A Gresham woman is recovering after a close call she will never forget. Police say Katie Guzenko was driving when she got caught in the middle of two gunmen who were shooting at each other.
Guzenko was running errands near Southeast 130th and Powell on Wednesday afternoon when she heard gunshots."I kept driving, hoping to get out of that area ... next thing I know my face is profusely bleeding," recalled Guzenko.A bullet pierced her car window, grazed her cheek and went through her nose. Detectives told her the incident is likely gang-related and two gunmen were on both sides of Powell shooting at each other when she was caught in the middle.
"I want to be thankful to be alive but I also know it's a situation that no one should be in," she said.
Guzenko, who is originally from Ukraine, said she never expected Portland's gun violence to hit so close to home."I have family in Ukraine and we're worried for them and for their safety, while we're in America, in a free country getting shot — it's bizarre," said Guzenko. "My family there is reaching out to me to make sure that I'm OK, when they're the ones in a war zone."As Portland struggles to get a handle on rising gun violence, Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency on Thursday that he billed as part of an effort to curb the trend."Emergency declarations can get results the status quo cannot," said Wheeler. "It organizes the work needed within a unified command structure and provides the agility and ability to address gun violence in our community."
Wheeler is aiming for a 10% reduction in shootings and gun violence deaths over the next two years, but Guzenko doesn't think that's rigorous enough. As she continues to recover, Guzenko hopes the mayor's new plan will actually have an impact."Maybe if he met somebody who was just living their life running errands and something happened to them, maybe he would look at it a little bit differently," said Guzenko.Wheeler's declaration was issued partly in response to a report released over the weekend that identified a 207% increase in Portland's homicide rate between 2019 and 2021.The report noted that about 227 people tied to gangs or other groups — a very small portion of the city's population — were directly involved in homicides and shootings over that period. While many of the victims were involved in the same kind of activity, police have also identified a number of victims as innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire.Police are still looking for the suspects in the shooting that injured Guzenko. Anyone with information is asked to contact Portland police.
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