As we live in North Portland, we are blessed with many things: the illustrious St. Johns Bridge, Cathedral Park, a seemingly endless choice of food options, cafés and many other wonders. Unfortunately, one other aspect that comes with this beautiful city is crime.
In the early evening of Wednesday, February 4, 22-year-old Teondre Bonner was shot in the alley behind KFC on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. On my way to a café on MLK Blvd., I saw one cop car parked outside KFC with its lights flashing and a few people standing around the entrance. I assumed someone had started a ruckus at the restaurant and the police were called to sort the problem out.
As quickly as I had made the assumption, I was swiftly proven wrong. A split second later, my ears were bombarded with the sound of a dozen police sirens and 2 fire truck sirens speeding towards me, despite the standstill traffic. Just like that, it seemed the entirety of the North Portland Police Bureau had converged on KFC.
I promptly parked my car in the lot next to KFC to see what was really happening. After getting out of my car and walking closer to KFC to see what was going on, I was met by 2 Portland Police Officers who asked me if I had seen anything. After explaining that I had not, I was quickly escorted across the street where they put up police caution tape to keep the growing crowd out of the crime scene.
As soon as I was asked to stay behind the yellow tape, I realized this was more than just a disgruntled customer. After speaking with onlookers who had been at the scene from the start, they said there had been a series of loud bangs and a man ran into the KFC covered in blood.
The closest I have ever gotten to a shooting is watching cop or forensic shows like CSI: Miami, Forever or Dexter. The difference between the shows and the real thing was there was no hardened detective getting out of his car in slow motion with The Who playing in the background; it was complete chaos.
Police were running in and out of KFC, scouring the street and alley behind KFC for evidence. Other officers were speaking with local neighborhood residents about what they had seen. At this point, all I could think was This is insane, I had never been near something like this before.
The other members of the crowd, however, had seen this many times. They talked with one another of recent times there had been other shootings near them. The casualness of their tone is what really bothered me. Sure, I have heard of tough neighborhoods where shootings are common; but, those are supposed to be far away, aren’t they? How can it be a mere few miles away from my university, at a place where not only I, but many of my friends have eaten as well?
“When I was told about it [the shooting] I was really surprised. I’ve gone to that KFC with my boyfriend before and it’s just so weird to think that a shooting happened at a place I’ve been before.” Said University of Portland Junior, Nicole Simmons.
Unfortunately, the people who gathered around telling stories of how gang-related shootings are becoming more frequent in Portland are right. According to the Portland Police Bureau, the number of gang—related shootings has gone to 66 gang-related shootings in 2014 compared to the 44 gang—related shootings in 2013.
While gang-related crimes may be on the rise in Portland, the crime rate against persons was down 3% in a 2011 Portland Police Bureau crime report. While Teondre Bonner is expected to make a full recovery in the hospital, it was an eye—opening experience to witness one of one of the many social problems that is prevalent here in the City of Roses.
Categories: North PDX