PORTLAND, Ore. – Police said they shot a man in Northeast Portland on Monday morning who was threatening motorists with a gun, forcing the closure of Interstate 84 through much of the early afternoon.
The freeway was reopened in both directions between Interstate 205 and 181st at about 2 p.m. Police had closed it to process the crime scene.
Late Monday night, police identified the man who was shot as 27-year-old Denorris Laron McClendon.
McClendon has a lengthy arrest record.
Among his most recent arrests was in 2011, on felony charges of forgery and ID theft.
Earlier in the day, Portland Police Bureau Chief Mike Reese said when officers arrived just before 10 a.m., the man was on the eastbound off-ramp of I-84 at 122nd waving a gun at passing cars.
Reese said the man pointed a gun at officers and ran through traffic on the freeway, and police decided to shut the freeway down.
“After multiple attempts to carjack vehicles, the man was shot," Reese said. “This situation was very chaotic. Officers were responding to a life-threatening event.”
'He was within five feet of us' with a gun
Ronald Stiefel said he was stopped in the right lane at a light near the interstate and was planning to drive north on 122nd when he saw a man to his right waving a gun at him.
"All of a sudden, I look to the right -- I'm the driver -- and I see this tall black guy, as tall as a basketball player, and he had a black revolver and he was within 5 feet of us and he was pointing that gun at us," Stiefel told KATU.
When the light turned green, Stiefel stepped on the gas and got out of there, pulling over at a bus stop to call police.
"I thought we were going to get shot," he said. "I honestly thought we're going to get shot. We could have been wasted then."
One of the responding officers shot McClendon near the freeway, police said. McClendon then ran off the north side of the freeway and collapsed in the 11200 block of Northeast Fremont.
A SWAT team and a crisis negotiation team were sent in at around 10:30 a.m.
Reese said McClendon wouldn't comply with police and told officers he wanted them to shoot him.
Police approached McClendon using an armored vehicle, capturing him and taking him to the hospital.
McClendon was treated and released from the hospital and then booked into Multnomah County Jail on several charges.
Reese said McClendon's injuries weren't life-threatening, and that police found a handgun next to him. He said police are working to determine whether the gun was real or a replica.
People in the area were asked to shelter in place while police dealt with the situation.
During the freeway closure, authorities rerouted traffic.
The officer who shot McClendon was placed on administrative leave, which is standard in cases like this, Reese said.
Cops with guns swarm the freeway
David Porter was driving on Interstate 84 when two motorcycle officers suddenly stopped in the middle of the freeway and waved traffic to a stop.
He started recording video on his cellphone out of his car window. In the video, police can be seen running down Interstate 84 and up and down a nearby bank. A police car pulls up with sirens blaring and four officers pour out of it – at least one holds a rifle. Later, at least two gunshots can be heard.
Porter said he saw the suspect running across the freeway, but he was too far away to see if he had a gun or fired at police.
“It was a little bit of disbelief that it was happening right there you know,” Porter later told KATU by phone. “I didn’t feel like we were really at risk because the shots were far enough away; and the police were going down the bank; and I think the shots were right in that area, but you know, a little scared.”
Porter said he was stuck on the freeway for about an hour and a half. He and his family eventually got their relatives’ home in central Oregon.
'Didn’t know if there was going to be a shootout'
Near where McClendon was caught, police told hundreds of residents to find a safe place to hide.
“They told me to get in the far end of the house or down in the basement,” said Janice Gaylord. “They didn’t know if there was going to be a shootout, and I didn’t need to be in a position where a bullet could come my way.”
Above the sirens, Gaylord could hear police negotiating with the suspect.
“’Get out into the middle of the street. Put your hands in front of you. We have medical attention if you need it,’” she said police told McClendon.
She couldn’t see what was going on because of a tall hedge in her yard.
McClendon faces 12 counts of menacing, two counts of reckless endangerment and two counts of second-degree disorderly conduct. He will be arraigned Tuesday in Multnomah County court.
Chief Reese asked anybody who saw McClendon on Monday and hasn't yet talked to police to call the non-emergency number at (503) 823-3333.
KATU News reporters Stephen Mayer, Chelsea Kopta, Bob Heye and Joe English contributed to this story.
With police sirens getting louder in the background and police officers running down Interstate 84, the tension rises inside a car with a child as police hunt for a suspect trying to carjack cars. Video shot by David Porter.
Part 2 - Tension inside car:
Part 3: Tension inside car (gunshots can be heard):