East Portland sees two SERT call-outs in three days

The sound of shots ringing out did indeed come from guns during both events. But you’ll be surprised to learn WHY those shots were fired, in these two odd cases ‚Ķ

Not knowing what they’d face, members of the SERT unit gear up and ready their armored vehicle, as they go into action on SE 92nd Ave. south of Foster Road on January 28.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It seems too cold and windy on Sunday night, January 28, for crooks to be out shooting up the Lents neighborhood.

Nevertheless, 9-1-1 operators start getting “shots fired” calls from people in the area of SE 92nd Ave. south of Foster Road.

At the scene, we talk with Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Cathe Kent. “We’re here because we’ve gotten calls from neighbors that they thought they were being shot at, or that there were shots coming from a home here.”

The first officer arriving, Kent tells us, believed he heard gunfire.

Immediately, 100 members worshiping in a church, directly across from the home in question, are asked to stay inside, and away from the west wall of the building. SE 92nd Avenue is shut down; eastbound traffic on SE Foster Road is rerouted as the Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and The Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT) respond to the scene.

Residents of neighboring homes are evacuated and taken to a waiting TriMet bus, parked the New Copper Penny lot.

The Mobile Command Center rolls into place on SE 92nd Ave., about a block north of Foster Road.

Police officers make contact and three occupants of the house in question walked out on their own; three additional occupants were eventually talked out by the HNT team.

The area remained “locked down” while officers searched for a seventh subject, who was finally located and stopped in the 6100 block of SE 93rd Avenue. All seven are currently being detained, and are being interviewed by investigators.

The next day, it looks as if the “indoor rifle range” is getting some badly needed renovation.

Indoor target practice
Officers go through the home at 6131 Southeast 92nd Avenue. One cop confides to us, “It’s the worst I’ve ever seen or smelled.” He says he thinks it’s a “flophouse”, badly in need of disinfecting. During their search, they find a .22 caliber rifle.

Finally the “all clear” signal is given, and everyone packs up to go home.

Unofficially, an officer tells us, “It seems residents were doing some ‘target practice’ inside this house, starting about 5 p.m. From what I’ve heard, they seemed unaware that the bullets were penetrating the walls, and zinging through the neighborhood, scaring the heck out of everyone!”

The incident remains under investigation; charges have yet to be filed.

But read on! There’s more!

About 2:00 p.m. on January 31, police say, they took a call from a woman in the area of SE 118th and Ogden Court about her husband shooting a gun in their home.

The Mobile Command Center rolls into place in southern East Portland, responding to a “shots-fired” call.

At the scene, police spokesman Sgt Brian Schmautz informs us, “She says her husband was shooting off rounds in the home. He had some suicidal issues. She was concerned for her personal safety, and for her husband’s well-being.”

Hears shots ring out
A nearby resident, Burdel Roberts, tells us, “I heard what sounded like one shot. I didn’t know what it was. The wife called and asked me to look out; the police were all around the house.

“I looked out my door, and a police officer came out of the bushes and said, ‘Get back in the house’. I was sitting in the den and about 30 minutes later, he knocked on the door, saying they were evacuating the area. So, we left.”

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs directs officers as they search for the suspect.

As the police cordon off the area, they get word the shooter has left his home, and has gone into the nearby woods on foot.

The shooting call triggers the SERT team’s arrival. “While there is a full call-out,” explains Sgt. Schmautz, “we don’t have an actual deployment.”

At the scene, Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Sgt. Brian Schmautz fills us in on the latest outer East Portland SERT call-out.

About two hours later, the suspect walks out of the woods. “He didn’t have the gun with him; he left it inside the home,” says Schmautz. He is taken into custody without incident. He isn’t found to be hurt in any way, and is taken in for a mental health evaluation. “It appears to be an issue of deteriorating mental health. He didn’t appear to be shooting at his wife.”

The sergeant did say at least two rounds were fired inside the home. “We don’t know his motivation. He didn’t hit any portion of his body. It appears he was despondent for some reason.”

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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