Reports of the incident began at approximately 2:15 am stating that someone had been stabbed on a MAX platform on Northeast 8th Street.
Arriving law enforcement officers found the suspect still on top of the 78-year-old victim, and realized the incident was not a stabbing, but according to authorities that the suspect had "chewed off the victim's ear and part of his face." Investigators said the injuries were so severe they could see the victim's skull.
KATU obtained a transcript of the emergency dispatchers speaking with first responders. They can be heard saying, “The suspect is still on top of the victim... there's people standing around not reacting to this... unknown race male, grey hair, blue beanie, tan coat, red socks... think he might be biting him now?”
One of the responders adds later, "Half this guy's face appears to be chewed off."
Police had to use force to arrest the suspect who was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on the charge of second-degree assault.
Two ambulances were called to the scene and the 78-year-old Hillsboro man was transported to the hospital with traumatic injuries.
According to police, the suspect gave “the fictitious name of ‘El Baker,’ but had to lodge him in jail under that name until authorities could confirm his true identity.”
Using fingerprints, staff at the Multnomah County Jail were able to determine the suspect is 25-year-old Koryn Kraemer who had recently moved to Portland from Georgia.
According to KATU, Kraemer admitted to using alcohol, fentanyl, and marijuana before the attack.
TriMet posted on Twitter that the Max Blue Line was disrupted due to police activity and that shuttle buses were serving stations between Gresham Central Transit Center and Ruby Junction.
Commuters were warned to expect residual delays and service resumed around 5:30 am.
KATU reported that police had cleared the scene by 11:30 am and TriMet staff cleaned up the “aftermath.”
Tuesday afternoon, TriMet issued a statement regarding the incident: "TriMet values the safety of our employees and riders above all. It's upsetting to learn that someone was hurt by another person at the Cleveland Ave MAX Station early this morning. The MAX Blue Line was not in service at the time, and it's unclear if the people involved were using the transit system at the time of the incident. We are not commenting on this case, as it is in the very early stages of the investigation. Gresham Police is the lead and may have additional information."
"What happens in the community will at times happen on or near the transit system. As we work to provide safety system-wide, across our 533 square-mile service district stretching across three counties, we also look to our partners for help addressing larger safety and community issues. Transit Police, which is led by Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, work closely with other local law enforcement to investigate criminal activity that spills over onto the transit system and may have more."
Last week, a homeless woman with a criminal history was charged with assault after allegedly shoving a 3-year-old child onto train tracks from a MAX platform at a station in Portland on Wednesday.
The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office told KATU in a statement, “The two recent, isolated crimes are extremely disturbing. The Transit Police Division (TPD) is working with public safety partners, including the Gresham Police Department, to investigate the crimes to the fullest extent of the law."
"Every day, we work hand-in-hand with our TriMet partners, who provide a host of public safety strategies, including unarmed security teams, customer service specialists, and safety response teams. To create safe environments for transit riders, operators, and employees, this month, the Transit Police Division is increasing its staff, by adding two full-time deputies and increasing hours of operations. TPD is continuing to perform public safety missions at TriMet Transit Centers and platforms where the volume of calls for service are higher in order to deter and disrupt criminal activity."
Oregon State Rep. Travis Nelson tweeted, "I am VERY concerned with the reports of violence on the MAX. I will no longer recommend that people commute by light rail until trimet assures me that safety is a priority. Transit must be safe, fast & reliable to be considered an alternative to cars."
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