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Nightclub Shooting Update/Recap

January 26, 2009 00:00



On Saturday, January 26, 2009, at 10:37 p.m., Portland Police officers responded to a reported shooting near the intersection of Southwest 2nd Avenue and Pine Street, near The Zone, an underage nightclub.

Portland Police Officers responded to the scene and discovered nine victims as well as the shooter, who had a self-inflicted gunshot wound. One of the victims, 16-year-old Ashley Lauren Wilks, was pronounced dead at the scene. The remaining victims, five females and three males, were taken to local hospitals. At the hospital, 17-year-old Martha “Tika “ Paz De Noboa, of Peru, also died.

Six victims are part of the Rotary Youth Exchange program, and are foreign exchange students. They include: 18-year-old Ana Zambrano Soledispa, from Ecuador; 18-year-old Gonzalo Vasquez Orozco, from Guatemala;18-year-old Trista Chang, from Taiwan; a 16-year-old from France; and 18-year-old Susanna De-Sousa, from Italy. Also wounded was a 16-year-old from Portland and 44-year-old Brad Yoast, general manager of a nearby establishment.

The suspect, 24-year-old Erik Salvadore Ayala, is in critical condition at a local hospital, following a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. He is a resident of Milwaukie, Oregon, and is currently unemployed. A witness reported that Mr. Ayala had been depressed, but gave no indication that he was going to harm anyone.

On January 25, 2009, at approximately 2:30 p.m., Portland Police Detectives executed a search warrant at Mr. Ayala’s residence. At the residence, they found a case for the handgun, personal information, ammunition, numerous video games, and a note Mr. Ayala left for his roommate. The note did not specify any action that he was about to take, but rather insinuated possible thoughts of suicide and provided information about the disposition of his property.

Investigators have determined that Mr. Ayala parked his vehicle near the area of Southwest 4th and Main, approached the nightclub and began shooting in an incident that only lasted a few seconds. At this time, investigators have not determined any link between the victims and the shooter and believe Mr. Ayala acted alone.

Mr. Ayala used a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun. For investigative reasons, detectives are still reconstructing the events and processing evidence that was recovered and do not want to provide specific information about the number of shots fired or the type of ammunition at this time.

This investigation is revealing that the victims were not targeted because of their nationality and the victims did not do anything to cause this shooting.

Anyone who had contact with Mr. Ayala in the days before the shooting or anyone with additional information is asked to call Portland Police Detective Ken Whattam (503) 823-0696 or Detective Mark Slater (503) 823-9319. Anyone with information concerning when and where Erik Ayala obtained the handgun used in the shooting should contact the above Detectives.

This investigation is continuing.



Media Relations:
Sgt. Pete Simpson
Desk: 503-823-0830
Pager: 503-790-1779

Portland Police Bureau
1111 SW 2nd Ave, Suite 1526
Portland, Oregon 97204



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