October 21 2009

-The family of a Portland teenager killed in a Southeast Portland park in May pleaded Wednesday for tips that could lead to an arrest.
Borisshell Washington, 18, was gunned down about 9:20 p.m. May 31 at the entrance to Raymond Park off Southeast 118th Avenue. The Jefferson High School senior, who was set to graduate a week later, was attending a barbecue in the park. She died from a gunshot to the head.

Police said there were gang associates at the large gathering in the park but Washington was not the intended target in the shooting.

“Of all the people that was there, somebody knows something,” said Washington’s sister, Raynisha Mayes, 20. “Borisshell deserves to have someone step forward and speak for her. … If anyone has love for her and her family, they will step up.”

large_shel.jpgView full sizeFamily photoBorisshell WashingtonHer parents said they are too distraught to think about who was responsible.
“I haven’t had time to think about the person. I’m just missing my baby,” said her mom, Sara Issac. “I’m still hurting. My family deserves peace and justice. We haven’t truly accepted she’s gone.”

Boris Washington said his daughter had gone to the barbecue with a friend to look for a ride home. “I’m so empty. I’m to where I don’t have feelings anymore. I’m just done. … I’m too hurt to be angry.”

Shortly after the killing, police took an 18-year-old into custody on an accusation of murder but dropped the charge days later, saying he was the wrong man.

Homicide Detective Ken Whattam said he and his partner have made “significant steps” in their investigation. “But we need a lot better idea than we have” as to what led to the shooting. He estimated there were 50 to 70 people at the park gathering.

“She was just doing what any 18-year-old would do and was shot and killed for no reason,” Whattam said.

Witnesses and neighbors along Southeast 118th Avenue heard three gunshots. Some saw and heard at least two cars speed away on the unpaved road. Washington was left behind in a dust cloud, collapsing on the dirt entrance to the park. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Just days before the shooting, Washington’s mother and siblings had moved out of North Portland to a house in outer Southeast Portland to escape violence. Washington, whom friends and family called Shel or Shelly, helped persuade her family to move.

The teen had lined up modeling work with a local hair salon and was enrolled to start the following month at Phagans’ School of Hair Design in Northeast Portland.

“It’s hard, very hard,” her mother said. “Eighteen years, 18 years — to see your child grow up with ambition and wanting to be somebody. I was very proud of her. She wasn’t only my daughter. She was my best friend.”

Washington’s mother and sister said it’s hard to wake each day without her smile, laughter and friendship. “I still go to work every day,” said Issac, who works in a nursing home, “and pray every day for strength.”

The Portland Police Bureau, in cooperation with Crime Stoppers, announced it is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the homicide.

Call Crime Stoppers at 503-823-4357 or leave a tip on its Web site.

— Maxine Bernstein


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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