PORTLAND, Ore. — An adult and three minors pleaded not guilty to murder charges in what police said was a revenge attack carried out after the victim ran up to a car and punched one of the suspects in the face.
Police arrested 20-year-old Isai Guzman-Ramirez and the three teens on Saturday after 17-year-old Jose Ricardo Morales was found dead on a sidewalk in Gresham, east of Portland.
He had been shot near the shoulder with a .22 caliber rifle.
The four defendants entered their pleas Monday. A preliminary hearing was set next week.
Three of the young people confessed to detectives and gang officers, according to a probable cause affidavit filed by Multnomah County prosecutor David Hannon.
The one who did not is a 17-year-old boy whom the others pointed to as the triggerman, authorities said.
The shooting stemmed from a dispute in which Morales ran up to a vehicle and punched the 17-year-old in the face, the document states.
A 15-year-old defendant told a gang officer that everyone in the vehicle agreed to go to Guzman’s house to get a firearm and retaliate.
“(The 15-year-old) stated that he circled the area three times before slowing down prior to the shooting. (He) admitted that they waited to shoot the victim because there was too much traffic and witnesses,” Hannon wrote.
A Gresham police officer stopped the four suspects shortly after the shooting, when their white sedan ran a stop sign. He heard on the police radio there had been a shooting a few blocks away and noticed the driver and other occupants sweating.
An officer who arrived to provide cover saw blood on one of the passengers, the prosecutor wrote, and a flashlight shined on the front-passenger door revealed a “trigger assembly and a wood stock” to a rifle.