The shooting on Hampshire Street early Tuesday that left one man seriously injured was not a random act of violence and the public is not in danger, Portland police said, but they would not say whether a suspect has been identified or whether they recovered the weapon.
The shooting took place in front of Sangillo’s Tavern at 18 Hampshire St., a small neighborhood bar about a block from the Portland police station.
Police officers who responded found a 24-year-old Portland man lying on the ground, bleeding from a gunshot wound.
Shots were reported at 1:20 a.m., and almost immediately several cruisers converged on the scene, with armed officers stopping cars and detaining suspects and witnesses, observers said.
The man was rushed to Maine Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. While he is expected to survive, he remained in serious condition Tuesday.
Police would not say whether the victim, whom they did not name, provided an account of what happened or identified his attacker.
Several residents in the neighborhood said they were woken by the sound of gunshots.
“I hear these three pops: pow, pow, pow,” said Jeffrey Kittay, who lives across the street. “Some guy started to moan,” though he couldn’t make out the words the man was saying. Kittay is senior product portfolio director for MaineToday Media, which publishes the Portland Press Herald.
David Clark, who lives across the street and a couple of buildings up Hampshire Street, said he was startled by the sound of three shots.
“I could see there was a guy who appeared to be shot laying against the car in the street,” he said. “He appeared to be shot in the leg. … His shoulders were up against the wheel (of a car) and the rest of him was laying down in the street.”
One car started to pull out of the parking lot alongside Sangillo’s but was stopped by police, who ordered everyone out at gunpoint, he said.
“Police seemed to be on edge. It’s Portland. You don’t get too many shootings,” Clark said.
Police said they have made no arrests in the shooting but did take some people into custody.
Gang Deng Majok, 29, of Portland was charged with assault, refusing to submit to arrest and violating bail conditions. Amir Miller, 20, of Delaware was charged with a probation violation.
Police did not say that either man’s arrest had anything to do with the shooting.
Police removed a black sedan that had been parked in front of Sangillo’s but would not say what connection the car might have to the incident.
The shooting occurred on the edge of a commercial area, but there are apartment buildings across the street and along one side.
Kittay and others said it is not unusual to have a commotion outside the small neighborhood bar.
“There’s often a ruckus outside. You would hear something like someone was getting beaten to a pulp and then some laughter” showing the conflict wasn’t serious, he said.
This confrontation, however, was different.
Less than a minute after the shots, two men walked past the man on the ground and up Hampshire Street, showing little interest in the scene, Kittay said.
“These guys are moving and they’re completely cool, like nothing’s happening,” Kittay said. He said one was large and one was small, though he didn’t get a good look at them because of the darkness and spotty lighting.
Kittay said the police arrived almost immediately and soon had a number of people lined up along the curb.
Kittay said he went outside to talk to officers, some armed with semiautomatic assault rifles, but they sent him back inside. He was interviewed by an officer later.
On Tuesday, green spray paint marked several spots on the ground in front of Sangillo’s where police had collected evidence, possibly including shell casings. The markings also could be found farther up Hampshire Street and in an area around the Rite Aid pharmacy on Congress Street two blocks away. Police would not explain the significance of the markings or whether they believed the shooter fled up Hampshire Street and past the plaza.
Police collected security video from Sangillo’s and other businesses in the area in an effort to identify the gunman and witnesses.
Lt. James Sweatt, head of detectives, said police do not feel the public is in danger.
“Do we feel there’s an imminent threat? No. We are concerned any time a citizen is injured in a violent attack in the city. We’re concerned and the community should be concerned,” Sweatt said.
Police did not issue a description of the shooter and would not say whether they had been given an accurate description by witnesses. Sweatt said several witnesses and potential suspects were identified and are being interviewed.
Sweatt said the investigation is complex and requires extensive processing of forensic evidence. Police also will seek to interview the victim when he regains consciousness.
Sweatt added that officers have not determined whether the victim and gunman came from inside the tavern. A woman working at Sangillo’s Tuesday said she knew nothing about the incident and declined to comment further.
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: