Investigators search the pond at Deering Oaks for evidence on Thursday, a day after a fatal shooting. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Portland police charged a 38-year-old Boston man with murder in Wednesday’s fatal shooting at Deering Oaks park.

Amin Awes Mohamed, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, is charged with one count of murder and is being held without bail at Cumberland County Jail until his arraignment.

The arrest was announced almost exactly 24 hours after Walter Omal, 31, of Portland, was shot at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. A witness said Omal was among a group of several people gathered in the park.

It’s not clear yet what led police to Mohamed, how they connected him to the death, or what may have motivated the shooting. It’s also unknown when Mohamed will make his first appearance in court.

In their search for evidence, police ordered the park’s pond drained late Wednesday, and by Thursday afternoon, half a dozen investigators had put on waterproof gear and waded into the mud, using their feet, rakes, shovels and metal detectors to look for a weapon.

An investigator searches the pond at Deering Oaks for evidence on Thursday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Omal was shot near a pair of park benches facing the pond close to the intersection of Park Avenue and State Street. On Thursday afternoon the scene was marked by the discarded purple medical gloves left by first responders before Omal was rushed to a hospital. Nearby, a bicycle was propped against a tree, and a smattering of clothes and other belongings were on the ground inside the barrier of police tape.


The park and a strip of grass across State Street are popular places for some of the city’s unhoused population to congregate. One man, who declined to give his name, said he was panhandling at the corner of State Street and Park Avenue when he heard the shot.

The man said he did not have a clear view of the shooting about 40 yards away, but said he saw more than a dozen people scatter after the gunfire rang out.

Police planned to address the media Friday about the recent string of shootings.

There were two separate shootings in the Riverton neighborhood Sept. 2 and Sept. 3. One injured a woman who was shot on Springbrook Way. This week, police charged Abdihamit Ali, 22, with the woman’s shooting, and said the attack may have been related to an altercation that occurred at the Woodfords Club earlier that night.

On Sunday, a man was arrested by officers for allegedly firing a gun randomly in the area of Bolton Street and Brighton Avenue. No one was injured in that case.

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