A shooting near the Portland State campus left one person dead just before 1 a.m. on Nov. 7.
After receiving reports of a shooting, officers from PSU Campus Public Safety and Central Precinct Portland Police Bureau found a person lying on the ground outside the Vue Apartments building, which overlooks PSU Park Blocks at 1717 SW Park Ave & Montgomery.
According to reports from PPB and CPSO following the incident, medical personnel on the scene announced one victim dead short after arrival.
“That victim is not associated, affiliated or a student of [PSU],” Interim CPSO Chief Lieutenant Vincent Elmore said while speaking to press on-scene at 9 a.m. “There’s not a threat to any of the PSU community or the community at large.”
Elmore said he had no suspect information at that time and the investigation is being conducted by PPB homicide detail.
According to a PPB report, preliminary information suggests a disturbance occurred prior to the shooting. Witnesses told investigating officers they saw several people running from the location shortly after hearing gunfire.
PPB officers found evidence of gunfire outside the nearby Subway restaurant and did not locate a suspect during their area search.
The victim will be identified once the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office conducts an autopsy and notifies next of kin.
Fatal shooting Investigation at PSU as of 8 a.m. Victim no affil. with PSU. More updates soon. pic.twitter.com/RCV0Vz1zCR
— Portland State Vanguard (@psuvanguard) November 7, 2017
The Vue Apartment building stands across the street from PSU’s Simon Benson House and shares an adjacent patio space with businesses including Starbucks, Rogue Hall and Subway.
Brianna, an employee at the adjacent Subway who did not provide her last name, said she arrived for work early this morning after seeing reports of the shooting on local broadcast programs.
While she and her supervisors waited to regain access to the building, Brianna said an older man she believed to be associated with the victim arrived on scene before Portland HazMat cleaned the area. “He just sat there staring at the [crime scene], which was really sad.”
“He just looked very distraught,” she continued.
Brianna said PPB officials did not directly approach her, but told her supervisors, “Twenty more minutes—we’ll be able to go in, then [they said] twenty more minutes. That was 3 hours ago. We’re not open.” At 9:30 a.m. officials had not yet reopened access to Subway and other businesses in the complex.
Members of the Portland HazMat Team arrived shortly after 9 a.m. and worked within red danger tape blocking the perimeter of the patio.
CPSO and PPB jurisdiction and collaboration
Elmore said the shooting was not technically on the PSU campus or on PSU-owned property, which means this event would fall under the jurisdiction of Portland Police, though both responded to the incident.
“We will collaborate with [PPB] to make sure our campus is safe every day,” Elmore said.
At 7:40 a.m., a CPSO dispatcher said further updates on the incident will come from Portland Police Bureau. “Classes are going on as scheduled,” the dispatcher said, and referred to the PSU Alert System in response to queries about building closures.
As confirmed in Elmore’s 9 a.m. press conference, campus operations will be uninterrupted, with no class cancellations or university buildings affected or closed at this time as a result of the investigation.
The University Office of Communications published an additional statement at 11:30 a.m. that read, “The main entrances to the Simon Benson House, Montgomery Residence Hall and the Science Research Technology Center were fully reopened at 7:30 a.m.”
As students arrived on campus this morning, many observed the investigation scene and raised concerns. One student said, “The main thing I want to know is what can be done to keep the students safe.”
Students enrolled in the PSU Alert System should have received a timely alert about the incident early this morning, though some who said they believed they were actively enrolled in the alert system told Vanguard they did not receive any alert.
— Portland State Vanguard (@psuvanguard) November 7, 2017
Students not enrolled in the PSU Alert System, or those who believe they are subscribed to alerts and did not receive a timely warning notification this morning, should visit the PSU banweb account page to confirm alert system enrollment.
“We want [students] to know that the PSU campus is safe,” Elmore said. “And for the community in the surrounding area to know it’s safe also, and that we collaborated with the Portland Police as we move forward with this investigation.”
Additional incidence of CPSO response to nearby gunfire & active shooter preparedness
On Oct. 10, CPS officers responded to a different gunshot report in which no injuries were reported near the 1300 block of SW 11th Ave. Witnesses said around 1:30 p.m., a white four-door vehicle struck a pedestrian crossing 10th Ave south of SW Mill St, shortly after which the pedestrian allegedly fire one gunshot at the vehicle.
PPB Gun Task Force launched an investigation into the incident at that time. No connection has been made between the Oct. 10 gunfire incident and today’s fatal shooting.
CPS Officers and representatives from PSU’s Emergency Management department recently discussed the university’s preparations in the event of an active shooter on campus. Read the full report from Anna Williams here: After tragic shootings, CPSO outlines active shooter response.
Statement of campus resources & support
A letter sent from Associate Vice President of Human Resources Isaac Dixon and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life Michelle Toppe offered support to the PSU community. The letter, emailed to PSU students and community members just before 5 p.m. read:
“[The Office of DSOL and] Human Resources would like to offer support for students, faculty and staff who may have been impacted by a shooting incident which occurred early this morning at the 900 block of SW Montgomery Street. While the victim involved in this incident is not affiliated with PSU and authorities have determined that there is no ongoing threat, we know that such acts impact us all and we write to provide information about resources available to all members of the PSU community.”
Additional reporting by Taylor Such and Alex-Jon Earl.
[Note: This article originally reported the shooting was on campus. Though this incident is in very close proximity to PSU campus, it did not take place on university-owned property. This distinction is important in regard to police jurisdiction and response.]
Post updated Nov. 7 at 4:02 p.m. with additional information, including that of an Oct. 10 no-injury shooting near campus (no apparent connection to Nov. 7 incident), updates on university protocol in the event of active shooters in its vicinity and information on the PSU Alert System.
Persons impacted by this incident can receive support services from the Women’s Resource Center, Student Health and Counseling Services and Dean of Students Life. For non-emergency concerns regarding campus safety, contact Campus Public Safety at 503 725-4407.