Murder victim’s mom asks Portland mayor to take violent crimes more seriously


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Billy Lewnes and his girlfriend were shot and killed inside a car in North Portland in September. Now, Lewnes’ mother is on a mission for justice, not just for her son, but for shooting victims across Portland. 

“I was shell-shocked,” said Chris Haworth, Lewnes’ mother. “I was like, are you sure you have the right person? Are you sure?” 

It’s been almost two months since she found out her only child was murdered in North Portland. 

“They were shot from both sides. All the windows were busted out and they were each shot multiple times. So, it makes me think, yeah, it was more than one person,” Haworth said. 

Portland police were called to the scene on Sept. 29 at around 5 a.m. Officers found Lewnes and his longtime girlfriend, Amber Coughtry, dead. The couple were parked near Victory Boulevard and Force Avenue when they were ambushed with gunfire. 

“I just don’t see how somebody can go out and shoot 20 or whatever bullets into someone sitting in their car and then walk away and get away with it,” Haworth said.

Fed up with the increase in violence in Portland, Haworth said she decided to call Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office. 

“I said, ‘I want to talk to the mayor,’ and they said, ‘He can’t talk to you. He’s busy,’ and I said, ‘Oh that’s BS. If he can talk to the rioters he can talk to me.’ And about half hour later I get a phone call back,” she said. 

Haworth said she and Wheeler had a virtual meeting in October. They spoke for about 45 minutes. She said he listened and answered a lot of her questions. He also agreed to meet with the families of other victims. 

“I want him to let these people, let him know how badly, how deeply this hurts them, so they will take the violence in Portland more serious,” Haworth said.

She said there will be a meeting in the next three to four months between Wheeler and more families of violent crimes.

Investigators are still searching for the person or people who shot Lewnes and Coughtry. On Tuesday, Crime Stoppers of Oregon announced they’re offering a cash reward for information. 

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