Five people hurt in bizarre assault at SE Portland park - KPTV - FOX 12

Five people hurt in bizarre assault at SE Portland park

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Five people were hurt in an assault at Essex Park in SE Portland (KPTV) Five people were hurt in an assault at Essex Park in SE Portland (KPTV)
Nelson Epel, booking photo Nelson Epel, booking photo

A man is in jail after a violent, random assault at a Southeast Portland park that left five innocent people hurt.

It happened at Essex Park, near Southeast Powell Boulevard and 82nd Avenue around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday.

“We were sitting in the park, my daughter was running through the little water feature there and I heard some yelling and screaming,” said a man who intervened in the attack and asked to remain anonymous.

Court records show a man, later identified as Nelson Epel, 20, approached two women in the park. One of them was with her 3-year-old girl.

Records show Epel said, ‘Have a nice day,’ and one of the women said, ‘You too.’ Then, Epel said ‘What did you say, (expletive)?’ and dumped a water bottle out on the woman’s head.

He then punched the woman in the face, turned to her friend and punched her in the head twice.

The women and child ran to the nearby tennis courts to try to get away, but Epel grabbed a tennis racket and chased them, according to court records.

They passed another woman in the park and asked her to call 911, but records show Epel hit that woman with the tennis racket, bruising her arm, and stole her cell phone.

“That’s when me and another guy kind of jumped in,” the man said, adding that at one point he had Epel pinned down, but then three of Epel’s friends got involved.

“I was receiving lots of blows to the head, and I rolled off of him and then they started kicking me. The other guy , his face got pretty messed up, I mean it looked like a broken nose to me.”

Court records confirm the other man who stepped in did, in fact, suffer a broken nose.

Then, just as quickly as it started, the witness said it was over.

Police found Epel nearby and he’s now in jail facing ten charges, including assault and robbery.

As it turns out, he has three other court cases pending against him and he’s being held without bail for violating parole.

The man who intervened in the attack said he hopes Epel’s three friends are caught soon, too.

“There were people setting up for a birthday party. There was a ton of kids there,” the man added. “I mean, my 2-year-old daughter was walking around watching her dad bleed profusely out of the head.”

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