Kelso shoplift turns into Powellhurst-Gilbert manhunt

INCLUDES VIDEO OF POLICE DRONES | Here’s why neighbors near Raymond Park were on edge for hours – as police and drone, pour into the area, and shut down streets …

Portland Police Bureau officers walk the streets, helping the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office search for criminals – reportedly, on the loose in Powellhurst-Gilbert.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

It’s understandable why Powellhurst-Gilbert residents who live between Raymond Park – the location where an suspected gang shooting took place last week – and SE 122nd Avenue, on Wednesday evening, June 29, when a massive police presence again came to their streets.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers were dispatched at 9:28 p.m., on a “Assist Another Agency” call. Arriving units were to set up a perimeter of patrol cruisers and officers on all streets and intersections, from Raymond Park on SE 118th Avenue to 122nd Avenue – and from SE Harold Street north to Raymond Street.

Police converge on every intersection in the containment area as the manhunt begins.

Even while outside the established boundaries on SE Harold Street at 120th Avenue, news reporters were chased off by officers outfitted in Special Emergency Response Team gear. Reporters were chastened for lingering, because they officers said they were in imminent danger. At that location, their guns were pointed north, along the street.

Eventually, a total of 29 police officers had been called to the incident. This call-out included four (4) PPB K-9 police dog teams; two Gresham Police Department drones – along with the PPB’s eye-in-the-sky, Air 2, circling overhead.

Officers are vigilant for criminal suspects.

Neighbors stopped to ask about the commotion, and news reporters could only surmise that dangerous armed felons were on the loose, a danger to the neighborhood.

Actually, seeking shoplifters
As it turned out, this massive manhunt wasn’t for heavily armed penitentiary escapees, or for a shooter running wild. “PPB responded to assist the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office regarding a suspect, or suspects, in a vehicle driving into our area,” revealed PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Kevin Allen.

“The occupants of the vehicle bailed out and took off on foot near the SE 122nd Avenue and Harold Street area,” Sgt. Allen told East Portland News.

Gresham Police officers get ready to re-launch a drone.

It later came out that the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office had asked for help from the PPB as they pursued two suspects of a shoplift in a Kelso, Washington, Sportsman’s Warehouse store and drove off south on I-5.

The suspects’ 54.2 mile criminal odyssey headed south on Interstate 5, then onto I-205 in Clark County, and then, via surface streets, to the East Portland location where they ditched their vehicle. There has been no indication from any report that the suspects were armed.

Why the Portland Police Bureau isn’t allowed to have drones is unclear; but, Gresham Police officers come to their aid when needed by setting up and flying their Bureau’s unmanned aerial observation units.

“The incident report doesn’t give any indication that they were found, but the car was recovered,” Sgt. Allen informed.

At this time, the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office has not responded to our requests for more information, including whether or not the suspects were successfully detained.

Since we were kept well clear of the search area, there is little video of the actual manhunt to offer. But, watching the Gresham Police’s drones land and take off is interesting:

The Incident Number is 22-174018; but this isn’t a Portland Police Bureau case.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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