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Crime, Law & Justice

As WOW Hall shooting victims recover, a rapper calls for better measures to help prevent future violence

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Brian Bull
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KLCC
A lone candle was left burning near the spot where several people were hit by gunfire last Friday night at a rap concert.

Authorities say all six victims from Friday night’s mass shooting at the WOW Hall are in stable condition. Now one of the performers from that night wants to help make performing arts venues safer going forward.

Eugene police say some of those wounded have already left the hospital. That pleases traveling rap artist, Savelle Tha Native, who was there the night the suspect opened fire, hitting five of Savelle’s friends.

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Brian Bull
/
KLCC
Rapper Savelle Tha Native, standing behind the WOW Hall where a shooter opened fire Friday night.

“There was there was zero prompt to it,” he told KLCC. “He just came up and peeked around the corner like a coward and just let a firearm go.”

Savelle says he wants to work with concert halls and other places to make sure performers and audiences alike feel safe from further violence.

“Knowin’ what you’re securing, what access points are available to artists, to concertgoers. People’s safety is at risk, it’s 2022. This stuff is happening at sporting events, at schools, in malls. We just need to be aware and vigilant, as a city and people.”

A rap artist from the Newport area and member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, Savelle says he worries that Friday night’s violence at the WOW Hall has set Eugene’s hip-hop scene back, just as it was gaining traction.

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Brian Bull
/
KLCC
Investigators have marked two bullet holes in the exterior walls of the WOW Hall.

Savelle Tha Native was among the regional acts scheduled for the Jan. 14 concert featuring Lil Bean and Zay Bang. The bill also had local rappers Peacoat Gang, DRETHEMC, and Khoraan, but then a shooter disrupted the evening, wounding six people behind the WOW Hall near the back entrance.

“Y’know, we’re starting to build that bond and these shows were starting to become more…there was more of them,” said Savelle. “We’d only get one or two a year, and then now there’s four or five, and the traction is gaining, and to have this happen, it just detoured us.”

Four of the wounded were all from the Pendleton area. Savelle says the most critically wounded was Rehyshaun Dominique-Joseph Supuni (a.k.a Spoony), who lost a lot of blood after being shot.

“I’m proud of them, they strong, it was a rough situation, and they’re all coming out of it in high spirits,” Savelle told KLCC. “And that’s really the blessing of it all, because we can now continue to push what we’ve been pushing. And that’s this music.”

Savelle pushes back against critics who say hip-hop music incites a culture of violence, noting that one of the worst mass shootings was at a Las Vegas country festival in 2017. He says rap culture is about musicians creating art in a safe space, and it’s important for performers, the community, and law enforcement to foster trust built on communication. He says he’s pushing ahead with another gig at the Lane Events Center this Saturday, namely the Tee Grizzley concert.

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Brian Bull
/
KLCC
An EPD cruiser sits outside the WOW Hall and a barrier of police tape as officers investigate the crime scene, Jan. 14, 2022.

On his Facebook page, Savelle Tha Native says he’s been in contact with event directors and security about the event, “and we are assured the upmost security measures will be in place for artists and concert goers the same.”

Savelle also takes issue with EPD Chief Skinner saying the crowd after the WOW Hall shooting were hard to control and not forthcoming with eyewitness testimony.

“People that were out here, they did help. I think our lack of trust is our lack of communication. That gap is something we need to bridge. When these things happen, and not just to just the hip hop community, police and the community can work together, because it was hostile. It was the first time anyone saw that happen.

“Tensions where high. We weren’t unmanageable, just high strung on emotions.”

The following shooting victims’ names were released by the EPD on Tuesday:

  • Richard Daniel Lemmon, age 26, of Pendleton, Oregon. 
  • Jason Jamell Smith, age 25, of San Francisco, CA
  • Aaleigha Mechelle Tynan, age 25, of Eugene, Oregon
  • Rehyshaun Dominique-Joseph Supuni, age 30, of Pendleton, Oregon.
  • Tristin C. Vanblokland, age 26, of Pendleton, Oregon.
  • Priscila Wavaline Camarena, age 21, Pendleton, Oregon.

The alleged shooter is described a man in a hoodie, who was last seeing westward on West 8th Avenue after shots were fired behind the WOW Hall.

Eugene Police are seeking tips at (541)682-5162.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

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