Homeless men jailed in downtown Portland murder

Marc Sundin, 43, died of a stab wound to the chest

Portland Police officers arrested 18-year-old Wesley Lawrence Curtis and 23-year-old Adam Lawrence Elder in connection with the murder of 43-year-old Marc Sundin last week.
Portland Police officers arrested 18-year-old Wesley Lawrence Curtis and 23-year-old Adam Lawrence Elder in connection with the murder of 43-year-old Marc Sundin last week.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Two homeless men were arrested in connection to the murder of an apparent stranger last week in downtown Portland, police said Tuesday.

Last Thursday, 43-year-old Marc Sundin was fatally stabbed in the chest. Police officers found Sundin, a resident of KOIN Center, collapsed on the sidewalk across the street from Portland City Hall around 2:30 a.m.

After days of investigating, the Portland Police Bureau said enough evidence was gathered to arrest Wesley Curtis, 18, and Adam Elder, 23. Both Curtis and Elder were detained in downtown Portland and taken into custody early Tuesday morning.

Curtis is being held without bail on charges of murder and unlawful use of a weapon, plus first- and third-degree assault.

Elder was booked on charges of conspiracy to commit first-degree assault, third-degree assault and failure to register as a sex offender. Prosecutors asked for his bail to be set at $300,000.

Both men are expected to be arraigned in Multnomah County Court Tuesday.

Court documents

Court documents reveal how investigators believe the killing took place. Curtis and Elder were involved in a physcial altercation with Sundin that began at SW 3rd and Madison.

Sundin initially tried to defend himself, but then tried to flee, documents said. But Curtis and Elder pursued him. Around SW 4th and Salmon, Elder appeared to back off, but Curtis chased Sundin.

Sundin was knocked down, then got up and tried to run very fast, but Curtis shoved him down on the ground before walking away. Sundin got up and tried to walk back to his home in the KOIN Center, but collapsed at SW 4th and Madison.

A security officer heard Sundin yelling for help and called an ambulance, but Sundin died at the scene.

The autopsy revealed the 43-year-old man died of a single stab wound to the chest.

Surveillance video

Investigators said they watched dozens of hours of surveillance video from the different businesses in the area and determined Curtis and Elder were involved.

Upon his arrest, Curtis allegedly told detectives he remembered Sundin as “that really crazy drunk guy” and the stabbing “happened on the other corner.”

Elder allegedly told detectives he has “Bi-Polar Homicidal Disorder” and likes to use his fists instead of weapons.

Police efforts with the homeless population

Officers who patrol the downtown area come to know the homeless people they see daily. The fact these two men were arrested less than a week after the stabbing is a result of efforts to deal with violence out here through frequent contact.

“They weren’t strangers to us,” PPB Central Precinct Commander Robert Day said. “So they were taken into custody last night by uniformed officers because uniformed officers know them and they know where to find them.”

Commander Day said preventing this type of violence is a community issue. The parks department, the bureau of transportation and City Hall all can work better together to address the problem and make downtown a safer place.

“In a perfect world,” he said, “we wouldn’t have that homicide.”

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