Armed Glenfair man shot by officer

Why this outer East Portland resident met police at his front door holding a rifle remains a mystery …

Although the TriMet MAX Light Rail lines kept running through the Glenfair neighborhood, streets were closed for blocks centering on the intersection of S.E. 148th Avenue and Burnside Street.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After a resident reportedly shot at an SUV parked in his parking lot on December 5 at 10:54 p.m., Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers arrived to investigate, at the Glendoveer Village Apartments, 74-98 S.E. 148th Avenue.

Because the suspect was thought to be armed, officers waited for backup before approaching the apartment, and used a “loud-hailer” to try for more than an hour to coax the man to come out.

It’s a tense situation, as officers try to talk an armed suspect out of his apartment.

“The Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and the Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) were responding to the scene to assist the East Precinct officers – but were not yet in place when the suspect left the residence, armed with the rifle,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

When the suspect began to move away from the doorway, a yet undisclosed action by the suspect led one police officer to fire on the suspect.

Officers converge on the area, as SERT officers mobilize.

“After the shooting, medical efforts to save the suspect were not successful, and he died at the scene,” Simpson said.

“Preliminary information indicates that the suspect was armed with a rifle at the time of the shooting and that he earlier had fired at officers, possibly with a handgun, prior to coming out of the residence with the rifle,” Simpson said; “The suspect’s rifle was seized as evidence.”

Police say they don’t know why this man, 52-year-old Steven Wayne Liffel, emerged from his apartment holding a rifle. PPB provided DMV photo

The following day Simpson identified the suspect killed as 52-year-old Steven Wayne Liffel. “The Medical Examiner determined that he died of a single gunshot wound; toxicology results are expected in a few weeks,” he revealed.

The 22-year-veteran of the Police Bureau, assigned to East Precinct night shift, who fired the shot, was placed on paid administrative leave while the case goes before a Grand Jury, Simpson reported; “The Bureau will conduct an internal review of the entire incident and the case will go before the Police Review Board.”

On the following day, bullet holes and evidence tags were still evident at the scene.

“Detectives have found no information indicating that Liffel had any history of mental illness, or any reason why he would have confronted officers while armed with a rifle,” Simpson stated.
“It seems like he moved in about a half-year ago, and hadn’t been any problem to me,” remarked neighbor Levada Johnson the following day.

“There’s a lot of commotion around here; I’ve never seen anything like this here,” Johnson told East Portland News. “I hope things calm down; I didn’t sleep at all last night.”

Anyone with additional information about this incident is asked to contact Detective Erik Kammerer at 503-823-0762, erik.kammerer@portlandoregon.gov.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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