Police in Portland, Maine, have charged a teenager with the murder of a man outside the city’s homeless shelter.
Tyrese Collins, 19, of Westbrook, was arrested Friday and charged with killing 45-year-old Jack Wilson on Oxford Street June 26.
Police have not determined a motive for the shooting but said there was an “altercation” that preceded it.
Collins was already being held at the Cumberland County Jail for bail violations, in connection with a stabbing in Westbrook.
“We have apprehended a dangerous person,” said Portland Assistant Police Chief Vern Malloch.
The June 26 shooting is one of the latest incidents of violent crime that has left Portland’s Bayside neighborhood shaken. Since April, there have been three shootings and three stabbings in the small neighborhood near the center of the city.
“We are also concerned about the levels of drug use and violence going on in Bayside,” said Malloch. “We have deployed additional officers to that area for many months now.”
Members of the Bayside Neighborhood Association have been working with police to address the spike in drug use and violent crime. While the neighborhood only makes up one percent of Portland’s land mass, the crime rate there is disproportionate.
“The recent violent incidents and things involving guns – that’s a spike I did not anticipate,” said Laura Cannon, the BNA Vice President.
In May, a drive-by shooting injured a woman next to Cannon’s home on Parris Street.
“It was shocking,” she said. “I used to live in the Lower East Side of New York City... and I’ve never had police tape attached to my residence [before]. We need to something about this. This is reaching a crisis point.”
Residents have complained about escalating drug use and sexual acts in the open, street fights, vandalism, and aggressive behavior. Cannon said there are many factors fueling Bayside’s issues, including the opioid epidemic, growing homeless population, a concentration of services in one area, and a number of criminals coming to Bayside to prey on a vulnerable population.
“We are working hard to maintain peace and order in that neighborhood,” said Malloch. “It’s a challenging task, but we feel like we’re up for it.”