Cold case: 21-year-old man looking to turn life around gunned do - KPTV - FOX 12

Cold case: 21-year-old man looking to turn life around gunned down in NE Portland

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Henry Johnson (KPTV) Henry Johnson (KPTV)

A local man was found shot to death in a Portland neighborhood 16 years ago and police say they are still searching for his killer. 

In March of 2000, Henry Johnson set out to turn his life around. The 21-year-old with a checkered past was just released from jail.

Police say he made a promise to his probation officer he'd stay out of trouble. 

"He told that officer he had no desire to go back to jail and he was going to go back on the straight and narrow, change up his life," said Portland Police Detective Brendan McGuire. 

But Johnson never got that chance.  

"Three days later he was shot," said McGuire.

Portland Police Detective Brendan McGuire tells FOX 12 there's still a lot that's unknown about the way things went down on the night of March 2.  

What they do know is that this all began when a group of neighbors near Northeast Rodney and Mallory Street called 911 around 8 p.m. that night saying they heard a number of gunshots. 

"Our patrol officers went to the area and as they were looking for the source of the shots fired they heard additional shots fired in the area," said McGuire. 

Investigators weren't quite sure where that second round of gunfire was coming from, but soon it became clear. 

"Another group of neighbors called in and said there was someone down on the sidewalk that needs to be checked. That turned out to be the victim, Mr. Johnson, who had been shot several times and was found deceased," said McGuire. 

Crime scene photos from that night show the evidence gathered in the case.   

None of it was enough to point detectives in the direction of the killer. But, police say it appeared as if Johnson was unarmed.  

"There was no gun found with him and we don't know if that means there was multiple shooters, or a struggle, ultimately we just don't know," said McGuire. 

Johnson was said to have ties to a local gang. Investigators don't believe this was any sort of revenge killing, but they can't be sure.

"We really have almost nothing to go on this case," said McGuire. 

Witnesses told investigators at the time they saw a black man in his 20's dressed in dark clothing leaving the scene of the shooting.

A vague description, but, to detectives it's the best they have.   

They're now hoping the public can help them close the case 16 years later. 

"If anyone knows anything and they're willing to talk to us 16 years later, we're hoping they reach out," said McGuire. 

Witnesses may contact Cold Case Homicide Unit investigators directly at (503) 823-0400. To remain anonymous, witnesses may provide information through Crime Stoppers of Oregon.

Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime and tipsters can remain anonymous.

Information about unsolved homicides can lead to a reward of up to $2,500 cash. All other unsolved felony crimes are eligible for cash rewards of up to $1,000.

Information learned from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube should be shared as these tips may lead to the identification of a suspect or suspects. Links can be shared anonymously through Crime Stoppers.

Submit an anonymous tip:

  • Text CRIMES (274637) - Type 823HELP, followed by the tip.
  • Online at
  • Call 503-823-HELP (4357)

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