Portland activist warns gang violence prevention needs more resources: ‘This summer is going to be a bloodbath’

Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 5:44 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - A teenager who died Sunday in a shooting in Southeast Portland was a student at David Douglas High School, according to district officials who also confirmed another student was one of three other teens hurt in the shooting.

Portland Police have not identified the victims, beyond saying that they were all teenage boys.

Investigators have also not said anything about a suspect or what may have led up to the shooting.

FOX 12 on Tuesday spoke about the shooting with a community activist dedicated to ending gang-related gun violence.

Laurie Palmer, who founded Go Get Your Child, said she was called out to the shooting scene Sunday night by family members of the victims.

“This is what retaliation is about – that is the end result,” Palmer said, gesturing to the memorial of candles, balloons and notes marking where the shooting happened off SE 162nd near Stark Street.

“Right now, we got people – their hearts are broken,” Palmer added. “Their loved one is gone and some of their family members have been hit by gun violence.”

The David Douglas School District said it sent out a note to parents, students and staff Monday night, saying in part, “We are holding the families of all four victims deep in our thoughts, and we acknowledge that this is a traumatic event for all who know them, including both staff and students, whether former or current.”

Students at the high school told FOX 12 they are saddened to lose what they described as a funny classmate who liked to joke around.

Palmer said she’s been out to comfort a lot of family members grieving gang-related shootings over the years.

Palmer’s own son was shot – but survived – a gang-related shooting seven years ago, prompting her to become an outspoken advocate against gangs.

Palmer is worried that gang shooting will get worse before things get better.

“This summer is going to be a bloodbath,” Palmer said. “I’m telling you right now -- because that family that was hit -- was a big family. A lot of people hurt over those youth.”

Despite her predictions, she hopes that this most recent tragedy can serve as a wakeup call and spur other parents to demand change.

“It’s two years after the pandemic,” Palmer said. “Let’s start talking and getting people out in the fresh air and talking about violence, and how we relate to one another.”

The David Douglas School District said it has counselors available for any students or staff who need some extra support in wake of the tragic shooting.