were found on the street in the 13400 block of SE Harold Street.
• Gunshots rang out around 1:15 a.m.Thursday after demonstrators in downtown Portland and the driver of a car going the wrong way confronted each other, police said.As the driver and the demonstrators faced off, "several shots were fired from the vehicle as it drove away," police said.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can find their story with video here.
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