PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two families are devastated and grieving after a deadly shooting in North Portland between best friends that loved ones said was an accident.
Tyler Pierce entered a not guilty plea to the charges he faces: manslaughter, unlawful possession of a loaded firearm in public and unlawful possession of a firearm.
His friend died shortly after being shot around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday near NE Sandy Boulevard and Prescott. Court documents identified the victim as 30-year-old Justin Stewart.
Stewart’s girlfriend, Angela Davidson, told KOIN 6 News the 2 men have been best friends since high school. She said the shooting was an accident but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Davidson said the 2 long time friends, who also worked together, went out for drinks after work. As she understands it, the shooting happened while they were walking home. Pierce, she said, was joking around and pointing a gun at his friend when Stewart was shot in the neck.
He died on the way to the hospital, she said.
“I know it’s an accident but, like, because of your reckless decisions I now don’t have Justin,” she told KOIN 6 News. But she said she knows Pierce is “suffering, too. He doesn’t have Justin either and he’s the one who’s going to have to live the rest of his life remembering that moment that he killed his best friend.”
Pierce’s attorney asked for bail to be reduced to $5000 citing the fact Pierce has no criminal history and works full time. A decision on that request was deferred to another time.
His next court appearance is expected to be June 28.
‘The world’s never going to be the same without him’
Angela Davidson and Justin Stewart often met at her Fairview apartment and dated for about 2 years.
“I fell in love with Justin just because he was, like, so sweet,” Davidson told KOIN 6 News. “He was like nobody I’ve ever dated. He was just so nice to me, so caring. He had just this sense of humor.”
She said Stewart had worked for One Call Concepts for 10 years and he wanted to be the manager one day.
“He actually texted me earlier that day and was, like, ‘Hey, Babe, I think me and Tyler are going to go out tonight.’ He just told me, ‘I think Tyler is going to spend the night at my house. We’re going to go up the street, have a couple drinks.'”
He texted her later and said they were on the way home from the bar, “and then my very last text message is, like, those kissy-face emojis from him.”
Her biggest regret is not telling him one last time she loved him.
“I just felt the need to say it to him that night, but I didn’t,” she said. “That’s my only regret.”
She said she understands Pierce was “playing with his gun and pointing it at Justin, just like jokingly, and then he pulled the trigger not thinking there was any ammo in it. And he got Justin right in the neck.”
Pierce “was the one that called 911. He never left his side,” she said.
“I totally believe it was an accident. The minute I saw that picture of Tyler on his mug shot, I could see the emptiness in his eyes. I could tell he’s remorseful.”
Angela Davidson said it is so sad.
“The world’s never going to be the same without him,” she said.
“We had the whole summer planned. His birthday is, like, in 3 weeks. We’re supposed to go to Vegas.”
She said this is the kind of thing that happens to other people, but now she’s going through it.
“This is one of those sad stories, like, tragedy stories, that you hear about,” Davidson said. “I literally feel like my heart is re-breaking every second all over again.”