Detectives say witnesses can help solve 2005 murder of Portland - KPTV - FOX 12

Detectives say witnesses can help solve 2005 murder of Portland 16-year-old

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Johnny Phommachan (KPTV) Johnny Phommachan (KPTV)

Cold Case detectives are searching for a killer more than decade after he gunned down a Portland teen in a Carl's Jr. parking lot.

It was tradition among Johnny Phommachan and his friends that brought them to a southeast Portland fast food joint every night.

"They'd come out to the Carl's Jr. every night to have a meal and hang out in the parking lot and smoke cigarettes," said Portland Police Detective Eric McDaniel. 

But, on November 16, 2005 that nightly ritual was forever changed.

"At about 10:35 in the evening there was a radio call to patrol officers about a shooting at the Carl's Jr. on 82nd and Rhyme Street," said McDaniel.

By the time detectives showed up, the gunman was gone, witnesses scattered and 16-year-old Johnny Phommachan was struggling to survive.

"They show up and see the victim laying on the floor of Carl's Jr. near the bathroom," said McDaniel. "He was almost deceased at that time and he passed away within probably seconds of patrol arriving."

Hundreds mourned the death of the beloved teen. Many fighting to make sense of it all.

Friends washed cars for cash in the cold to raise money for Johnny's family hoping to help any way they could.

Eleven years have come and gone since then, time Johnny's loved ones have lived without answers.

Portland Police Detective Eric McDaniel is determined to change that. 

"Someone knows who the shooter is," said McDaniel.

Working through old case files, McDaniel believes this all happened after Johnny and his group of friends got into some type of argument with a stranger walking into the Carl's Jr.

"The people in Johnny's group get closer together to protect their friend, meanwhile the male, black, who came out of the Carl's Jr. had two friends, or people who appeared to be his friends, come over from the TriMet bus," said McDaniel.

Soon after, the two groups clashed and things escalated to violence.

"Some physical confrontations occur, there was pushing and shoving and punches thrown. Then, one of the males who came from the bus shelter pulled out a hand gun and started shooting into the crowd. At this point Johnny's group tried to run back into the Carl's Jr., but Johnny was struck by the bullets," said McDaniel.

None of Johnny's friends seemed to know the shooter, or the people he was with and it's possible the fight all began over a blatant misunderstanding.

"It wasn't a rival beef type thing, it was spontaneous. Someone looked at someone wrong and got into an argument, that's the tough part," said McDaniel. "It wasn't a situation where Johnny's group said 'yeah so-and-so was involved,' it's a complete who-done-it."

A complete mystery, though detectives know someone has the answers they're looking for. Someone they hope will be compelled to come forward after all this time.

"At this point there's three people involved, someone has talked to somebody about it. I'm looking for help from the community," said McDaniel. 

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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