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Police identify man shot to death on Woodford St., but no other details released


Shooting

A car related to a shooting on Woodford Street in Portland on Tuesday is loaded onto a flatbed tow truck as a Portland police officer surveys the ground nearby. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Police released the identity of the man shot to death Tuesday on Woodford Street but have not shared any more details about the killing or said whether they have made progress in finding the shooter.

Derald Coffin, 43, of West Bath, died of injuries he sustained in the shooting, which occurred about 1 a.m. Tuesday, police said. An autopsy has been conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner but police are withholding the results, the department said in a written statement.

Coffin was found outside 107 Woodford St., police said. No one has been arrested, and police declined to answer questions about a black, late-model Range Rover that was towed from the scene.

Also shot was a 27-year-old woman who has not been named. She was treated at Maine Medical Center and released, police said. But Maj. Robert Martin declined to say whether the woman has cooperated with investigators.

“(That’s) not something we would release,” Martin wrote in an email exchange.

The gunfire erupted after an argument between an unknown number of people who were outside.

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Multiple neighbors interviewed Wednesday said they heard yelling outside before the shots rang out. Four people interviewed said they suspected the shooting was somehow related to a problem property on the block, a multi-unit building, but no one knew for sure if it was related.

One neighbor who didn’t want to get involved in the investigation and gave her name only as Halen said she heard the yelling, paused her TV and got up to look outside, but couldn’t see anything.

“I heard a man’s voice scream, ‘No!’ ” said Halen, 22, who has lived nearby on Woodford Street for nearly two years. “Then I heard the first gunshot. Two seconds after the first shot, there were three more.”

A Portland detective called her Wednesday to ask questions, she said. The investigator was interested to know about “illegal activity” in the area.

Another resident, Nia Greav, who lives across the street from the crime scene, said she saw bloody clothes in the street on Tuesday morning and police swarming the area. Greav said she’s lived on the block since 2017, and the one multi-family building has always been a problem. She said she believed she’d seen rescue workers attend to three suspected drug overdoses inside, all fatal.

“There’s people fighting out here to ungodly hours of the morning,” Greav said, chalking up the problems to drug use.

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Police did not respond to questions about fatal overdoses at the address of the problem building, however, and it’s still unknown where the arguing parties involved in the shooting came from or what led them to that patch of asphalt.

Another neighbor, Cori, 61, who lives around the corner but declined to give her last name out of fear of retaliation, said that since she moved into the neighborhood five years ago, she’s suspected there was drug activity nearby.

On Monday night, Cori said, she was watching a show about Johnny Depp’s defamation trial when she heard a commotion outside followed by a series of loud pops. She heard noises that sounded like a dumpster lid had been slammed shut or a firework had been set off. Then another neighbor told her that the sounds were gunshots. Cori said she hid inside her home and is eager to move away in a few months.

Sometime after midnight, she said, she looked outside and saw what she believed was a body in the street. She also mentioned the troublesome property.

“Ever since I moved in, there’s been a lot of traffic in and out, in and out,” Cori said. “I don’t know how many times I’ve been out here and seen someone leave that place, walk over to that alley and do their thing, shoot up or smoke something.”

About four months ago, Cori said, she saw a man leave the problem building and consume an unknown substance. He then began to act erratically, roaming around her front lawn and searching the ground for something. He struggled to maintain his balance, nearly fell face first into the dirt, and was yelling and trying to tip over a dumpster.

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“He was rolling on the ground,” Cori said. “It’s scary. I called the cops because I don’t want someone to overdose in my yard.”

Another neighbor, who declined to be identified because the shooter had not yet been apprehended, said he slept through the incident, but was not surprised by the escalation.

“(That property) has always had some interesting characters hanging around outside,” said the man, who has lived within sight of the multi-unit for two years. “You get people who don’t live there yelling up (asking for someone) to let them in.”

The visits by strangers were most noticeable in the summer and occurred about three times per week, the man said.

No one answered the front door of the building, and a tenant in a rear apartment declined to be interviewed.

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