Cold case: Teen lured to park and shot in suspected retaliation - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold case: Teen lured to park and shot in suspected retaliation killing

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Detectives say they know two people involved in the murder of a Portland teen, but believe fear of retaliation has kept them from coming forward for 15 years.

Deontay Morris, 19, was gunned down in Pier Park on the night of August 26, 1999.

Portland Police Bureau detective James Lawrence says Morris was lured to the park and surrounded.

His killers shot at him while he was standing up, and then after he fell on the ground.

Police found his body 15 feet from the bathrooms near North James Street and discovered two marks in the ground where bullets damaged the cement, directly under Morris' body.

“There's a lot of anger associated with that,” said Lawrence, a detective in the Cold Case Homicide Unit. “It's clear those people are there for a purpose and they want to send a message.”

Detectives believe Morris was killed in retaliation for his suspected involvement in a gang murder the week before.

“During the month preceding and the month of Deontay's death, there were four back and forth homicides between rival gangs,” said Lawrence.

The summer of 1999 was especially violent, Lawrence said.

“The sad thing about all of the gang homicides that we still get today, many of them still stem from these old beefs and these old homicides,” he said, adding that many people involved in this case still come up as people of interest in current homicides.

He urged witnesses to come forward, to stop the cycle of violence and bring closure to Morris' family members.

“There are so many people who know what happened, they just have to find the courage to step up and talk to us,” he said. “And there are so many things that we can do to help protect people from their fear of retaliation and retaliation itself.”

If you have any information about this crime, contact Lawrence at (503) 823-0867 or

You can also leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at, 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.

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