Victim in Gresham street attack was ‘amazing dad, family rock’


A 16-year-old boy is facing murder charges in the death of Tod Barker

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland police say they’re no longer looking for a second suspect in the death of a man beaten on a Gresham street last month.

Tod Barker, 53, was attacked on the night of Sept. 27 as he was walking along NE Roberts Avenue, police said. He died from those injuries on Oct. 9. The Multnomah County Medical Examiner ruled his death a homicide.

Gresham police announced Monday a 16-year-old boy had been arrested and charged with murder, assault, robbery and the unlawful use of a weapon. His name has not been released because he’s a minor. Police previously said there was a possibility that other suspects could be connected to the case but later stated they were no longer searching for additional suspects.

Christopher Barker told KOIN 6 News his father was only about a mile from home when he was attacked apparently at random. Tod was on life support for nearly two weeks before he passed away.

His son described Tod as “an amazing dad” and the “rock of the family” who doted on his grandchildren. Tod was a newlywed, having married his wife just six months before his death.

“He was always there when any of us needed him, he didn’t care what time of day it was, he would make that known. He was just like ‘I don’t care if it’s two in the morning, call me,'” said Christopher.

Christopher said he hasn’t had time to grieve his father’s death and news of an arrest has stirred a rollercoaster of emotions.

“I was upset — thankful that they caught somebody and then at the same time it just makes you wonder what the world is coming to,” he said.

For now, Christopher is focusing on supporting his loved ones the way his dad would have done if he were still alive.

“He put himself aside and took care of everyone else and that’s kinda what I’ve been doing: filling his place, making sure everyone else stays afloat,” Christopher said.

Gresham police told KOIN 6 News an update on the case will be released Wednesday.

If you know anything about the attack, please contact the Gresham Police Department at 503.618.2318.

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