Girl arraigned in possible gang shooting
SE Portland - A judge proceeds with the case against a 15-year-old as the victim, 13, remains in critical condition
Saturday, November 19, 2005
A 15-year-old Southeast Portland girl was arraigned Friday on a charge of attempted murder, accused of shooting and critically wounding a 13-year-old girl during a gang-related dispute last week.
Pauline Sue Brooks appeared briefly in Multnomah County Juvenile Court, where she met her court-appointed lawyer. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Welch said she found "very adequate probable cause" to have the case proceed.
Brooks, now in custody, was dressed in baggy gray sweats, her long brown hair twisted up on her head. She spoke quietly with her lawyer, Liann Crane, as Welch reviewed the case against her.
Brooks is accused of shooting Brittany Cruz in the chest with what Portland police described as a small-caliber pistol. Cruz was at OHSU Hospital in critical condition Friday, police said.
Also arrested was Jose Ramon Zabala, 24, who police said is Brooks' boyfriend and a member of the Latino gang Southside Trece.
Lt. Eric Hendricks of the Police Bureau's gang enforcement team said that in his three years investigating gang-related crimes, he could not think of another instance of a 15-year-old girl being accused of committing such a crime.
According to Hendricks, a police statement and a probable-case affidavit, officers were summoned to Southeast 82nd Avenue and Foster Road about 9:25 p.m. Nov. 12 on a report of a girl suffering a wound from a BB or pellet gun.
Cruz was conscious and alert, so police at first did not think she was seriously injured. Still, they took her to OHSU, where doctors and nurses discovered she had been shot in the chest with a gun. Doctors later discovered that the bullet had passed through her breastbone and lungs and nicked her heart.
Police interviewed witnesses who said that two groups of girls had met on 82nd Avenue, and that one group asked the other about its gang affiliations. Brooks and Cruz then allegedly argued. Hendricks said Friday that police were investigating the roots of the dispute.
The probable-cause affidavit alleges that Brooks pulled a gun, put it to Cruz's chest and pulled the trigger.
Police found Brooks on Wednesday in Southeast Portland, where she was arrested on accusations of attempted murder with a firearm and first-degree assault with a firearm.
The probable-cause affidavit said that when police interviewed her, Brooks "admitted that she was the shooter."
Early Thursday, police found Zabala at his home in Wood Village. There, police discovered three pistols, including one they think was used in the shooting.
Zabala was charged with two counts of hindering prosecution for allegedly taking Brooks and the gun from the scene and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm.
Hendricks said police did not release details on the shooting until Friday because they did not want media accounts to influence witnesses' recollections.
Anne Saker: 503-294-7656; firstname.lastname@example.org