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Portland investigators are asking members of the public for help in solving the fatal shooting of a musician.
Police officers responded to a report of a shooting at Wallace Park in Portland, Oregon at 11:23 p.m. on Sept. 23, according to a Portland Police Bureau press release. There, they found paramedics treating 26-year-old Erika Caroline Walker Evans, who had been shot. The medical personnel attempted to save her life but she succumbed to her wounds before she could be transported to a local hospital.
A medical examiner has since determined Evans' cause of death was a gunshot wound and ruled her death a homicide.
The Oregonian reported that bullet casings were found both in the park and in her car, which was located more than 80 miles south of the city in Corvallis, Oregon.
Her father, Paul Evans, told the paper that she'd been in Portland as part of a long road trip from their hometown of Austin, Texas with her boyfriend.
He explained that Erika and the boyfriend had left Austin together in mid-August for a long road trip along the West Coast, and that the boyfriend was particularly fond of Portland.
He last spoke to his daughter on the morning of Sept. 18, and she reportedly told him that everything was well.
Now, Evans' father is speaking out about his daughter, who he said was a musician, poet, henna artist and painter.
"This is the tragedy that is incomprehensible to most people, but losing my daughter is the most profound tragedy of my entire life,” Paul Evans told NBC's Austin affiliate KXAN. “She loved to create from nothing, something beautiful. And she loved to express herself through different ways.”
Paul told the station that Erika, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, was traveling along the West Coast as part of an "adventure," adding, "She loved the California coast, especially Monterey. She lived there for a while, and she sang songs on the pier."
On Thursday, Paul and his wife Christina flew to Portland and headed straight to the basketball court in Wallace Park where Erika's body had been found, The Oregonian reported.
There, locals were still contributing to a memorial that someone had set up before Erika was identified.
"Even when she was an anonymous victim, [people in the neighborhood] still turned out," Paul told the paper. "They still felt a community connection to her loss. I was very pleased she wasn’t just another homicide."
While Paul has spoken to Portland investigators, he declined to share further details about the investigation with his local news station.
"The reality is, it doesn’t matter why [the perpetrator] did it, he said. "All I want to know is if [the perpetrator] going to be punished," he said.
He said that people who wish to honor Erika's memory can donate to The SAFE Alliance in order to help victims of violent relationships.
The station didn't clarify if Paul claimed that Erika had been in an abusive relationship. However, The Oregonian reported that, in 2020, a man with whom she was then in "an intimate relationship" pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault domestic violence in the Portland area. Erika said the man had pushed and kicked her several times; she suffered a ruptured bowel resulting in sepsis from the incident and required three surgeries.
The perpetrator received 18 months probation in that case.
The Portland Police told the newspaper that they are not sharing information about any potential person of interest in the case. They have not announced any arrests in the case.
If anyone has information about this incident, please contact Detective Brian Sims at 503-823-2079, Brian.Sims@police.portlandoregon.gov or Detective Meghan Burkeen at 503-823-2092, Meghan.Burkeen@police.portlandoregon.gov and reference case number 22-257119.
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