Armed robbery leads to SERT search in Powellhurst-Gilbert

 This is why the area east of SE 122nd Avenue along Powell Boulevard had more than two dozen Portland Police Bureau officers combing through the blocks …

In the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, east of SE 122nd Avenue, Powell Boulevard is filled with police vehicles, as officers search for a man who ran from them in a stolen car – a person they believe had just committed an armed robbery.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

An armed robbery of the Still Smokn’ Smoke Shop at 12325 SE Powell Boulevard on Thursday evening, January 25, turned into a massive callout of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers in that area.

The “Robbery-with Weapon” at the smoke shop initially saw three PPB East Precinct officers dispatched to the store at 5:01 p.m.

“When officers arrived, they learned that a suspect, armed with a gun, had robbed the store and left the area,” PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Kevin Allen told reporters, as the incident was unfolding. “No one was injured.”

Officers began looking for the suspect. At 5:09 p.m., an officer spotted a man matching the suspect’s description in the area of SE Powell Boulevard and 136th Avenue, near the Plaid Pantry store, and watched as the suspect got into a car.

Two PPB armored SERT vehicles get ready to roll into the primary search area, along SE 124th Avenue; a dead-end street that runs north of SE Powell Boulevard.

When officers turned on their emergency lights and siren, signaling for the driver to stop – instead, he hit the gas and took off westbound on SE Powell Boulevard.

“Officers pursued the driver, until the driver was involved in a crash at SE Powell Boulevard and 122nd Avenue with two other vehicles,” Sergeant Allen reported. “No one was injured, but the suspect ran away on foot into the blocks.”

This is the vehicle, determined to be stolen, in which the suspect crashed – then ran.

Outside the 7-Eleven store at SE Powell Boulevard and 122nd Avenue, we found “Jack” – who said he’d witnessed the crash. “He ran [east along SE Powell Boulevard], and hopped over the fence next to the store that had just been robbed. The officer chasing him couldn’t make it over the fence,” the observer reported.

Believing the suspect was armed and hiding from the police in the neighborhood, officers set up a perimeter to contain the suspect from SE Powell Boulevard to Kelly Street, between 122nd Avenue and 124th Avenue.

Officers, SERT members, and detectives exchange information about the incident.

During evening rush hour traffic, drivers on congested area streets repeatedly had to pull over to the curb, as a procession of police patrol vehicles, undercover cars, and members and equipment from the PPB’s Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) rolled into the area.

At the same time, the PPB’s Major Crimes Unit responded to investigate the original armed robbery – bringing a total of 32 police personnel into the area.

High overhead, PPB drones search from the air, while armed officers comb through the residential properties on the ground.

During the search, PPB Drones were hovering over the single-story Parklane Apartments complex at 3335 SE 124th Avenue. Then, the drones turned and buzzed north slowly, along the dead-end street. On foot, SERT officers made a yard-by-yard search of residential yards.

“Later in the evening, as detectives gathered more information, they learned that the robbery suspect’s description was slightly different than the elude suspect, and that they likely were not the same person,” Sergeant Allen told us.

It seems likely that the man who crashed this stolen vehicle was trying keep for being arrested in this smashed stolen car – not the armed robbery that took place a few yards away from where it stopped. PPB image

“The new information changed the incident commander’s public safety concern, as PPB no longer had a belief that the suspect in the blocks was armed with a gun. For that reason, the shelter-in-place order was lifted and tactical teams were released,” Sergeant Allen said. But the police continue their hunt for both suspects.
If you have information about either incident, please e-mail and reference Case No. 24-19292.

© 2024 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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