Man shot in Deering Oaks dies, police say

·2 min read

Sep. 8—The man shot Wednesday night in Deering Oaks died early Thursday morning as investigators continued to gather evidence at the park.

Walter Omal, 31, of Portland, was shot around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and died at Maine Medical Center, Portland police said. It was the latest in a string of gun-related crimes in the city.

Police said they detained multiple people following the shooting, but it's unclear whether anyone has been charged.

In their search for evidence, police ordered the pond drained late Wednesday, and by Thursday afternoon, half a dozen investigators had put on waterproof gear and waded into the mud, using their feet, rakes and metal detectors to look for a weapon.

Omal was shot near a pair of park benches facing the pond close to the intersection of Park Avenue and State Street. The scene is marked by the purple medical gloves left behind by first responders who rushed him to the hospital. Nearby, a bicycle was left propped against a tree, and a smattering of clothes and other belongings were on the ground.

The park and a strip of grass across State Street are popular places for some of the city's unhoused population to congregate during the day. One man, who declined to give his name, said he was panhandling at the corner of State Street and Park Avenue when he heard the shot.

The man said he did not have a clear view of the shooting about 40 yards away, but said he saw more than a dozen people scatter after the gunfire rang out.

Police planned to address the media Friday about the recent string of shootings.

There were two separate shootings in the Riverton neighborhood Sept. 2 and Sept. 3. One injured a woman who was shot while she sat in a parked car. This week, police charged Abdihamit Ali, 22, with the woman's shooting, and said the attack was related to an altercation that occurred at the Woodfords Club earlier that night.

On Sunday, a man was arrested by officers for allegedly firing a gun randomly in the area of Bolton Street and Brighton Avenue. No one was injured in that case.