PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A shooting Friday night in a popular Portland entertainment district became a close call for many caught in the middle of it.
Chad Leisey witnessed the chaos that followed.
“At nine, we started to walk over to the Inferno for the pizza place,” said Leisey. “As we were walking down the street, we got right outside of Mary’s Club and that’s when we heard rapid fire from an automatic machine gun or something.”
Leisey says about 40 people in the immediate area started running. He and his girlfriend joined them until, just feet away, a man in front of them was shot in the chest. A former firefighter, Leisey stopped to perform first aid.
“Told him we need to put compression on it, stay and sit there, wait for the ambulance. His friend said he was going to take him to the hospital. Told me he could have him at the hospital before 911 would even pick up,” said Leisey. “Mary’s Club door guys or bouncers, (the) security guard was standing there and I had asked him, ‘did the shooter drive off?’ He told me there was no one in a car, it was somebody on foot.”
Police say that victim that arrived in a private car had life-threatening injuries. At least one other person was injured and a third was killed. On Monday, PPB identified the man killed as 19-year-old Lauren Teyshawn Abbott Jr.
Leisey lives in the Pearl District and says it wasn’t the first time he witnessed a shooting downtown while walking home.
“Two months ago we had seen another shooting downtown. It was later, it was about 2 a.m. coming back from the restaurants down there,” said Leisey, adding that a white car pulled up and the people inside were yelling at a man on the street. “The good person in the passenger seat yelled out, ‘keep stepping’ and then bam, bam, bam, bam. We just kind of didn’t look back and kept walking. I called 911 and I was on hold about five minutes.”
Last month, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued a gun violence state of emergency.
“We won’t stop until we bring peace back to those Portland neighborhoods that are too often caught in the crossfire,” Wheeler said during a press conference on July 21.
But Leisey says it’s not enough as the violence escalates. He says it feels like leaders aren’t listening to their constituents or doing anything to stop it.
“Our leadership is failing. The Portland leadership is creating this problem,” said Leisey. “Your odds of being shot and killed randomly is super high. Like I said, twice in two months, I’ve seen it. That’s unacceptable. It’s crazy, it’s scary.”
Leisey says he’s had enough between the recent close calls and other violence around the metro and is moving out of Portland in a few months. However, in the meantime, he says he doesn’t even want to go out downtown anymore.
“That’s my biggest fear is I’m going to get killed before I get away from here,” said Leisey. “It makes me feel like a prisoner. I don’t want to go out, I don’t want to go anywhere.”
Portland Police say Friday night’s shooting was the 47th homicide by gun violence this year. So far, there is no information about a suspect or any arrests, but following the shooting, PPB said there was no current threat to the public.