9-year-old who fled shooting wants Portland leaders to enact change

Multnomah County

Hadar Kedem has a speech written and is prepared to speak to city councilors on Sept. 22

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 9-year-old girl said she had to hide when gunshots rang out in a Portland park in July. Now, she’s asking the adults in City Hall to do something about gun violence. 

Hadar Kedem, 9, said she was with her father and brother and the family’s dog at Rose City Park on July 3 when suddenly gunfire rang out and bullets started flying. 

“They huddled up into this group and we thought they were going to do a race or something, but instead they pulled out guns and started shooting and then I got really scared,” Kedem said. 

She said she and her family members were playing “imaginary baseball” at the time and when they heard the gunshots, they took cover behind a large metal box that holds sports equipment. 

KOIN 6 News spoke to another person in the park that day, a tennis player who was nicked by a stray bullet. 

Kedem said she remembers one father in the park thought the gunfire was fireworks until another parent told him to get down and hide his children. 

“The other dad that was there said, ‘No, it’s not fine. You have to go hide behind the biggest tree you can find. It’s guns,’ and the 6- or 7-year-old was really scared,” Kedem recalled. 

She said perhaps the scariest moment was when she made a run for it trying to get home. 

“There was a bullet that shot like four or five feet away from my right and that was really scary. Then, I ran over with my dad and brother and my dog,” she said. 

Her family isn’t the only one recently terrorized by gun violence in broad daylight. Two weeks ago, KOIN 6 News reported on a 3-year-old who was riding a scooter in front of his home in Northeast Portland when he was nearly caught in the crossfire of a shootout. Half a dozen other children were playing nearby. 

“You think it’s like happening in a super sketchy neighborhood. In my imagination it would be like somewhere where it’s super dark and windows are broken and it’s super sketchy, an alley, but it was at a park with the sun shining. It was just a normal place where lots of people go,” Kedem said. 

She said she’s going to speak to Portland City Council Wednesday. She prepared a speech on her own and said she printed it out and has some corrections to make, but other than that she’s ready to tell her story.

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