Lents camper, with gun, finally surrenders – after standoff

VIDEO: WATCH SERT OFFICERS ROLL INTO THE AREA | No shots were fired, but this situation could have gone badly at any time, police say …

When City of Portland contractors arrived to clean out this transient camp along the I-205 Multi-Use Path in Lents, one camper reportedly threatened a worker – with a real, loaded handgun.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

While contractors were busy putting in a sidewalk along the south edge of Lents Park, on Thursday morning, April 13 – along SE Steele Street, west of 92nd Avenue – one Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officer after another pulled up in the area. The first of them were PPB East Precinct officers, dispatched at 9:16 a.m.

Officers were turning east onto SE Steele Street, between 92nd Avenue and the dead-end at the base of the foot bridge over I-205whic leads to Oliver Lent Elementary School. It’s been the site of an perennial transient encampment.

PPB command staff plan how to take the armed camper into custody.

“A city worker was menaced by an individual who held what appeared to be a handgun,” PPB Lt. Nathan Sheppard told reporters blocks south, near the Wattles Boys & Girls Club. “Portland’s Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) has been activated and is responding to the scene,” he added – as the situation began to unfold.

Soon, as many as 33 squad cars were pouring into the area, parking primarily on SE 92nd Avenue, between Steele and Mitchell streets.

This SERT officer puts on his specialized gear before heading out with his group.

These officers were followed by two armored SERT vehicles, the SERT Command Vehicle, and later by the PPB’s Mobile Command Center.

“It started when Rapid Response (BioClean) came – once again – to clean out the big homeless camp that’s built up between Mitchell and Steele streets along the I-205 Multi-Use Path (MUP),” a neighbor told East Portland News.

Near the end of the footbridge across I-205, at the Multi-Use Path, SERT officers move into position.

The neighbor continued, “It had again gotten so bad, none of us will let our kids walk to [Oliver Lent] school across the freeway footbridge because the ‘campers’ harass them. Like most of my neighbors, I’d move away if I could afford to; I have to carry a gun, just to be safe in my own back yard.”

A UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or drone) flew overhead, as SERT teams geared up and moved into position on both ends of the affected area of the Multi-Use Path.

Where SE Mitchell Street dead-ends into the MUP, another contingent of SERT officers gather.

Due to the location, reporters couldn’t observe how the situation was unfolding – or that it had degenerated into a stalemate as hours passed. A PPB officer told East Portland News as we walked along SE 92nd Avenue around noon, “This man is well known to us; this could take a while.”

It was here where the suspect was holed up, apparently hoping police would go away and forget that he brandished a firearm, threatening a worker. PPB image

A PPB Canine Team arrives, intending to convince the suspect to give up.

However, by about 3 p.m., officers signaled that the incident was over. At the time of the suspect’s arrest, a K9 Unit police dog was sent in to encourage the suspect to give up – resulting in a minor injury to the man from a dog bite.

The suspect received treatment for the dog bite at a local hospital.

Sorry, you’re not permitted to view the booking photo of 33-year-old Nathan Eric Robinson. To learn why you can’t see it, CLICK HERE for details.

Police arrested 33-year-old Nathan Eric Robinson, who was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 8:24 p.m. that evening, after being released from medical care on two Misdemeanors — Unlawful Possession of a Loaded Firearm in Public, and Menacing; and also one Felony, Unlawful Use of a Weapon.

This is where officers say they found the handgun — inside the lodging of 33-year-old Nathan Eric Robinson. PPB image

However, at his arraignment, Robinson learned he was facing multiple Felony charges, including one count of Attempted Murder in the First Degree; three counts of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree; three counts of Attempted Assault in the First Degree; and three counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon.

Currently, Robinson remains in custody, held with no bail on the felony charges at the Multnomah County Inverness Jail.

Watch, as officers come into the area to keep neighbors safe while they arrest a camper, threatening with a handgun:

Details clarified
“The person threatened was a city contractor, not an actual city employee,” clarified PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Kevin Allen for East Portland News the next day.

This gun isn’t a fake “replica” – it’s the real thing, with real bullets. PPB image

“The incident took time because PPB is trained to use time as a de-escalation tactic,” Sgt. Allen explained. “Especially when we have someone who is armed, it’s critical that we make every effort to minimize risk to all involved. If we proceed too quickly, it could force a confrontation.

“Because he was contained, we had the ability to ‘slow things down’, and ultimately reach an ideal outcome – which is an arrest with minimal injury.”

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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