Stabbed in heels: Homeless Portlander attacked in his sleep
An elderly homeless man who often dresses in,women's clothes, was stabbed multiple times as he slept outside on Monday night, June 27. "Scotty," as he is known, is still alive and being treated at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.
He has been a regular at meals at Blanchet House of Hospitality in Old Town.
Portland police made an arrest on Wednesday, June 29, after photos of the suspect were distributed to officers at Central Precinct. A PPB statement said: "Members of Central's Neighborhood Response Team (NRT) and Bike Squad began searching for him. On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, just before noon, they found and arrested 27-year-old Spencer James Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick has been charged with Attempted Murder and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. He's also being held on a detainer."
"Scotty came to Blanchet House for every single meal every single day," Scott Kerman, Blanchet House director, told the Portland Tribune. He said his staff had no idea of the attacker's identity or motive, even after watching the Blanchet House front door security video. Kerman has not seen the video but says it shows the attacker ignoring other people to stab Scotty multiple times as he slept under a sidewalk tree.
Local residents of Blanchet House acted as first responders, stemming the bleeding until police and EMTs arrived. He was later transported to the hospital.
According to both Blanchet House spokesperson Julie Showers and peer support specialist Jenn Coon, Scotty usually speaks very little and keeps to himself. Blanchet House serves a number of homeless people with acute mental challenges, including some unable to communicate verbally or walk.
Kerman called Scotty "a quiet, unassuming figure … he had friendships and relationships with other people in our community. He was not very communicative, but we definitely could tell when he was feeling good. He always ate meals with people." Kerman said he had seen how Scotty had befriended a woman with a severe mental disability.
"Recently I saw her and Scotty spending a lot of time together, he appeared to be caring for her. These are folks who look out for one another, it's how they survive."
Scotty had recently lost his tent in a city-sanctioned sweep of homeless camps in Old Town. "I'm not one to draw a direct link between sweeps and what happened," said Kerman. "I have no idea what the motive was, if there was a motive."
Kerman said many people living on Portland's streets are in constant terror of attack. If they weren't already suffering from PTSD, they are after living outside.
"There was someone who was murdered (nearby) in a seemingly random attack on Superbowl Sunday, February 17 (2022). We've been focused on that for a while now, the pervasive violence and terror and fear that folks who are unhoused in this district. And you know what that does to the psyche? How traumatizing is that way of existence? Constantly living in that fight or flight, survival mode rewires your brain."
Kerman said he couldn't speculate that Scotty wearing women's clothes had led to the attack. "He liked to dress up. That was part of his personality."
Kerman did say that women and those who present as women are more vulnerable on the street.
"I recently wrote a blog about this and talked about how much more difficult it can be to serve women in our community because their trauma is so profound that their mental health crises can really interfere with their receiving services."
On the seemingly intractable problem of getting long-term street dwellers into shelter, Kerman said, "A lot of people out there, being indoors really scares them. As counterintuitive as it may seem, they feel safer outdoors."
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