Caught napping, boxer-clad victim flees SE Portland home invasion

This story reads like an action-movie script. And, see why detectives say conflicting information leads them to believe this crime may be drug related‚

After the report of an armed home invasion, police mobilize SERT officers on SE 92nd Ave., three blocks north of the target house.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A resident is taking a late afternoon nap. Suddenly, he hears the door crashing in. Shaking off the cobwebs of sleep, he somehow knows the home-invading bandits have guns, and figures it’s best to get out.

Clad only in boxer shorts, the victim grabs his cell phone, bolts out another door, and calls 9-1-1. He tells operators three armed men just busted into his house.

Even though the location is about as far south as one can go on SE 92nd Avenue while remaining within Portland city limits, cop cars arrive in a flash. Officers sprint from their cars and collar two suspected robbers as they stroll out of the house.

Portland Police Bureau Commander Michael Crebs heads into the “Mobile Precinct” to coordinate the operation.

One reportedly armed thug not found
With one armed bandit presumed to be still on the lam, officials activate the Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT).

From across Portland, SERT officers roll up “code three”, and gather under the I-205 viaduct on SE 92nd Avenue. The precinct commander steps into the Mobile Precinct, and takes charge of the unfolding situation.

Not an action movie
While this tale may seem like the story line from a thrilling action-adventure movie‚ the scenario actually played out at 4:47 p.m. on March 11, in the 8500 block of SE 92nd Avenue at SE Clatsop Street. It disrupted the lives of residents for a four-block radius.

We arrive on-scene shortly after the call-out. Portland Police Bureau’s Sgt. Brian Schmautz filled us in on the developing situation.

Armored SERT vehicles arrive on scene.

“If there was a third individual,” Schmautz tells us, early in the event, “this person may have gotten out in the very short time it took us to set the perimeter [a dragnet of officers]. Either the third suspect bolted from the house, or is still inside. Because we’ve found two suspects armed with handguns, we’re not going to take a chance. Protocol is to activate SERT.”

SERT is activated, Schmautz explains, whenever the best information available alerts them that an armed person has barricaded him or herself in a building. The Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT), attempts to make contact. The commander makes the decision on whether, and if so when, to deploy SERT into the building.

This woman came up to police lines, saying she is a resident of the target house. She was not allowed past the yellow police tape that cordoned off the area.

Draw a tight dragnet
Police swarm the area, all activity coordinated by the police official in charge, East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs.

No one‚ for any reason‚ is allowed in or out of the quarantined area.

Neighbor Bob Hamilton shakes hands with an officer‚ and waits to go to his home just one block away‚ but located within the quarantined zone.

From where he stands with us at SE 92nd Avenue and SE Crystal Springs Drive, neighbor Bob Hamilton can see his house, a block away.

“I’ve talked with my wife. She’s OK,” says Hamilton. “It looks like the police have this really well organized. They’re doing what they have to do; they’re not letting someone run around the neighborhood with a gun.”

A TV reporter asked Hamilton if crime near his home frightened. “Not really,” he responds, “there’s crime all over Portland.”

Reports “extenuating circumstances”
Schmautz stays at the event, updating reporters with what little news becomes available.

We ask the police spokesman, “What, specifically, did the victim say that leads police to believe there were three‚ not two or four‚ assailants?”

“Our situation intelligence people from HNT talked to the resident,” Schmautz informs us; “and detectives are talking to the two captured suspects. There are some extenuating circumstances, we’ve learned.” He doesn’t elaborate.

After hours of “loud-hailing” fails to produce a suspect, SERT officers shoot tear gas grenades into the house.

SERT makes entry
Darkness falls on this drizzly evening. After hours of “loud-hailing” the house, the commander orders the SERT entry team to search the house.

We hear a “pop, pop, pop”‚ the sound of teargas canisters being lobbed into the house. Dressed in heavy body armor, SERT officers storm inside.

A room-by-room search produces no third suspect‚ only a dog, limp from inhaling teargas, is carried from the house.

Police say that this man, Reynaldo Chamizo-Zayas, was sleeping, when the home-invading robbers broke in his door, causing him to flee.

Situation still under investigation
No third suspect was ever located, either in or out of the house. Officials aren’t saying whether they still believe the report that there actually were three suspects involved in the home invasion.

Schmautz later states that the victim, 34-year-old Reynaldo Chamizo-Zayas, gave police detectives conflicting information about the crime. “Information obtained during interviews has led detectives to believe that this crime is drug-related,” he reports.

Owners of the house board up the door broken by the bandits, and the windows busted out by teargas rounds.

As clean-up efforts begin on the broken-into house, police continue to investigate this case.

In the wee hours of April 12, detectives book 31-year-old Jossean Rivera and 29-year-old Juan Aguilar-Fernandez in connection with the home-invasion robbery. Both are charged with one count of Burglary in the First Degree, and three counts of Theft in the First Degree.

Authorities say these two men, Jossean Rivera and Juan Aguilar-Fernandez, were caught red-handed with cash, guns, and stolen I-Pod in hand.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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