A private security officer who lacked state certification as an armed guard pulled a gun and fired it, striking a 19-year-old man who died and wounding 23-year-old Kolby Ross in the city’s Old Town neighborhood a week ago, according to Ross, his lawyers and state records.
Now Ross, who remains hospitalized, has filed a $5 million lawsuit alleging negligence, assault and battery by the guard, identified in the suit as Jascha D. Manny, 32.
The lawsuit, filed late Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court, offers the first public account of the fatal shooting from someone at the scene that night. Police police haven’t identified the shooter or released details of what happened.
The altercation unfolded about 9:30 p.m. on Northwest Fifth Avenue, near Mary’s Club, a strip club at the corner of West Burnside Street.
Manny has worked security in the past for Mary’s Club, the club’s manager confirmed, but she said she didn’t know what Manny was doing that night.
The lawsuit names Manny as a defendant and his so-far unidentified employer or employers as John Does.
State records show Manny is certified as an unarmed private security officer, but not as an armed guard in Oregon. Manny didn’t return messages seeking comment, but he has retained defense lawyer John Gutbezahl to represent him. Gutbezahl said Friday he didn’t know enough about the case to respond to the allegations.
According to Ross and his lawyers, Ross was downtown that night with a friend at a tattoo and art studio across the street from Mary’s Club on Northwest Fifth Avenue. That’s where he met Lauren Abbott Jr., who was getting a tattoo on his biceps. At some point, the three young men walked to a Chevron station on Burnside to buy something to drink.
As the three walked back to the studio, Abbott had some type of interaction with someone sitting on the sidewalk and that drew the attention of a man outside Mary’s Club, according to Ross and his lawyers Michael Fuller and Emily Templeton. The lawyers identified the man as Manny.
The attorneys said Ross saw Manny stand up from a black stool where he was sitting outside Mary’s Club and approach Abbott, grab Abbott by the shirt and say him something like, “You like messing with homeless people, huh?”
Manny smacked Abbott in the face, knocking him to the ground, and the guard almost went down with him, according to Ross and his lawyers. As Abbott was on the ground, Abbott told Manny, “sorry I was just messin’ around I didn’t mean to, ” according to Ross’ account.
At that point, Ross tried to leave and head to his car but Manny blocked his path and said to him something like “you want some too?” Ross told his lawyers.
Abbott rose to his knee and pulled out a gun, according to an account Ross gave to his lawyers.
When Manny saw Abbott’s gun, he took three quick steps back, drew his own gun and shot Abbott multiple times, according to Ross and his lawyers.
Ross doesn’t know if Abbott fired his gun, his lawyers said.
Police found more than a dozen bullet casings at the scene, and a bartender working nearby said he had seen two men in a shootout on the street.
Ross was shot in the stomach once and then a second time by Manny, who was looking directly at him, Ross told his lawyers. Ross grabbed his stomach and tried to cross the street toward Mary’s Club, yelling, “I’m hit! I’m hit!”
A bystander helped him across the street as Ross kept saying he thought he was going to die, according to his lawyers.
Ross recalled seeing Abbott rolling around on his back with his hands covering his face before going limp. Abbott was taken by ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police and family members said.
Ross’ suit alleges Manny shot him multiple times without justification.
Police have said two people were wounded that night, aside from the homicide victim, but never identified them. It’s unclear if Manny was wounded or received any medical treatment that night. Manny has not been arrested. Investigators have been working to identify who fired what gunshots during the encounter.
Sgt. Kevin Allen, a Police Bureau spokesman, said homicide detectives haven’t authorized any additional information in the ongoing investigation. A grand jury was convened this week to hear testimony in the shooting case.
Ross, a graduate of Helensview School who works as a behavioral therapist and is a father of three, remained hospitalized Friday.
“By filing the complaint now, we’re able to use the court’s subpoena power to find out which corporate entities employed” Manny, Fuller said.
Virginia Gorenson, manager of Mary’s Club, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that she doesn’t know if Manny was involved in the shooting.
“We have not seen or heard from him,” she said. She described him as a former employee. “I can’t tell you if or how he was involved,” she said.
“I’m not sure if he clocked in for security that night or not,” she said. “If he’s doing security, he was not on our property when anything happened.”
State records show that Manny’s certification as an armed private security was administratively terminated in December 2018. An administrative termination resulted because his submitted application was not complete, according to the state Department of Public Safety Standards & Training. Manny’s unarmed private security certification is active through Jan. 6, 2024.
Fuller previously sued a Southeast Portland nightclub, the Dream on Saloon, after its security guard shot and killed an unarmed 42-year-old man, Eugene Pharr, in its parking lot on Jan. 15, 2019. The case brought by Pharr’s widow resulted in a $200,000 settlement. In that case, a grand jury declined to indict the guard who fired the shots.
— Maxine Bernstein
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