PORTLAND — Police scoured the city Monday for a suspect and witnesses in the predawn shooting death of a 41-year-old Portland man at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Congress Street.

The state medical examiner is scheduled to do an autopsy today and will likely confirm the man’s identity so it can be released publicly, said acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck.

Police said they know who the victim is and have notified his family. WCSH-TV, quoting family members, identified the victim as Allen MacLean.

“As far as the relationship between the victim and the suspect, it’s unknown at this point,” Sauschuck said.

Neighbors and workers who were in the area summoned police after hearing at least one gunshot at 4:26 a.m. Monday.

A witness, Jim Bellanceau, said he was waiting at a nearby convenience store on Congress Street when he heard shots.

“I heard a pop,” he said, and described a man running across Congress Street and screaming for help. “By the time I got there he was just barely breathing. He had blood all over the top of his head . . . I thought they beat him up.”

When paramedics arrived they pronounced the victim dead at the scene. He apparently was shot in an alley behind the three-story apartment building at 4-6 Massachusetts Ave., and collapsed on the sidewalk in front of a Mobil gas station and convenience store at 1196 Congress St.

Sauschuck said the victim did not live in the apartment building.

Police retrieved surveillance video Monday from nearby businesses, which include two gas stations and a bank, although it is unclear whether any of the camera views includes the apartment building.

The owner of the building, Sadie Bibi, said the first-floor tenant is a woman who rented the apartment about a month ago and then left the country to buy supplies for a store that she is opening.

The apartment was supposed to be empty while the woman was gone, she said. The woman has an 18-year-old son and two younger children.

A young man whom police interviewed early Monday and who lives in the first-floor apartment declined to answer a reporter’s questions about the shooting.

Police said he is not a suspect, but they are trying to identify people who were at a party in the apartment Sunday night into Monday morning.

The party apparently broke up before the shooting occurred, Sauschuck said.

The shooting is the first homicide of this year in Portland.

Although the medical examiner will determine how the man died, Sauschuck confirmed that the victim was shot once.

Police dogs, which are used to track suspects, find evidence or locate drugs, were brought in to help investigators, Sauschuck said.

Police have interviewed several people, not all of whom have been cooperative, he said.

He said he did not believe the person who shot MacLean poses a grave danger to the public.

Neighbors said there had been a series of parties over many nights, late into the night, at the apartment building in recent weeks. Neighbors said the railings leading up to the door were broken in a melee in recent days.

On Monday, three spots in the alley were marked with orange spray paint, the same paint that police used to mark where the victim fell on the sidewalk across Congress Street. The paint can be used to note where evidence such as shell casings or biological evidence is recovered.

Massachusetts Avenue is a residential street that cuts between Congress Street and Brighton Avenue. Residents say it is a nice neighborhood, but 4-6 Massachusetts Ave. is an exception.

“It’s been an ongoing problem,” said Kate McMahon, who has lived a few doors down for a year and a half.

 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: dhench@pressherald.com