See why officials are saying that these thugs were no ‘gentlemen robbers’, when they violently stripped the establishment and patrons of money – and their valuables, too …
Patrons playing lottery games, here at Rounder’s Café in the Gateway area, say they’d never have expected their local bar would be the scene of a violent hold-up.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Folks say Rounder’s Café, at 11416 NE Halsey Street in the Hazelwood Neighborhood, is a friendly establishment, where locals go to kick back, enjoy food and brew, and play lottery games.
But, officials say, masked gun-toting thugs scared the daylights out of patrons when they staged a take-over robbery near closing time on August 1.
According to Multnomah County Court records, the alleged robbers not only cleaned out the establishment’s till, they also demanded and got employees to open the lottery machines for them.
Not satisfied with their takings, the crew roughed up patrons, and relieved them of cash, cell phones, and personal valuables, before attempting their get-away.
Portland Police Bureau East Precinct officers rush in to block off the area surrounding the scene of the strong-arm robbery.
“Arriving East Precinct officers observed suspects fleeing the area on foot and into the neighborhood to the South of Rounder’s Café, at approximately 12:50 a.m.,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson at the time. “Two suspects are African American males, and one suspect is a white male; all three were last seen wearing dark clothing.
The responding officers immediately established a perimeter – an area in which nobody is allowed in or out – from NE 112th Avenue to NE 118th, and from NE Halsey to NE Glisan Street.
Well into the following day, officers have NE Halsey Street blocked off, as SERT and district officers continue their search for what they believe are armed gunmen.
“Once the perimeter was established, officers followed policy and activated the PPB Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) – these are officers who are called in when suspects in violent felonies, like armed robbery, occur,” Simpson explained.
Over the course of the 14-hour SERT action, officers tracked down more than just two suspects in the neighborhood. A chilling additional discovery led to the confiscation of multiple firearms, including a Thompson-style submachine gun, Simpson revealed.
Officers compare information outside the PPB Mobile Command Center, parked where NE Halsey Street splits in a one-way grid with NE Weidler Street.
While officers nabbed two of the suspects, one of the suspected gunmen eluded the methodical search that went on throughout the night and into the morning hours. “The ‘reverse 911 system’ was activated to inform all those living at residences within the perimeter area,” Simpson stated. “The call asked everyone to stay inside, and call 911 immediately if they hear or see anything out of the ordinary.”
This man, 35-year-old Mckeever Watkins Thompson Jr. of Northeast Portland, is accused of being the getaway driver. MCDC photo
When an alert East Precinct officer spied a suspect running toward a vehicle driven by 35-year-old Mckeever Watkins Thompson Jr. of Northeast Portland, the officer quizzed him carefully before taking him into custody at 1:54 a.m., as MCDC records indicate. He was not one of the three suspects who ran from the tavern, but instead was a fourth man associated with the crime.
The SERT team fanned out throughout the neighborhood – helped and hindered by the many fences that guard the large lots in the area surrounding the landmark Hazelwood Watertower.
Accused of being one of the hold-up gunmen, 42-year-old Marc Edward Morrison kept his freedom until just after daybreak. MCDC photo
Searching every shed, woodpile, and outbuilding during their yard-by-yard mission, officers came upon the first of the three suspected gunmen, 42-year-old Marc Edward Morrison. His freedom ended at 6:08 a.m. when he was arrested and taken away.
Mid morning, the area was still locked down; traffic was diverted, and residents wondered why the police activity was continuing. “I heard they got a couple of the guys,” Denise Groves remarked as she waited and watched at the police tape blocking off the area.
This man, claiming to be 34-year-old Antonio Denon Carter (but who was booked as Anthony Davonne Williams), stands accused of multiple Class A felonies for being one of the Rounders bandits. MCDC photo
Police eventually located a second suspect of the three who stormed Rounders. He was in the cordoned-off blocks on a roof, about ten hours after the hold-up, Simpson told us. Apparently this man thought officers would not look up.
Originally identified as 34-year-old Antonio Denon Carter of Northeast Portland, MCDC records show he was actually Anthony Davonne Williams – arrested at 10:11 a.m. on that roof, in connection with the robbery.
Traffic is diverted from the area throughout the day, in what is said to be one of the longest Portland SERT actions in memory.
“Just before 3:00 p.m., officers opened up the neighborhood to all traffic,” Simpson said, indicating that the remaining suspect had most likely slipped out of their dragnet.
In all, the hold-up crew netted less than $3,000 for their efforts.
Thompson, Morrison, and Williams are being held in the Multnomah County Detention Center, each facing six counts of Robbery in the First Degree and Six counts of Robbery in the Second Degree; combined bail amounts for each suspect is $3 Million.
Anyone with information about this robbery, or the still-missing suspect, is encouraged to contact Detective Darren Posey at (503) 823-0403.
© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News