‘A dangerous time’: Portland, Oregon, sees record homicides

‘A dangerous time’: Portland, Oregon, sees record homicides 3

It was nearly last call on a Friday when Jacob Eli Knight Vasquez went to get a drink across the street from the tavern where he worked in northwest Portland — an area with a thriving dining scene, where citygoers enjoy laid-back eateries, international cuisines and cozy cafés.

The 34-year-old had been at the pizza bar only a short time when shots rang out. Vasquez was struck by a stray bullet and died at the scene.

His killing in late September was one of the 67 homicides this year in Portland — a city that has already surpassed and is on pace to shatter its previous record of 66 slayings, set in 1987.

In a metropolis wracked by gang violence, fear and frustration have settled over Portland as stories like Vasquez’s have made some wary to go out at night. Unlike previous years, more bystanders, neighbors and friends are being caught in the crossfire — from people mourning at vigils and sitting in cars to children playing in a park.

“People should be leery because this is a dangerous time,” said Lionel Irving Jr., a lifelong Portland resident and a gang outreach worker.

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