‘Domestic Violence’ call turns deadly

Here’s why Portland Police Bureau SERT officers closed off the streets near an elementary school, on the edge of outer East Portland …

Police close down streets in the Centennial neighborhood, after a call about domestic abuse turns into a murder case.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

What reportedly started as a domestic disturbance, called in by a concerned family member to the 9-1-1 Center late the night before, ended as a murder – discovered in the early hours of October 2 by Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers at the Alderwood Court Apartments, at 17225 SE Alder Street, just north of Alder Elementary School.

According to a Probable Cause Affidavit filed in Multnomah County Court, charging 28-year-old Robert Lee West with murder, at least one witness told investigators “the shadow of a man” was seen striking a woman, who was screaming and begging for the attack to stop, outside his apartment.

More officer move in to the area, as the investigation unfolds.

“At 2:39 a.m., officers responded to perform a welfare check at the apartments, and contacted the family member who was concerned about a woman living in the complex,” reported PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Burley.

The 9-1-1 caller told police that no family member had been able to contact the woman, Burley added – after they learned she was involved in an assault late Sunday evening or early Monday morning by the woman’s adult male partner.

Through the day, officers stand guard, while detectives and criminologists investigate the crime scene.

“Officers attempted to contact the victim, but were unable to contact or locate the victim because of the West’s behavior,” Burley stated, adding that the Bureau’s Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) had been activated.

After West didn’t respond to the apartment unit’s front door, according to court papers, officers looked through the apartment’s windows saw blood inside. The officers entered through a rear glass patio door, calling out that they’d come inside, but were met with silence.

The PPB “Mobile Precinct” serves as headquarters for the investigation.

Searching the apartment, officers found West, the affidavit revealed, and described his behavior as appearing to be “hostile”. The affidavit went on to state that West claimed the woman had “passed out” – then changed his story, and said she “wasn’t home”.

Officers quoted West as telling them, “If you come in, there will be problems,” and “the only way this will end is if someone dies,” the affidavit revealed.

“SERT officers took West into custody, and then located a deceased adult female,” Burley said.

Throughout the day, police investigate the crime, keeping nearby residents from the crime scene.

Classes and activities at Alder Elementary School were cancelled for the day, while officers kept the area secured and PPB Homicide Detectives and Forensics Division criminalists pursued the investigation.

“Police woke me up early in the morning and had me leave my apartment in the complex,” Enrique Marquez told East Portland News while he waited to be allowed back into his residence, in mid-afternoon.

Accused of murder is 28-year-old Robert Lee West. MCDC booking photo

West was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at on October 2 at 8:40 p.m. on a count of Murder, a Class A Felony. After his arraignment, he was ordered to be held without bond.

Police reveal that 26-year-old Lila F. Streeter – court documents show her to be the wife of West – had died of “homicidal violence”.

The following day, the Oregon State Medical Examiner disclosed that the victim was 26-year-old Lila F. Streeter, and stated that she had died of “homicidal violence”.

West’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 11.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News


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