PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Three people were injured after a bar and a neighboring business, both of which were crowded with patrons, were struck by bullets late Friday night on East Burnside Street, police said.
The shooting happened around 11:15 p.m. on the sidewalk near the corner of Northeast 7th Avenue and E Burnside, according to the Portland Police Bureau.
Kathryn Groves, owner of The Wurst, told KOIN 6 News her bar was hit Friday night. According to a Facebook post from Bossanova Ballroom, the neighboring event venue was hosting a Red Carpet Pajama Dance Party when the shots rang out.
“It seems like we have 6-7 bullet holes, maybe more, and then the Bossanova has about, from what my husband said, from 5- 10,” she said.
Groves said her bartender tried to usher everyone to safety in the back once the shooting started.
“My bartender was already trying to get people to safety in the bathrooms and in the cooler in the back,” she said. “So he was already ushering people to the back to push them away from the windows and getting everybody down.”
She wasn’t at the bar at the time, but she feels rattled because her staff and her bar patrons were in danger.
The Bossanova Facebook page said no patrons or staff were injured in the shooting.
“We immediately stopped our event, brought house lights up and our door security staff even assisted some of the injured,” the post reads. “Seeing our patrons in animal onesies and pajama wear having to navigate this senseless act was heartbreaking.”
When officers arrived, they provided first aid to two victims until medics got to the scene. Those victims had serious injuries, police said, but they are expected to survive. The third victim went to the hospital on their own and was treated and released, PPB said.
Police said they sequestered off the area and interviewed witnesses during an investigation that used every officer in the city’s entire Central Precinct.
Kathryn Groves also told KOIN 6 News she was personally robbed at gunpoint at the bar on Halloween.
“I work shifts and I was the first one he approached and he put the revolver to my face and said, ‘Give me all the money!'”
Before these events, she said she never had a problem with violence or robberies in the 10+ years she’s owned the bar.
“We are definitely losing downtown, for sure,” she said.
Now, she said, she’s considering relocating — or just closing the bar.
“After that and this, I just don’t see downtown being my end result,” she said. “You know, like, this is way too much. This is too much. I mean, it’s the Wild West down there. I mean, I carry pepper spray, I carry a knife. I’ve never ever carried anything before the pandemic.”
The Wurst, she said, is a low-key bar with pinball machines and a lot of local, regular clients who are part of the service industry. Based on how the shooting happened, she doesn’t believe The Wurst was the intended target. Instead, she said, she believes the shooter may have been aiming at someone who had been outside just before the bullets began to fly.
Police have not commented on who the intended target may have been. No arrests were made and police have not found any suspects.
An investigation is still underway. Authorities asked anyone with information to contact the Enhanced Community Safety Team at firstname.lastname@example.org and reference Case No. 21-338342.