PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A 29-year-old felon was arrested in the early hours of Friday after being pulled over for speeding and having a rifle in the car, Portland police said.
Cameron Stiles was armed with a rifle equipped with a “homemade suppressor and altered serial number” when he was pulled over on SE 128th and Powell around 2:15 a.m., PPB said in a tweet
Stiles faces several charges including felon in possession of a firearm. Stiles’ previous convictions include 8 felonies, 3 misdemeanors and 12 parole violations, according to court documents.
Police said this is an example of the different type of guns criminals are being found with in recent times. They believe people involved in violent crime know police are limited in their ability to respond currently.
“They are finding that they are seeing guns that they never saw before,” PPB Sgt. Kevin Allen said. “There’s a lot more guns in homeless camps. There’s guns being carried by people who are felons. They used to be afraid to carry because they didn’t want to go back to prison.”
On Thursday, Mayor Ted Wheeler told KOIN 6 News there is a gang problem in Portland. Allen agrees with the mayor.
“Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think there has ever been time when we’ve pretended that there isn’t a gang problem,” Allen said. “It is a big part of the ongoing violence that we’re seeing.”
Often the same guns will be used in multiple shootings throughout the city, sometimes passed around a gang or group, officials said. Police often find these guns when they’re making arrests for unrelated reasons.
Earlier this month, in a meeting on the city’s uptick in gun violence, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese explained that “one of the most important challenges we have right now is ending gun violence and saving lives.”
“I believe taking firearms out of the mix reduces reduces the lethality of these encounters, whether it’s family violence, gang violence, or crimes committed with a firearm,” Reese said.
According to PPB, the metro area has experienced 969 shootings since the beginning of 2021. More than 300 people have been injured in those shootings, the bureau said.
Portland police and some city officials have said the bureau is heavily understaffed and needs more resources to keep up with the wave of crime.
Police data shows homicides have more than doubled in Portland over the last five years. So far in 2021, there have been 67 homicides — 30 of those cases have been solved.