Mill Park mini-mart robbed; SERT stalks violent gunman

Police are not yet revealing the identity of the man they picked up for this crime. Find out how this robbery and assault was foiled …

SE Stark Street is closed down to traffic, as police track a gunman who held up a store six blocks east of the location.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

July 13 was just another summer evening for Johnny Oak, owner of the SNL Food Market at 10850 SE Stark Street.

Then, a little after 9:30 p.m., a man nearly twice his size strode into his market – face covered with a bandana – and pulled out a sliver pistol, and demanded money.

The owner of the SNL Food Market said this man, seen on his store’s video surveillance system, displayed a gun and demanded money. Image courtesy of KOIN 6 Local News

The gunman shouted “I want the money” – and Oak did his best to slip out the store’s door. Instead, he was violently pulled down to the floor and put in a headlock, he said.

During his second attempt to flee, Oak said the robber got him around the neck. “He was trying to choke me.”

But, things changed when another customer walked in, saw the scuffle, and ran back out the store’s front door. This “Good Samaritan” called 9-1-1, and police started rolling into the area.

Although shaken by the experience, Oak was uninjured.

Looking west on SE Stark Street, a Portland Police Bureau officer makes sure traffic is diverted, as the PPB SERT crew rolls in.

“At 9:41 p.m., Portland Police officers assigned to East Precinct responded to the report of an armed robbery,” confirmed Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Lt. Robert King.

“The perimeter was East Burnside to Stark, 108th Avenue to 113th Avenue,” King reported, at the scene. “The Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) was activated consistent with Police Bureau policy, to conduct the search for the suspect.”

Responding to the callout, another PPB truck rolls toward the scene.

King mentioned that officers were looking for an African American male in his 20’s, 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 230 pounds, with facial hair.

About three hours later, police took a man into custody, we learned. “We have not released his name at this time,” King later told us. “We will release additional information when it becomes available.”

SERT officers assemble and prepare to comb through the blocks north of the mini-mart.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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