Drunken, estranged couple’s beef ends in SERT standoff

Was he holding his ex-girlfriend hostage in the SE Powell Boulevard Motel 6 room with a gun? See why police took no chances, and called in SERT officers …

Because the suspect was reportedly using a handgun to hold a woman hostage, police officers and the SERT team closed down SE Powell Boulevard for blocks around the Motel 6.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Agreeing to meet and “work out problems” in their estranged relationship, 37-year-old Kenneth Clowers and 32-year-old Angel Crowe checked into the Motel 6 in the 3100 block of SE Powell Boulevard the evening of Monday, February 4.

According to Portland Police Bureau spokesman, Sgt. Brian Schmautz, the couple’s subsequent discussion was lubricated with spirits. “After quite a bit of alcohol consumption – about a half-gallon of vodka consumed by both people – Clowers and Crowe began to fight, sometime during the night or the following morning.”

At the front door of the motel, officers continued to gather information about the incident that mobilized the SERT squad.

When things started going badly, apparently Crowe picked up her cell phone, Schmautz said, and called her mother. Crowe’s mom then called 9-1-1 about 11:15 a.m. on Feb. 5 saying her daughter was being held against her will, at gunpoint.

“Because a gun was reportedly involved,” Schmautz told us, “police officers set up a parameter, isolated the motel room, and identified both the man and woman. Both individuals are known to police.”

Officers checked on the victim, reportedly punched during the incident, before she was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

As Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) officers scrambled into the area, hostage negotiators opened contact with Clowers. SE Powell Boulevard, from SE 32nd Avenue west to Cleveland High School – which was placed in a precautionary lockdown during the event – was closed to traffic.

“Negotiators reported hearing Crowe yelling, ‘He doesn’t have a gun’ in the background. We didn’t know if she was being coerced into saying that, or if Clowers was trying to provoke police into taking deadly force,” Schmautz added.

An officer stands guard, as SERT officers go through the motel room in search of a handgun, but found none.

About 12:30 p.m., negotiators convinced Clowers to surrender. Indeed, no handgun was found in the motel room.

“The only injury was to Crowe,” said Schmautz. “She was punched sometime during the incident. It was not a traumatic injury; officers later interviewed her at the hospital.”

Kenneth Clowers has been charged with Violation of a Restraining Order, Assault in the Fourth Degree (Domestic Violence), and Coercion.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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