PORTLAND, Ore. - There were 21 homicides in Portland in 2009, the lowest number in nearly 40 years, but the slayings included some horrific cases.
The year began with Portland's largest mass shooting, in which two teenagers were shot to death and seven other people were wounded before the gunman killed himself. In May, one of two children found in the Willamette River died. Police allege their mother threw them off a bridge.
And late in the year, there was a rash domestic murder-suicides throughout the metropolitan region, and an assistant federal public defender was killed in her home.
"The numbers are down, but the homicides we had were real doozies," Portland detective division Sgt. Kraig McGlathery told The Oregonian.
The year's death count was the lowest since 1971, when there were 15 homicides.