Armed wanted felon captured in Lents

Here’s how officers resolved a potentially fatal outer East Portland confrontation, without a shot being fired …

In the Lents neighborhood, on SE Ramona Street, near the TriMet MAX Light Rail Green Line station, police move in – to arrest a wanted felon.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

When the location became known of a man with an outstanding warrant out of Clackamas County, on a charge of Theft in the First Degree, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers converged on a house near the corner of SE 93rd Avenue and Ramona Street, at 11:29 p.m. on August 31.

Officers confronted the suspect, 31-year-old Johnathan Armand Harris, told him he was under arrest, and asked him to comply with their requests so he could be safely taken into custody.

“That guy made it clear, from the get-go, he wasn’t goin’ with the cops, anywhere – at least without puttin’ up a fight,” a nearby resident who witnessed the incident told East Portland News the following day, asking that their name not be used.

More police arrive to provide back-up, as officers work to effect an arrest.

“The suspect did not follow the officers’ instructions,” PPB Acting Public Information Officer Natasha Haunsperger said as she described the confrontation.

“As officers attempted to take the suspect into custody, he actively resisted the officers’ efforts and directions,” Haunsperger said. “As the suspect continued to physically resist the officers’ attempts to take him into custody, they observed the suspect was in possession of a firearm.”

This is an image, provided by the manufacturer, of the make and model of handgun found on the suspect’s person during the arrest.

An officer reportedly attempted to apply a carotid neck hold Haunsperger reported, after which officers were able to place the suspect in handcuffs and seize the firearm that was in the suspect’s possession.

A “carotid restraint control hold” isn’t a “choke hold”; it uses pressure on carotid arteries and jugular veins at the sides of the neck, which results in diminished cerebral cortex circulation, and reduces the “awake state” of the subject, according to self-defense training manuals.

After the suspect is taken in to custody, officers stand down while emergency medical first responders evaluate the suspect.

“Once the suspect was in custody, officers requested emergency medical personnel provide any necessary medical treatment to the suspect; but the paramedics determined he didn’t require additional medical assessment or treatment,” Haunsperger said.

Harris was lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center at 4:41 a.m. on September 1 on the charges of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and the Clackamas County warrant.

31-year-old Johnathan Armand Harris now faces several felony charges.

At the arraignment of Harris in Multnomah County Circuit Court on September 4, in an “Affidavit of Probable Cause” filed by Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Shawn M. Overstreet presented information linking Harris to the theft of a gun from a residence in the Woodstock neighborhood on August 9.

The court document reported that the gun Harris allegedly had on his person at the time of his arrest was Glock 19 Gen 4 – the same model of handgun, loaded with two bullets of the same brand of ammunition, taken in the theft. However, Overstreet’s affidavit pointed out that officers observed that the serial number of the firearm had been obliterated and could not be verified.

The court document also affirmed that Harris had been previously convicted of Attempted Murder, and so, was not permitted to “own, possess, or have in his custody or control, any firearm”.

Judge John A Wittmayer found “probable cause”; Harris learned he’d face charges of Burglary I, Theft I, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Resisting Arrest, and Altering Identification on a Firearm. Harris remains in custody in lieu of $72,500 combined bail.

Because of the “reported level of force used by an officer” in this incident, PPB Bureau Detective Division’s Homicide Detail conducted an investigation, which is Bureau protocol, even though there were no reports that any officer discharged a firearm during this incident. And, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office is being consulted regarding this investigation.

The involved officer in this incident has been placed on paid administrative leave, pursuant to Police Bureau policy.

“As part of the use of force review process, the Bureau will conduct an internal review of the entire incident, and the case will go before the Police Review Board, which is comprised of community members, Bureau members, and representatives from the Independent Police Review Division,” Haunsperger remarked.

Anyone with information about this investigation should contact Detective Travis Law at 503-823-9786, or Detective Vince Cui at 503-823-0449 or

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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