An Uber driver who was just about to pick up a fare was shot multiple times while behind the wheel of his white Honda Accord in Northeast Portland around midnight Saturday, according to area residents.
The driver’s car came to a stop, running with its headlights on, outside a home on Northeast Stafford Street near 11th Avenue. Its front windshield was shattered by bullets.
Police have not identified the driver, but investigators suspect he was an unintended victim mistaken for a rival in a gang-style ambush during a year that has seen a sharp increase in shootings and homicides in the city.
Police suspect the shooters thought the driver was a rival based on the type of car he was driving and because he was going slowly to find his passenger, investigators said.
More than 60 bullets were fired, striking parked cars and homes in the area, even a house about a block and a half away to the east where Stafford meets North Lombard Street, according to police and residents.
A 43-year-old resident, who asked not to be identified out of fear of retribution, said he was in bed when he heard “a bunch of bangs.” He said his husband looked out the window and noticed two other cars to the west on Stafford Street.
The cars were parallel to one another, their taillights on. They suddenly took off after the gunshots rang out.
The couple then noticed the white Honda right outside their home, its headlights on and its rear left tire in their driveway, the resident said.
Another neighbor walked up to the Honda while calling 911 on her cellphone. She tried to open the driver’s door and reported to dispatchers that the driver seemed to be alive, according to residents who heard her speaking on the phone.
Another neighbor said he had called for the Uber ride and was tracking the driver on his phone. When he noticed the Honda had turned onto Stafford Street and was approaching his home, the caller opened his door and was about to step out when the shooting occurred. He quickly closed his door and stayed inside.
Police were called at 12:01 a.m. and quickly responded. The driver, carried out of the front seat of the car, was seen breathing. He appeared to be in his 30s, residents said.
Police haven’t identified the man who was shot. On Sunday, the police bureau said he was in critical condition at a local hospital, and on Monday, police spokesman Lt. Greg Pashley said detectives had no new information to provide.
An Uber spokeswoman said she didn’t have any information yet on the shooting.
Residents in the Woodlawn neighborhood were already uneasy after a shooting near the same intersection a week earlier on a Friday night.
In response to this past weekend’s shooting, the 43-year-old resident said he and his husband put up security cameras so they could check their street and feel safe before they turn onto it to drive home.
“The gunfire that’s going on is absolutely crazy right now,” he said.
About eight blocks away, Heather Pieraldi said she heard at least 10 gunshots as she was pulling into her driveway on Northeast 13th Avenue around midnight Saturday morning. She’s only lived there since April, but said she’s heard gunfire nearly every or every other night since a nearby homicide in July. “It’s pretty disturbing,” she said.
Police said they’re concerned by the large number of rounds fired at recent shooting scenes.
Later Saturday night, just before 11 pm. , gunshots were fired at two people in a car in the 5600 block of Northeast 19th Ave. The occupants, a man and a woman who are 19 years old, ducked down and then drove to a nearby parking lot to call 911. Police said the teen occupants were not hit, but their car was struck three times by bullets. It appeared the shooting was random, and that they were not the intended target, police said.
A week ago, on Dec. 7, about 12:34 a.m., Portland police responded to reports of shots fired in the 600 block of Northeast Morgan Street. Police said they found at least 83 shell casings at the scene and a home hit by 50 bullet strikes. About 11:10 p.m. on Dec. 8, police responded to another shooting in the area of Northeast 122nd Avenue and Halsey Street, where two people were wounded.
As of Dec. 10, police have recorded 817 shootings in Portland this year, up from 393 at the same time last year. East Precinct has recorded the most shootings, followed by North Precinct. So far there have been 48 homicides in the city, according to police, up from the 36 in 2019, according to police.
— Maxine Bernstein
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