Gunman in Portland, Ore., shooting rampage dies

Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The man who killed two teenage girls and wounded seven other people in a weekend shooting rampage outside a youth nightclub died Tuesday of a self-inflicted gunshot, police said.

Erik S. Ayala, 24, died at a hospital as police were still trying to learn why he shot at the young people on a sidewalk downtown before shooting himself Saturday night. Police say the victims may have been chosen at random.

Police have questioned Ayala's family, but "they really don't know themselves," police Detective Mary Wheat said.

A local teenager and an exchange student from Peru died. Five of the wounded also were exchange students - from Italy, France, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Taiwan. The group had been celebrating a birthday at The Zone, an under-21 nightclub.

Police said Ayala bought the 9mm handgun at a pawn shop on Jan. 9. He tried to do so a few days earlier but didn't have the proper ID. Wheat says that Ayala wasn't a U.S. citizen, but as far as police know, he was in the country legally.

The pawn shop owner, Bryan Kellim, told The Associated Press that Ayala was looking to buy a 9mm gun for about $400.

He didn't seem to be an experienced gun owner and asked about learning to shoot, so Kellim said he recommended a gun safety course. "He was polite, he was friendly, he seemed like a regular guy," Kellim said.

Neighbors and the manager at his apartment complex in suburban Milwaukie told The Associated Press that Ayala was a quiet and friendly resident.

Michael White, the 32-year-old manager, lives in an apartment across from Ayala and said the two traded small talk, with video games among the topics.

White said he believed Ayala had not been working in recent months because he was spending more time around the apartment complex than he had in the past.

Ayala worked for the Oregon Department of Human Services in Salem as a data entry clerk from March 2006 to July 2007, officials said.

But there was no record of other employment with the state, and investigators have not said whether he had a job.

White said Ayala paid his rent and never spoke of any financial troubles or other problems.

"He was always really calm - didn't seem really too up or down," White said. ... SECTION=US