Slain man’s friends ‘exhausted by senseless violence’

Crime

Jacob Knight-Vasquez was 34; shooter remains at large

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On a guest check at the Blue Moon in Northwest Portland, these handwritten words spoke volumes: “We are heartbroken, exhausted by senseless violence.” On pink-lined paper someone wrote, “You are already missed. We mourn and are devastated.” And on a red heart posted at the door: “Jake V loved.”

These are part of the growing spontaneous memorial for Jacob Knight-Vasquez, who was gunned down at a pizza bar across the street from the Blue Moon — where he worked — in the early hours of Friday.

Vasquez, who was in the outdoor dining area at the time, was struck by a bullet when a gunman started shooting through the front entrance of Silver Dollar Pizza at NW 21st and Glisan in Nob Hill around 2 a.m. Friday. He was 34.

Co-workers of Jake Vasquez posted this in the door of the Blue Moon in Northwest Portland after he was shot to death while sitting at Silver Dollar Pizza across the street, September 25, 2021 (KOIN)

Owner Sam Macbale told KOIN 6 News the shooter — who remains at large — was not inside and was not a customer.

Investigators said they believe the shooter fired into the popular sports bar from the outside, killing Vasquez and wounding 2 other men.

He was likely not the intended target of the shooting, police said.

“We do not believe this was a random act where somebody walked by and started shooting,” Sgt. Kevin Allen told KOIN 6 News on Friday.

The suspect then fled west on NW Glisan Street, police said.

One wounded man was rushed by ambulance to an area hospital and the third was taken to the hospital in a private car.

‘He’s a wonderful fellow’

Michael Orange, who lives in the neighborhood, said he know most of the servers at the Blue Moon.

Jacob Knight-Vasquez in an undated, courtesy photo from his family. He was shot to death in Northwest Portland on September 24, 2021. He was 34.

“I have seen Jake a lot. I told him hello many times,” he said. “He’s waited on me a couple times and he’s a wonderful fellow and this is just really, really sad.”

Orange said Vasquez worked at the Blue Moon for quite some time.

“He was a relaxed, stoic kind of fellow. At the same time he was pleasant, he was polite and generous and he did a great job just like most of the servers here,” he said. “He was just a wonderful guy.”

Others who worked at the restaurant stopped by to leave flowers and pay their respects.

“We are all a bit shaken up, still processing,” one said. ” It’s a tragedy, very sad, it’s a loss. We have a lot of loved ones who work here as well and we want them to know we support them.”

Orange said all of the Blue Moon employees are very upset.

“I saw one of them yesterday. She was in tears with one of the cooks and I gave her some flowers. I didn’t know where to leave them,” he said.

And he kept returning to that one phrase: “It’s just really sad.”

“I just come outside every so often and look at the flowers and read the notes and grieve. He was a really great guy. It’s too bad this had to happen.”

Another neighbor, Alex Beard, said shootings in this area are uncommon.

“Nothing serious as far as trouble as far as I’m concerned. Nothing violent until last night,” Beard said.

He said some may be deterred from being outside in the area but not him.

“It will probably deter people but it won’t deter me,” Beard said. “I think it was too random.”

But Michael Orange spoke for many. “Portland has had a rash of gun violence and a lot of people are scared.”

Investigators are asking businesses and residents in the area to check their surveillance footage to see if anyone has footage of someone walking or driving in that area around 2 a.m. Friday.

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