Police: Suspect runs during 'high risk' stop, later shot at by officers

Police: Suspect runs during 'high risk' stop, later shot at by officers »Play Video
Local residents watch the police investigation unfold in their neighborhood. Photo by Shannon L. Cheesman, KATU.com Producer/Reporter.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Police fired a less-lethal round and at least one bullet from a gun at a suspect who took off following a traffic stop.

The incident happened early Tuesday afternoon at Southeast 153rd and Division near a convenience store called K & S Market.

According to police, officers with the Portland Police Bureau's gang task force were doing surveillance as part of an ongoing investigation when they saw someone leave in a car armed with a gun.

Police followed the car and called Gresham police to assist in what they believed was going to be a high risk stop.

The suspects ended up stopping the car at Southeast 153rd and Division and when officers ordered everyone to get out, one guy took off on foot. Police said the man ignored their commands.

"All of a sudden I hear the screaming - stop, stop! And then the shots went off," said Paul James, who was in the area when it happened. "I dropped my bike and I ran across the street behind a truck. And the cops were telling everyone to take cover."

A chase ensued and police said they did, at some point, shoot a less-lethal round at the suspect. A Portland officer also fired at least one round from a handgun, police said.

"The third guy had guns drawn," James said. "They told him to raise his waistband. And he won't do it and he took off running. That's when the cops shot at him."

"All I hear is all these sirens," said Angela Hendrickson, who was also there at the time. "So I come out and a bunch of cops are down here."

Photo by Shannon L. Cheesman, KATU.com Producer/Reporter

The suspect, a 17-year-old black male, was later found hiding in a neighborhood and was transported to a hospital to be treated for unknown injuries.

Police said at this point they do not know whether the young man was hurt by the rounds that were shot at him or in some other way. His injuries were not life threatening.

Wednesday morning, police said the teen was released from the hospital and taken to the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home on two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm. He was not identified.

No officers were injured during the incident.

Police said they did recover two handguns, which they believe the suspect was carrying when this all began. The guns were found in the neighborhood and police believe the suspect dropped them during the chase. As part of their investigation, police will be checking to see if the guns have been involved in any recent crimes.

Police also detained the two other people who were in the car.

Photo by Shannon L. Cheesman, KATU.com Producer/Reporter

Southeast Division Street was closed from 148th to 154th and police said it would likely stay shut down through the evening hours while they process the scene. For those who live in the neighborhood, police said there is no threat to anyone in the area.

Portland Police Chief Mike Reese was at the scene and talked about the gang enforcement's emphasis on getting guns out of gang member's hands. He said they've recovered several firearms in just the past couple of days.

"As this incident illustrates, there are too many firearms in our community," Reese said. "Just in the last two days, the task force and gang enforcement team members have recovered six handguns, one of which was fully auto. We're very concerned about the number of gang members and gang associates carrying firearms."

"It's been a significant couple of days for gun seizures," said Sgt. Pete Simpson with the Portland Police Bureau, who agreed with the chief that getting guns off the streets is definitely a priority for gang officers.

Although at this point it appears this was an incident involving a gang, police have not yet confirmed whether that is the case.