Cold Case: Was teen's murder a gang initiation? - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold Case: Was teen's murder a gang initiation?

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Dispatcher: 911. Do you need fire or medical?

Victim's girlfriend: Yeah, can I get an ambulance?

Dispatcher: Is this about the shooting?

Victim's girlfriend: Somebody shot my boyfriend!

Transcripts of a 911 call between an emergency dispatcher and Alaijo Shaune Johnson's girlfriend recall the night 17-year-old Johnson was murdered in northeast Portland.

Portland police cold case investigators said it was Aug. 31, 1996 about 11:30 p.m. 

Johnson and his girlfriend were talking while they sat on the porch of a home in the 3900 block of northeast Garfield Street.

As they were talking, police say a subject approached Johnson and his girlfriend from behind. 

"They're sitting on the porch, they hear a noise in the bushes," said retired homicide detective Terry Wagner.  "And he gets shot multiple times.  She runs to try and hide to get away."

Witnesses told police that a group of people had been sitting on the porch of a vacant duplex directly across the street from the shooting scene. Those witnesses scattered after the shooting and investigators were unable to locate anyone who admitted they had been at the location and saw the shooting.

Police said a neighbor also reported seeing a black male with a light complexion, age 14 or 15, wearing dark clothing get on a black bicycle and leave the area.

"My son was a good boy," said J'Nevelyn Jackson, Johnson's mother.  "I think about my son every day. It had a great effect not just on me, but several members of my family...my nieces, my nephews, my Mom."

J'Nevelyn Jackson said at the time of her son was about to start his senior year at Jefferson High School at the time of his death. He volunteered with at-risk kids, played drums for his church and was extremely close to his family. 

Police said Johnson had no criminal record and was not affiliated with a gang.  But detectives said there were a number of gang-related shootings that summer and the killer may have been a gang member.

"I would say that every shot that was fired, hit the intended target," Wagner said.  "Whether they knew him or because there are gang initiation things where they just had to find somebody."

Investigators believe there are witnesses who have information vital to the case.  If you can help call Crimestoppers at 503-823-HELP (4357) or the Portland Police Cold Case Unit at 503-823-0400.

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