Weekend gunfire has police stretched thin, neighbors fed up in Gresham

Gresham police are investigating a string of shootings that happened over the weekend as well as on Monday.
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 5:40 AM PDT
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GRESHAM, Ore. (KPTV) - Gresham police are investigating a string of shootings that happened over the weekend, as well as on Monday.

Two of the shootings happened early Saturday morning; one on NW 2nd and N Main Street, and the other in the 3700 block of SE 21st Drive. Then on Monday, Gresham police said there was a gunfight on the corner of SE 168th and SE Stark Street, as well as a shooting in the 17300 block of SE Pine Street.

Neighbors who live around SE 168th and SE Stark in the Rockwood neighborhood told FOX 12 they hear gunshots on a nightly basis, so when they heard there was a gun fight between two people in the middle of the day they were not surprise. Some said that the shootings are happening so much they don’t even call police.

“It does concern us. We do kind of jump every time our dog barks at night,” said Alison Miller.

For months, Miller’s street in the Rockwood neighborhood has been ringing with the sound of gunshots.

“Unfortunately, it’s become a common occurrence to hear some kind of shots every night. Whether they’re far off or close it’s hard to say,” she said.

Miller understands that around the 4th of July people shoot off fireworks, but with the increase in gun violence around the metro area, it’s hard for her and her neighbors to tell.

“It’s really scary because I worry too that the 4th of July is a good time to commit crimes like that because nobody will investigate them because it could just be fireworks,” she said.

Just up the street from Miller, Gresham police were called to an apartment complex on the corner of SE 168th and SE Stark for a shooting Monday. Officers arrived shortly after 1 p.m. and found two people shooting at each other from different vehicles. One car drove off and crashed on SE 190th and SE Stark. One shooter was taken into custody, while the second got away.

Then after 5 p.m., police were called to a home in the 17300 block of SE Pine Street. There, officers found a man with a gunshot wound. He was taken to an area hospital and is expected to survive.

“We always see more activity in the summertime,” said Adam Baker, Public Information Officer for Gresham police.

Like many law enforcement agencies, the Gresham Police Department is stretched thin due to low staffing. Baker said on any one night there are eight officers patrolling the city. As a result, responding to calls for help can be challenging in tackling big issues.

“It’s tough trying to start new divisions of addressing problems when you have struggles putting enough people on the street, to begin with,” Baker said.

Baker said Gresham police will rely on neighboring agencies like Portland police and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office for help. He said through those partnerships they’ve been successful in recovering stolen cars and getting guns off the streets.

For Miller, she knows the police are understaffed and overworked. She said she knows things will get better.

“I think Portland and Gresham have great potential to come together as a community and really work hard to improve living conditions for people - add more affordable housing and to enact more community initiatives that’ll help reduce crime in the long term,” she said.

Gresham police are investigating the shootings over the last few days. Anyone with information about any of the shootings is asked to call investigators.