Editor’s note: Details of the story may be disturbing to some readers.
GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — A gruesome fight at the last stop of the Blue Line in Gresham left a 78-year-old man seriously injured, with his ear chewed off and his skull exposed.
The fight happened just before 2:30 a.m. Tuesday and ended with the arrest of a 25-year-old man who recently moved to Portland from Georgia, authorities said.
Gresham police and Multnomah County deputies were called to the Cleveland Avenue MAX platform after witnesses called in a possible stabbing that caused significant bleeding. When law enforcement arrived, the suspect — later identified through fingerprints as Koryn Kraemer — was still on top of the elderly man from Hillsboro and still attacking, officials said.
Detectives determined the man had not been stabbed but did have his ear chewed off “and part of his face.” Emergency responders could see the victim’s skull.
Kraemer — who initially provided the name of “El Baker” — was booked on an assault charge. The investigation continues.
Later in the day, Portland police said a man who was fighting on the train with another person near the Lloyd District fled the scene before they could arrive.
Blue Line riders who spoke with KOIN 6 News in the hours after the attack said recent incidents
“I feel like they could do a little bit better with their security to make sure things like that don’t happen,” rider Jayden Adach told KOIN 6 News. “They should have patrol at least once an hour. It’s very rare to see that.”
“A few more transit police security like that, patrolling around and telling people to behave,” rider Richard Landers said. “That’s all they have to do is behave.”
After a child was pushed off a platform, TriMet officials were asked what specifically they are doing to make platforms more safe.
“It’s upsetting to learn that someone was hurt by another person at the Cleveland Ave MAX Station early this morning,” TriMet said in a statement. “What happens in the community will at times happen on or near the transit system.”
Full TriMet statement:
“It’s upsetting to learn that someone was hurt by another person at the Cleveland Ave MAX Station early this morning. The MAX Blue Line was not in service at the time, and it’s unclear if the people involved were using the transit system at the time of the incident. We are not commenting on this case, as it is in the very early stages of the investigation. Gresham Police is the lead and may have additional information.
“What happens in the community will at times happen on or near the transit system. As we work to provide safety system-wide, across our 533 square-mile service district stretching across three counties, we also look to our partners for help addressing larger safety and community issues. Transit Police, which is led by Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, work closely with other local law enforcement to investigate criminal activity that spills over onto the transit system and may have more.“
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is calling these incidents disturbing and discussed the ways they, along with their TriMet partners, are employing strategies to ensure local public transit feels safe.
Full Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office statement:
“The two recent, isolated crimes are extremely disturbing. The Transit Police Division (TPD) is working with public safety partners, including the Gresham Police Department, to investigate the crimes to the fullest extent of the law. Every day, we work hand-in-hand with our TriMet partners, who provide a host of public safety strategies, including unarmed security teams, customer service specialists and safety response teams.
“To create safe environments for transit riders, operators and employees, this month, the Transit Police Division is increasing its staff, by adding two full-time deputies, and increasing hours of operations. TPD is continuing to perform public safety missions at TriMet Transit Centers and platforms where the volume of calls for service are higher in order to deter and disrupt criminal activity.“