Urban violence continued last week with more shootings in Portland, Oregon. One incident resulted in the death of a 53-year-old African American woman, caught in suspected gang crossfire. Kelley Marie Smith was sitting in her car, possibly working her shift at Uber-Eats, when she was shot and killed, The Oregonian reports.
Pastor J. W. Matt Hennessee heard the gunfire outside his church office just before 7:00 pm. He ran out of the office and saw people running away from what they said was a shooting in Dawson Park. Police discovered over 80 shell casings from three different weapons on the scene.
Another man was shot early Sunday morning, also while sitting in his car. Police are calling it “random,” with no suspects currently. The unidentified man sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries. The car was riddled with bullets, The Oregonian reports.
This year, 53 people have died of gunshot wounds in Portland. Of the dead, 25 are people of color, nearly 50 percent in a city with a demographic mix of 77 percent white and five percent African American as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.
“How do we really portray that Black lives matter if, still in Portland, a disproportionate number of African American males are victims of gun violence?” said Nike Green, director of the city’s Office of Youth Violence Prevention, according to OregonLive.
Portland Police Chief Lovell estimates Portland now has a shooting about every two days.
“The disparate impact of violence on our communities of color is shocking,” Lovell said. “Our African American, Somali, Iraqi, Latino and other communities are grieving the loss of loved ones.”
A Portland resident spoke with Budget and Tax News but was unwilling to use his name for fear of retribution. The resident said the city used to be safe and clean, but the city began to decline when government policies changed.
“They invented the problem they have,” the resident said, referring to elected officials.
The resident said he and his wife used to enjoy Portland’s restaurants, parks, and shops but now do not go downtown for fear of crime and violent activists. Public drug use and homelessness have destroyed what used to be a good city.
“Rioting is a big problem,” the resident said. “It used to feel like a safe city, and these problems never existed until they allowed antifa groups to terrorize people. BLM is even attacking black people if they have pro-Trump stickers.” Black-owned businesses have not been immune to the harassment and violence.
In several cities across the country, residents of the black community were often among those harmed when protests turned to riots and looting. Victims killed during riots have been disproportionately black. Several black-owned businesses were completely destroyed amid the looting and destruction, Washington Times reports.
“The contradictions and the hypocrisy of these so-called social justice warriors—they are more concerned about their own virtue-signaling, even if it means the continued destruction of Black Americans,” said Robert Woodson, a conservative civil rights leader and founder of the Woodson Center.
“How many more people have to die, how many more shots have to be fired before we come and say whatever we got in place right now is not working?” Hennessee texted to city leaders.
“We are willing as faith leaders and community people to do whatever it is we need to do to help curb this senseless violence,” Hennessee said. “This is not the Portland that any of us want to be.”