At around 2 a.m. local time, officers from the Portland Police Department responded to reports of several people shot in the city center, where they found “many people” injured in what police described. like an “extremely chaotic” scene.
Police said at least seven people were hit by gunfire, but added that it was possible that more victims and potential witnesses had left the scene without speaking to law enforcement. Investigators urged anyone who self-treated to contact law enforcement as soon as possible.
Authorities have yet to release the name of the woman who was killed, but said she was 18 and died in hospital. Six others suffered injuries of varying degrees of severity that are not considered life threatening, police said.
Police have yet to release information on the suspects, citing the ongoing investigation.
The shooting was one of four significant incidents of gun violence in the span of nearly four hours in the city, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell told a news conference on Saturday. Another man was shot and killed around 6:30 a.m. local time in the 11300 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard, Lovell said. No arrests were made in his death and no suspicious information was disclosed. The two fatal incidents are Portland’s 50th and 51st homicides of the year, Lovell said.
“What happened early this morning is devastating. It’s tragic and it’s insane, ”said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. “Whenever lives are lost, when people are injured due to gun violence, I feel heartbroken, but at the same time angry. “
Wheeler called for more clarity on the resources needed by the Portland Police Force to tackle violent crime in the city. “We clearly have a problem with gun violence in our community,” he said. “We have a homicide problem in our community and the community should expect that we have the adequate resources. ”
The shootings come in what is on track to be America’s yearfor gun violence over the past two decades. A study by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice analyzed 24 major cities and found that homicides rose 24% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, and 49% by compared to this period in 2019.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit database that tracks national gun violence, there have been 362 mass shootings in the United States this year to date. The research group considers four or more people shot dead, not including the shooter, to constitute a mass shooting.
This month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a disaster emergency for gun violence in his state, the first time a governor in the country has done so.
President Joe Bidenlast month the Justice Department rolled out a “major crackdown” to tackle violent crime in the country, including stricter rules for purchasing firearms. He called the gun violence an “epidemic”.
When announcing his plans, Mr Biden said: “We now have the opportunity to come together – as Democrats and Republicans, as fellow Americans – to fulfill the primary responsibility of government and our democracy. : ensuring our mutual security. Enough.