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Random Violence

Lone Shooter Terrorizes Downtown Portland



Erik Salvador Ayala, 24, left a note for his Milwaukie roommate in an envelope marked "open on Sunday" before driving to Portland last Saturday night, January 24, and allegedly shooting nine people at SW 2nd and Pine, before turning the gun on himself.

The note was accompanied by a check to Ayala's roommate and with information on his bank accounts and Social Security number, along with suggestions to sell his car and PlayStation 3, and to keep the money.

"Good luck in this shitty world," the note concluded.

Ayala's roommate and friends have since described him as depressed, according to detectives, but there is still no indication of a motive for the shooting, which left 16-year-old Portlander Ashley Wilks and 17-year-old Martha "Tika" Paz de Noboa, of Peru, dead. Seven other victims, many of whom were part of a Rotary International exchange program from as far away as Italy, France, Ecuador, and Taiwan were treated at area hospitals.

Ayala, too, was initially thought to be dead in the street, according to Detective Mark Slater, who added that a 9mm semi-automatic Tanfoglio gun was retrieved along with seven shell casings from the scene. Detectives think bullets passed through some of the victims, before hitting others. In critical condition, Ayala died on Tuesday, January 27, in a local hospital.

The Oregonian prompted controversy on Monday, January 26, when it reported that "one of the things that bought Ayala joy" was playing violent videogames. Slater said a copy of the videogame Grand Theft Auto III was found at Ayala's apartment, but said police were not pursuing a link between videogames and the shooting.

"There were a lot of videogames in the apartment," said Slater. "Of a wide variety of the kind you might find in any 24-year-old's apartment."

"I've never seen anything like it in my 20 years of law enforcement," said Central Precinct Commander Mike Reese on Monday, when asked to describe the scene of the shooting when he arrived.

"I think it's extraordinary that this many people can be shot in Portland, Oregon," said Police Chief Rosie Sizer, at a press conference on Sunday, January 25. "The randomness as well as the scale—that's outside anything we've known [here] in the past."

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