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Police team up to break ‘cycle of violence’

In a new effort to combat a cycle of violent shootings, a combined team of law enforcement responds to a suspected gang shooting on Sunday near 126th and Taggart, including officers from the East Precinct, a new Enhanced Community Safety Team, and agents from the FBI. PHOTO COURTESY PORTLAND POLICE BUREAU

(AP) — Police on Sunday were getting help from the FBI in investigating the latest round of shootings in Portland amid a “cycle of violence” that the city’s police chief believes is gang-related.

At least three shootings were reported over the weekend. A woman was killed in a shooting Sunday morning about an hour after a man suffered serious gunshot injuries in another shooting, police said. The man was expected to recover.

On Saturday morning, the Enhanced Community Safety Team responded to investigate after a woman was shot in the shoulder as she was driving. Authorities believe that the victim was shot from another vehicle. Multiple rounds entered her side window.

Eight more officers were working on the team over the weekend in response to a dramatic increase in shootings, an effort that was announced on Friday by the City Council and Mayor Ted Wheeler.

In addition, FBI agents were partnering with police to more quickly investigate all shootings in hopes of preventing retaliatory shootings that may result, which can lead to even more shootings, said Kieran Ramsey, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Portland field office.

According to a statement announcing the joint police and FBI effort from the mayor and city commissioners, authorities found that there are “imminent” efforts from outside groups, some traveling from Washington and California, to “engage and advance gun violence” in the city.

When pressed about what kind of groups were involved, Lovell said thought the shootings were gang-related and involved retaliation.

“There’s a cycle of violence here that we’re trying to break,” he said.

Since the beginning of May, before Sunday, police have responded to 40 reports of shots fired, with four people killed and 14 injured in shootings, Lovell said. There have also been 31 homicides in the city so far this year, compared with four by this time last year and three at this time in 2019, he said.

Seven people that were shot at a vigil for a shooting victim in Gresham last month. A statement from Wheeler and the City Council noted that there are several upcoming vigils and funerals that could be targets for more shootings.

“Our goal is to deescalate and lower the tensions in the community that are fueling this crisis,” they said.


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