Cold case detectives are investigating the death of a Portland man who emigrated from Cuba.
Friday marks the 19th anniversary of the murder of Norman Aguillon, 42, who survived a dangerous escape from Fidel Castro's Cuba, but was brutally stabbed to death Aug. 31, 1993.
"He made homemade maracas for the Head Start class. He was very involved, everything with the kids. He was a good father,"said Linda Crete, Aguillon's former girlfriend.
Crete said she was first drawn to Aguillon's sense of humor. She said he was the kind of man who understood how fleeting life can be, especially given what he'd already survived.
Aguillon was part of the Mariel boat lift; 125,000 people fled Fidel Castro's communist Cuba in 1980. Crete said Aguillon recalled how Cuban soldiers shot at him at as he headed for the boats in Mariel Harbor.
But he made it out of Cuba safely and made a new life in the Pacific Northwest, until he was murdered on a North Portland street.
Portland police cold case investigators said Aguillon had been with friends at some bars in the St. Johns area. About 1:20 a.m., two officers at the old North Precinct heard screaming and found Aguillon in the 8700 block of North Lombard. Police said he'd stumbled there from a few blocks away, where four young men had pulled up in a car. Three got out and attacked.
"'Witnesses to the attack believed at first that the suspects were just beating him up until later when they saw so much blood had been left at the scene," said Portland police cold case homicide detective Jim Lawrence.
Police said Aguillon wasn't involved in any fights at the bar earlier in the night. They also said he was not associated with gangs, but that the men who attacked him likely were gang members.
"They were wearing gang clothing, normally associated with the Norteños Hispanic gang sets," said Lawrence.
Police would like to talk to anyone, including gang members, who may have heard about the killing.
"There are things that I take after of him, " said Megan King, one of Aguillon's three children.
King was three and a half months old when her father was murdered. She never got a chance to know him or learn about his journey from Cuba to the United States.
"I never got to know him, spend any time with him," she said.
But King would still like to know who stole that opportunity from her.
If you have any information about this crime, you can leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at www.crimestoppersoforegon.com, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.
Visit www.tipsoft.com to download the Crime Stoppers app for the iPhone or Droid.
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