PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Multnomah County sheriff shared words of warning about the current community violence — and what is expected to come in the months ahead.
In a letter to the community, Sheriff Mike Reese cited this year’s surging homicide rate along with traffic fatalities and overdose deaths.
Reese said there are 102 people in jail right now for murder or murder-related charges, which is the most since 1994 when Portland’s homicide rate was at a historic high.
The sheriff added 2022 is on track to tie, if not surpass the number of murder-related bookings made in 2021. Further, he said the county’s jail is “quickly filling up with people who are accused of the most serious offenses,” like Ballot Measure 11 crimes.
KOIN 6 News talked to James Guyton who says he was driving home from the grocery store when someone in another car pulled up and started shooting at him.
“When I made it home, I called 911 between here and the parking lot and they asked me if I was shot and I took my shirt off. I reached back there and had a handful of blood and thought’ yeah I’ve been shot,’” Guyton said.
Sheriff Reese told KOIN 6 News there’s a sense of lawlessness in the city right now.
“It’s not just gang interactions, it’s domestic violence, it’s violence between drug organizations, it’s violence that’s happening in our homeless community,” Reese explained.
“Summer is approaching, a time when we typically experience increased violence in our community.” The sheriff added “violent crime, traffic fatalities and overdose deaths are already at historically high rates. Without action, we can expect worse to come.”
Reese listed a handful of solutions, including increased traffic enforcement and better funding for community groups. He said there’s a “collective responsibility to do something.”