Murder of 2 Portland high schoolers reignites calls to invest in gun violence prevention

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 6:16 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - It was a tragic start to Portland Public School’s spring break.

The district confirmed two of the three people shot to death in a car near a North Portland park over the weekend were their students. Eskender Tamra, 17, and Isaac Daudi, 19, both attended Franklin High School in Southeast Portland. The district said Daudi transferred to Roosevelt High School this year to complete his senior year.

Portland police said the two teens were driving down North Foss Avenue with 20-year-old Patrick Johnson when bullets started flying around 12:30 p.m. Officers arrived at the scene to find the three dead in the car.

Sam Thompson, Programs Manager for the Office of Violence Prevention said the death of these three young men in broad daylight is a tragedy and shows the city has a lot of work to do to curb gun violence.

“This is not just a problem in the communities that are affected, this is something that affects all of us,” Thompson said.

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The Office of Violence Prevention works under Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Office to proactively stop all kinds of violence, starting at the community level. With this shooting happening during spring break, concerns in the community have resurfaced of an increase of violence returning as the days get warmer and longer. Thompson said his office is currently investing in resources to proactively curb violence as the days get closer to Summer.

“What we want to do is put services, credible messengers, violence interrupters, all of those people that we know can make a difference in our community in spaces and give them the authority and give them the patience, the grace, and the time to do their work effectively,” Thompson said.

This week, the Office of Violence Prevention announced they divided up half of a million dollars to five community-based organizations that have proven effective to slow the rate of violence in the community.

FOX 12 recently spoke to Lionel Irving, CEO of Lover is Stronger. His non-profit is one of the five chosen to get $100,000 from the Office of Violence Prevention. He said with money they got through Safe Summer PDX in September of 2022, he was able to invest in more staff that went out and stopped 400 situations from escalating into gunfire.

Thompson said like Love is Stronger, other organizations have proven their technique of using people with lived experience of gun violence, is an effective way to connect with a community, build trust, and de-escalate potentially violent situations.  But Thompson said this money needs to be reoccurring from the city to really make an impact on slowing gun violence in the long run.

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“I feel the frustration of all of our partners,” Thompson said. “I feel the frustration of this community, we’re hurting. So we need to be able to be committed and be able to give everybody who can do this job, the power, the authority, and the sustainability to do it.”

Portland police are still looking for information in this past weekend’s triple murder that can lead to an arrest. You’re asked if you have any information, to call the bureau.