A bullet that broke a window above a sleeping baby in a Southeast Portland home Saturday night apparently came from a gang-related shooting more than a mile away, according to a Portland police spokesman.

Paul and Christina Cone told The Oregonian/OregonLive that the bullet left glass scattered on their daughter Ellie but did not injure the 1-year-old.  The couple said they were surprised to learn that police believe the bullet came from a shooting  at the same time about 1.2 miles away from their Montavilla home near Southeast 76th Avenue and Burnside.

“It was obviously very scary,” said Christina.  “We’re very happy she didn’t get hurt, or that any of us did.”

“You kind of freak out, wondering does it have enough velocity to put a bruise on your head or do something worse,” her husband added.

Sgt. Pete Simpson, the Portland Police Bureau spokesman, said further tests are needed to prove that the bullet came from gang-related shooting outside the Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church at 5441 S.E. Belmont St.

However, he added, “it is unlikely it came from anywhere else.”  He said there were no other reports of shootings in the area and the Cones’ house was struck at the same time the shots were fired near the church.

“Bullets travel.  They travel a long way,” said Simpson, who added that this case was unusual in that the bullet apparently arched over a ridge before reaching its target.

Simpson said it is possible the bullet could have been carried by the wind, which Paul Cone said had been blowing strongly toward his house from the scene of the shootings. Gun safety websites say that many rifles and some handguns can have a potential range of more than a mile.

Simpson said the shootings outside the church appear to be related to a party in the church basement attended by gang associates.  Simpson said attendees at the party “were very hostile and uncooperative” with police and that no one appeared to be injured.

Simpson said he did not have information about whether police have identified any suspects.

The gunshots were reported to 911 at 9:55 p.m. and just one minute later, Paul Cone said he called 911 to report that something had broken through the double-pane window of his daughter’s room.

The Cones and a visiting friend were watching a movie when they heard what sounded like a crash from another part of the house.  After investigating, they found the broken window over their daughter.

A few minutes later, Paul Cone called police again to report that his friend had found a bullet on the floor, a few feet from the bed.  He said the bullet struck a bamboo blind but did not pierce it.

He said as many as eight officers eventually came to his house to investigate the incident, including members of the gang enforcement team.

Christina Cone said she immediately bathed her daughter, who had some powdery bits of glass in her hair and a small piece of glass on an ear. 

The mom said she was actually relieved when she discovered the bullet likely came from a mile away.

“I’m happy it wasn’t somebody running through our backyard throwing rocks or shooting bullets,” she said.  “I still feel like our neighborhood is safe.”

–Jeff Mapes

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