Pleasant Valley ‘burglary gone bad’ sparks short SERT standoff

Read this, and you’ll see how a gun-slinging burglar was quickly located – and taken into custody – shortly after he allegedly brandished a gun in an effort to make a clean getaway. We’ve got exclusive action photos, too  …

A Portland Police Bureau officer strings up yellow emergency tape across SE 122nd Avenue, stopping traffic and pedestrians from heading south from SE Harold Street.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
What turned into a brief standoff that shut down SE 122nd Avenue, from SE Foster Road north to SE Harold Street, started out as a reported burglary about 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 23.

“It started out with a 9-1-1 call,” Portland Police Bureau (PPB) spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson told East Portland News. “A person told the emergency operator that there was a burglar at his neighbor’s house, and that the burglar pointed a gun at him as he fled the location.”

Alert neighbor supplies critical information
That call came from an alert Pleasant Valley neighbor in the 7000 block of SE 127th Avenue – just south and up the hill from Leach Botanical Garden. The neighbor also gave the 9-1-1 operator a key piece of information – that the crook sped off in a turquoise, 1993 Ford Thunderbird, Simpson added.

The gun-toting bandit drove his T-Bird northwest on SE 122nd Drive, around the twisty curves of SE 122nd Avenue crossing Johnson Creek, up the hill, and through the intersection at SE Foster Road. He hopped out near a house just north of SE Martins Street.

Officers from all over the City converge in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood in response to a SERT page-out.

“Officers spotted the subject’s car,” Simpson later told us. “A K-9 Officer’s dog picked up the suspect’s scent, and tracked him to a house in the 6000 block of Southeast 122nd Avenue. Officers contacted the residence, and learned that the armed suspect was inside with a female. He refused to come out.”

The PPB’s Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) was activated. “When there is an armed subject in a structure, the SERT officers come out – along with the bomb squad and Hostage Negotiation Team (HNT) – to make sure we have all equipment and personnel on hand, should the situation continue. The negotiator works to bring about an early resolution to the situation.”

SERT Officers go over the plan to encourage the suspect, holed up in a house, to come out and surrender peaceably.

Elementary school is locked down
Because of the police activity in the area, Alice Ott Middle School – just a couple of blocks east of the suspect’s location – went into “lockout”, reported David Douglas School District spokesman Dan McCue. “This event did not impact the school, but as a safety precaution, and under the supervision of our PPB School Resource Officers, the school did go into Lockout. It didn’t disrupt any planned activities at Alice Ott.”

From our vantage point at SE 122nd Avenue at SE Harold Street, we watched, as a full complement of SERT officers suited up at about 11:30 a.m.

Officers leave the staging area, and head south on SE 122nd Avenue.

Riding both in and on the armored SERT truck, officers make their way to the house where the suspect is hiding.

After formulating their approach plan, they distributed information to the SERT, and their smaller armored vehicle carried the officers south. A few minutes later, their larger vehicle drove off, with officers inside – and also clinging to the west side of the vehicle. It, too, traveled south on SE 122nd Avenue, passing the Springwater Trail, toward the Martins Street staging area.

Because SE 122nd Avenue dips and curves where the Springwater Trail crosses it, we lost sight of the SERT officers as they set up around the house where the suspect was holed up.

The pouring rain doesn’t slow the SERT officers as they make their way to their positions.

“Negotiators made phone contact with the suspect and talked him into coming outside and surrendering to police along with the female,” Simpson said. “The suspect was taken into custody approximately 11:00 a.m. and transported to the Detective Division.”

The female was associated to the suspect, Simpson added, and was not a hostage.

-7 Officials accuse this man, 29-year-old Brian Alan Rodgers, on three felony counts related to this case. Multnomah County Detention Center photo

“29-year-old Brian Alan Rodgers was taken to the Multnomah County Jail,” Simpson concluded. “Rodgers will be arraigned in Multnomah County Court, tomorrow.”

Multnomah County Detention Center records show Rodgers was booked into jail at 4:00 p.m. September 23, on charges of two Class A Felonies: One count of Robbery in the First Degree, one count of Burglary in the First Degree and one Class C Felony – Theft in the First Degree. He’s being held on a combined bail of $305,000.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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