Hazelwood deaths ruled a murder-suicide

PPB Homicide detectives are still investigating this outer East Portland case, in which an adult son is thought to have shot and killed his mother, before ending his own life …

Seen from the southwest corner of the Cherry Park Elementary School playground, officers gather in the Hazelwood neighborhood near the convergence of SE 103rd Drive and 104th Avenue for suspicious circumstances call at a nearby home.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Although it hasn’t been explained what alerted the officer, a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officer “self-dispatched” to check on the wellbeing of a female, living at a residence in the 2100 Block of SE 103rd Drive on January 11th, at 2:40 p.m.

The officer must have called for backup, because, twelve minutes later, dispatchers dispatched a “WELFARE CHECK – PRIORITY” to that address, a long block southwest of Cherry Park Elementary School.

Officers focus their attention on the house that is obscured by the line of trees.

Within minutes, officers began arriving in the area, and eventually 33 of them responded to the dispatch.

“Arriving officers heard what they believed to be a gunshot from the other side of the property,” a PPB official said. “Officers entered the home and found a deceased female inside,” the report revealed.

So far, there’s been no word on whether the woman on whom the officer was checking was indeed the same person they found deceased – later identified as the homeowner, 74-year-old Karen Friedstrom.

The armored PPB SERT van, and more officers, arrive..

PPB command staff at the scene consulted with, and paged out, both the Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and the Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT).
At the same time, through the Portland Bureau of Emergency Communication, operators sent an emergency alert was sent to area residents asking them to shelter in place — and buses at Cherry Park Elementary, as well as parents coming to pick up their kids, were all held at the school for a time.

A drone, flown by a Gresham Police Department officer “on loan” for the incident, gives commanders a birds-eye view of the scene. (We’re told by PPB officers that their Bureau isn’t allowed to have a drone.)

Not long after they arrived, officers discovered that the shot they heard behind the house was apparently a man shooting himself. Making their way to where they’d heard the gunshot, SERT officers found an adult man dead of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

After searching the house and yard and finding no others present, officers secured the area, and the crime scene went from being a tactical operation to an investigation.

SERT and district officers debrief, after the threat of further danger had passed, and PPB Homicide Division detectives began their investigation.

Later that day, officials also identified the dead person found outside on the property as the woman’s son, 47-year-old Justin Friedstrom. “Homicide Division detectives determined that Justin shot his mother, then shot himself,” a PPB official revealed.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office agreed that the manner of death for both was gunshot wounds. Ruling Karen Friedstrom’s death a homicide, and Justin Friedstrom’s death a suicide.

According to social media, Karen Friedstrom was a volunteer at Providence Health Systems, and was also an artist who sold her works at Artistic Portland. Family-provided photo

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Joe Corona at (503)823-0508 | joseph.corona@portlandoregon.gov; or, Detective Jennifer Hertzler at (503)823-1040 | jennifer.hertzler@portlandoregon.gov. Reference Case No. 22-9618.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News


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