PORTLAND, Ore. – The 11-year-old boy who allegedly tried to carjack a woman at gunpoint outside a Southeast Portland church over the weekend has a history of trouble in the neighborhood.
Additionally, the boy had a run-in with police a few days before, KATU News has learned.
On Saturday afternoon, Amy Garrett told KATU it was surreal when two boys with a gun – a 7-year-old and the 11-year-old – threatened to shoot her if she didn’t give up her truck.
"He was showing me his gun, and I asked him if it was real, and he said, 'You don't ever ask somebody if it's real, that's how you get yourself shot,'" Garrett said.
Garrett refused to give the boys her truck, money and a phone even though she said the older boy told her that he had that .22-caliber handgun cocked and ready to fire.
Police found the boys near Freedom Foursquare Church after someone called police to report that an 11-year-old boy spotted another 11-year-old boy with a loaded handgun.
The boys tried to run off when police arrived and tried to talk to them, but officers stopped them near the church. They told the 11-year-old boy to keep his hands out of his pockets, but he refused, police said. An officer grabbed his arms and found a cocked and loaded handgun in his pocket.
The boy's mother said through the front door of the family's home Monday she didn't know where he got the gun and it didn't come from her house.
Police also said they don't know where the boy picked up the gun.
A neighbor, Naomi Solomon, said she too has had trouble with the boy.
"He asked me for money and stuff like that, and I told him I would call the cops," she said.
Solomon said the boy confronts her whenever he sees her walking past his home and he threatens her when she won't give him money.
"He said he would hurt me," Solomon said.
A dentist, Dr. Ed Hagen, who works right next to the crime scene, also said he had trouble with the 11-year-old a weekend before the attempted carjacking.
"He and a few of his friends even threw rocks through my dental office building," Hagen said.
Hagen said he's more concerned about the grade-schooler's future than he is about the glass that he's already replaced.
He needs help, and I don't know if he's getting it here," he said.
Solomon wasn't so altruistic. She said she just tries to avoid the 11-year-old.
"I hate to walk down this street because of the little boy," she said.
Solomon never reported the panhandling and threats to police but Hagen did. Police responded to that call and after talking to the 11-year-old, police immediately returned him to his parents.
The parents also kept custody of both boys after the attempted carjacking.
***What consequences will the boys face?***
There is a chance the boys' parents will face charges, but there's a lot of investigating left to do.
One question that hasn't been answered is how did the boys get the gun? If a parent left it out on a coffee table that parent could face a criminal mistreatment charge.
The department of human services will be investigating each boy's home life, looking into their safety, supervision and even determining if they should be removed from their homes.
State and county officials will decide as early as Tuesday if the boys will go through the juvenile court system and face legal consequences like a curfew or probation.
While some people might say the boys should be in custody now, Tom Cleary, Multnomah County senior deputy district attorney, said "that isn't a decision that we made. That's was a decision that the police officers made. They were in the best position to make that determination."
In Oregon, these kids are too young to automatically be placed in juvenile detention. They have to be at least 12 for that.
So police officers would have needed a special court order, which they clearly didn't feel was necessary Saturday.
A 7- and 11-year-old are at different stages of development, so they'll be treated differently. It's more likely the 11-year-old will face legal consequences.
A background check of the 11-year-old boy’s father found his father was arrested and convicted in 2003 for multiple felony assaults and he was sentenced to jail time and probation.
KATU News reporter Erica Nochlin contributed to this report.