Portland police seek video in killing of homeless man

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PORTLAND — Police Chief Michael Sauschuck on Monday said surveillance videos could be the key to solving the second homicide in the city this year.

“Video is going to be imperative in a case like this,” he said at an afternoon press conference outside police headquarters at 109 Middle St.

Earlier Monday, police identified Sunao Thomas Yamada Jr., 54, as the man found dead outside 19 Temple St. at 4:43 a.m. Sunday. Yamada’s death was declared a homicide Monday by the state Office of the Medical Examiner, but the cause of his death was being withheld as part of the investigation, Sauschuck said.

Sauschuck said police received a call about Yamada as they were headed to do a well-being check on him. Police believe he was killed at around 3:20 a.m.

In an earlier press release, Lt. Robert Martin said Yamada was homeless and known to frequent Temple Street and Monument Square. Sauschuck later added the victim had lived in Portland for about 20 years, and had family in New York and on the West Coast.

Yamada was known to police because he had filed complaints against others, but Sauschuck declined to comment on the nature of the complaints.

“We want to be clear, he was the victim,” Sauschuck said, adding Yamada had no criminal history.

An earlier witness account placed Yamada in the company of a white man shortly before police believe he was killed. His companion is described as being between 25 and 30 years old, 6 feet tall, with short, dark hair.

Sauschuck said the man is a person of interest in the investigation.

Because the homicide occurred early in the morning, Sauschuck said video footage of the area could provide vital information. Police have asked anyone with video of Monument Square, or Temple, Free and Middle streets to contact them at 874-8575.

Anonymous tips can be made by texting 274637 with the keyword “GOTCHA, or by going to www.portland-police.com and clicking “Submit an Anonymous Crime Tip.”

Yamada’s death is the second homicide in the city this year. On Feb. 27, Scarborough resident Bryan Garcia was found dead in his car on Chadwick Street in the West End. His death remains unsolved.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said Sept. 11 that “video is going to be imperative” in helping solve the homicide of Sunao T. Yamada Jr. Yamada’s body was found on Temple Street early on the morning of Sept. 10.