Pawn store manager gunned down on 82nd Avenue

UPDATED: Man arrested in this deadly encounter in the South Tabor neighborhood leaves some unanswered questions …

Police converge on a parking lot along SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, just north of Powell Boulevard, when a man is shot by a bike thief.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Bystanders were providing CPR, and trying to staunch the bleeding of a man with at least one gunshot wound, in the parking lot of a Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza shop at 3335 SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, just before 3 p.m. on March 30.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers were dispatched to the area. But medical help was too late. The victim, identified as 31 year-old Benjamin Taylor Johnson, died at the scene.

PPB detectives and investigators set up in the Bureau’s Mobile Command Center in the back of the parking lot.

It was not long before 35 units, including PPB’s Mobile Command Center, arrived, and the members of the Bureau’s Forensic Evidence Division, and homicide detectives, began the investigation.

According to witnesses, the incident had actually started half a block north, along SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, at USA Pawn & Jewelry, 8001 SE Powell Boulevard – at the north end of the Winco-anchored shopping center.

Officers guard the bicycle that appeared to have been stolen from the pawn shop.

“I was shopping in the center looking for a notebook, and also went into the pawn store to look around,” said witness who called himself Antonio.

A man came into the pawn shop, and grabbed a high-end bicycle, and headed out the door, Antonio told East Portland News. “An employee – I think he was the pawn shop manager – ran after the thief, shouting for him to stop.”

Police officers cordoned off the area and a PPB Forensic Evidence Division photographer documented the bicycle that appeared to have been dropped by the thief just outside the store.

Johnson, the store employee continued after the thief, and nearly caught up with him in the parking lot of Papa Murphy’s store, about a half-block south of the pawn shop.

Police cruisers partially block southbound SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, as the shooting investigation gets underway.

“The ‘bad guy’ took out a 9mm and shot the pawn store man – bam, bam, bam – he dropped to the pavement, and the guy with the gun took off running [west] toward the back of the parking lot,” Antonio told us.

“It doesn’t make sense for someone to shoot another because of a bike,” Antonio mused. “And again, not faulting anyone, but I don’t know how smart it was for pawn shop guy to go chasing after the thief, for a bike.”

Deceased from gunshot wounds is 31-year-old Benjamin Taylor Johnson. DMV photo

The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death for Johnson was homicide, and the manner was gunshot wounds.

On April 2, a coordinated effort among the PPB’s Special Emergency Reaction Team, Homicide detectives, their Tactical Operations Division, and the Detective Coordination Team to identified and arrested arrest 22-year-old Joseph David Schneider.

Schneider has been booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 4:47 p.m. on one count of Murder in the First Degree and one count of Robbery in the First Degree.

This man, 22-year-old Joseph David Schneider is being held, to stand trial for murder. MCDC booking photo

At his arraignment, Schneider learned he’d face four Class A Felony charges, including two Murder in the First Degree and two Robbery in the First Degree charges. He was also initially charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Possession of Methamphetamine.

Based on the results of a Multnomah County Grand Jury proceeding, on April 13, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill announced the filing of a seven-count indictment against Schneider for Johnson’s murder, adding to additional two Murder in the First Degree charges (now totaling four), and including the two Robbery in the First Degree and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm charges in the indictment. Apparently, the drug charge was dropped.

According to court documents, the indictment alleges that Schneider committed a robbery, and that in the course of and in the furtherance of committing that crime, he unlawfully and intentionally killed Mr. Johnson using a firearm.

And, in addition to the murder, robbery and weapon charges, Schneider has two County “Hold” orders, with a combined bail amount of $862,500. He remains held in MCDC without bail, for the seven counts for which he is indicted.

“A charging document is only an accusation of a crime; Schneider is innocent unless and until proven guilty,” reminded Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office Communications Director Brent Weisberg.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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