PPB seeks help solving deadly downtown mass shooting

PPB seeks help solving deadly downtown mass shooting

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Police Bureau is asking for the public’s help to solve the mass shooting in downtown Portland that took the life of an 18-year-old woman.

18-year-old Makayla Maree Harris was shot and killed on Saturday, July 17 2021 in downtown Portland. (PPB)

Makayla Maree Harris died and six other people were injured in the shooting that took place in the 300 block of SW 3rd Avenue just after 2 a.m. on Saturday. When officers responded to the scene, they found “an extremely chaotic scene with lots of injured people,” PPB Chief Chuck Lovell said in a press conference with Mayor Wheeler on Saturday afternoon.

GoFundMe has been set up to support the Harris family.

Harris succumbed to her injuires at a hospital on Saturday morning and the Medical Exmainer ruled her death a homicide. The surviving victims have wounds of varying degrees of severity, though their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, police said.

No suspects have been arrested.

The PPB believes a number of witnesses, including some who may have information that could lead to solving the case, left the area before speaking to police. Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to immediately contact Detective Brian Sims at [email protected] or 503.823.2079 or Detective Scott Broughton [email protected] or 503.823.3774.

The PPB is also partnering with Crime Stoppers of Oregon. Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 cash for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime and tipsters can remain anonymous. Submit a secure and anonymous tip regarding here.

“We all want to know what happened and who did this and why, and I pledge that more information will come out as soon as possible. Investigators think there might be more victims and witnesses who left the scene, which is understandable given how terrifying and hectic that scene was,” Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said.

The owner of the Portland Outdoor Store said he found shell casings on the street after the shooting.

“World War Three. Looked like a warzone. Shells everywhere,” Brad Popick said.

Dispatch audio from that night says people calling 911 reported that an “entire crowd was shot into.”

Other downtown business owners said crime like Saturday’s shooting can have an impact on them. 

Dan Lenzen owns Dixie Tavern in the Entertainment District, just blocks from where the shooting occurred. 

He said his bar is finally seeing crowds return as pandemic rules have been lifted, but it’s important his customers feel safe. 

“Police detail works. We know that the street closure works. We know a lot of things work for large crowds. By defunding that, it caused those to be removed and of course we are pushing to get those things back because we know they work.” 

Lenzen said he’d like to see more police officers in the entertainment district and that defunding the police bureau is creating more opportunities for crime. Lenzen also said he and other business owners are working with city officials on strategies to address downtown crime.

After the shooting Saturday, Mayor Ted Wheeler said he’s pushing for more police resources and officers. However, City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty doesn’t think more officers on the street would help.

“I did hear the mayor say we need more police and more training, but every time there’s a community tragedy, that’s the tagline we use. And even if we had 10 police officers on the corner downtown, what would have turned out different? Nothing,” Hardesty said. “I could not in good conscious add more officers to a dysfunctional police force. We need to fix what’s broken first.”

Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner, a longtime critic of Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, leveled more criticism following her comments that more police would not have prevented this mass shooting.

“The deflection has to stop,” Turner said. “They have to take ownership.”

Regardless of the back-and-forth between Turner, Wheeler and Hardesty, Chief Lovell said officers from the East and North Precincts would provide additional patrols downtown. 

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