Gunman hunt shuts Gateway Shopping Center

Find out which outer East Portland businesses and clinics were locked down while police hunted for a man, with a gun, at the Gateway Shopping Center …

After pulling a gun on a Kohl’s employee at their nearby store, the suspect bolts and heads inside the Hazelwood neighborhood Fred Meyer store.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Traffic became thick around the Gateway Shopping Center just before 1:00 p.m. on June 6, as more than 38 Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers and command staff flooded the area, looking for an armed man who was hiding out in the evacuated Fred Meyer store.

But, according to PPB Public Information Officer Carlos Ibarra, the incident began in the Kohl’s store, to the north of Freddie’s store.

Officers stand guard on the east side of the Fred Meyer store as backup law enforcement personnel arrive at the scene.

“This investigation began on 12:56 p.m., when East Precinct officers responded to Kohl’s at 10010 NE Halsey Street, on a report of a robbery in progress – where the suspect had brandished a firearm at loss prevention employees before leaving the store,” Ibarra said. “Officers arrived and confronted the suspect outside, near Fred Meyer, at 1111 NE 102nd Avenue; the suspect did not comply, and ran into Fred Meyer.”

Employees from the Fred Meyer store, and other businesses, gather along NE 102nd Avenue after being evacuated by police.

While officers evacuated the store of customers – most of the employees were on the sidewalk along NE 102nd Avenue – and set up containment in the area, the Bureau’s Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) members began arriving and suiting up along SE Pacific Street, to the south of the shopping center.

West of the shopping center, the Gateway Medical Clinic was placed in lockdown, with signs on the doors advising that the building would be closed during the incident. The KeyBank branch, inside the containment area, was also locked up.

The SERT Command Center blocks NE 99th Avenue before the search of the store for the suspect begins.

Vehicles exiting the eastbound I-84 freeway to southbound NE 99th Avenue – blocked by the SERT Command Center and the PPB Crisis Negotiation Team truck – were routed through the north portion of the shopping center, causing problems for drivers, including one at the wheel of a massive dump truck with a huge dump trailer attached.

SERT officers suit up, ready to make an aisle-by-aisle search of the store.

Then, entering from the customer service pickup doors, SERT officers checked the store, section by section. With the help of the store’s surveillance system they located the suspect hiding in a storage area.

At about 4:00 p.m., SERT officers began to stand down. “SERT has the suspect in custody, and a loaded firearm was recovered,” Ibarra announced.

This is the firearm that detectives report they found while searching for the suspect. PPB image

The SERT squads exit the building, near the Fred Meyer “package pick up” entrance.

When it was all over, Ibarra said, “We are aware that several businesses went into lock-down, while others closed early; and we thank the community for their patience and cooperation as officers worked to apprehend the suspect.”

PPB Robbery Detail detectives identify the suspect as 34-year-old Tommy Lee Brown Jr.; this booking photo taken the day of his most recent arrest. MCDC booking photo

The suspect, Tommy Lee Brown, Jr., was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center at 8:01 p.m. that evening on Felony charges of Theft in the First Degree, Robbery in the First Degree, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and a Probation Violation detainer. $260,000 in combined bail was set, but Brown is currently lodged at MCDC without bail on the detainer.

“Brown was on supervised pre-trial release for a previous robbery and must wear a GPS tracking device,” Ibarra later commented.

The “pre-trial release” to which Ibarra referred, is from a previous conviction of a violent armed robbery at Powell Hurst Tavern, at 12344 Southeast Powell Boulevard, on August 20, 2018. CLICK HERE to read our coverage of that story.

According to court papers from Brown’s probable-cause hearing at that time, he allegedly pointed a handgun at the bartenders head, grabbed cash from the register, and then demanded money from the tavern’s lottery machines, which he got.

As recently as May 23, when this booking photo was taken, Tommy Lee Brown Jr. was in jail on charges of Parole Violation. MCDC booking photo

Brown was again jailed on a Parole Violation charge on May 23 this year, and was again released by a Multnomah County District Court judge on May 30. Release Reason: Time Served on a Sentence.

© 2019 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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