Police shooting in Lents Park draws ‘hostile crowd’

UPDATED: Preliminary information about the officer-involved shooting in Lents Park indicates the deceased man brandished a gun at officers …

SE 92nd Avenue is closed down in front of Lents Park, as an investigation into an outer East Portland police-involved shooting gets underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After several people called the 9-1-1 Center reporting a man in Lents Park pointing a gun on Friday morning, April 16, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers were dispatched at 9:30 a.m.

Officers were focused on an area just outside the fence, east of Charles B. Walker Stadium, at 4727 SE 92nd Avenue. One patrol car had pulled up on the lawn, and was parked there; red crime scene tape surrounded the vehicle and the fenced area.

Officers protect the crime scene, near the eastern fence of Walker Stadium.

Officers cordoned off S.E. 92nd Avenue from Holgate Boulevard south to Raymond Street, as investigators and more officers arrived each passing minute.

Official PPB timeline of events:

  • 9:28 a.m. – PPB officers are dispatched to Lents Park after a person called the 9-1-1 Center, reporting a man in the park “quick drawing” and holding what looked like a handgun.
  • 9:36 a.m. – First officer arrives; other officers arrived shortly thereafter.
  • 9:40 a.m. – Officers report that the shooting took place and the man was down. The shooting took place from approximately 90 feet away.
  • 9:41 a.m. – Ambulance is dispatched and on the way.
  • 9:47 a.m. – Officers made a plan to approach the subject.
  • 9:48 a.m. – Officers call for medical personnel to come in and were performing CPR while using materials from an individual first aid kit as part of life saving efforts.
  • 9:53 a.m. – Medical personnel take over administering first aid.

> To listen to PPB Dispatch audio, via YouTube, CLICK HERE.

Originally, PPB Acting Chief Chris Davis was to speak with reporters just west of the park, along SE 88th Avenue, at about 11:30 a.m. – but as what the PPB found to be a “hostile crowd” gathered at the park, the location of that press conference was moved to the PPB East Precinct building.

Talking with reporters, three hours after the incident began, is Portland Police Bureau Acting Chief Chris Davis.

This is preliminary information: What I can tell you now is at 9:30 a.m. this morning, East Precinct officers were dispatched to Lents Park regarding what was described as a white male, pointing a gun, in the park,” Acting Chief Chris Davis began.

“The officers arrived and they contacted a person in the park. At some point during this interaction, both ‘less-lethal’ and lethal force were deployed by the officers.”

Two officers deployed 40 mm “less-lethal” rounds, and one officer used lethal force, it was later confirmed by PPB Public Information Officer Sergeant Kevin Allen.

Each with a different task to perform, officers work as the investigation gets underway.

“Medical assistance was staged nearby, as is protocol in these situations, and the officers provided emergency medical attention,” Acting Chief Davis continued. “But the gentleman was pronounced deceased at the scene. At this point there are no known injuries to community members, or to officers involved.”

As what Davis described as a “very complex and multi-layered investigation” got underway, the effort was “hampered somewhat by a crowd of fairly aggressive people who showed up at the scene; but, at this point we been able to keep them from interfering with the investigation.”

This is the replica handgun the subject was drawing and brandishing, PPB officials say.

Officials say this was the magazine for the replica handgun.

‘Aggressive people’ engage officers
Asked to elaborate on those who began to show up at the scene, Davis commented, “We had a decent sized crowd of fairly aggressive people who showed up at the scene. Some members of this group, for some reason, tore the crime scene tape down.

“Unfortunately, to respond to that, we had to bring in almost every PPB police officer, and those from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office – to keep them far enough away for investigators to do their work – [to be able to] do what we call ‘maintain the integrity of the scene’.”

PPB Acting Chief Davis says that nearly every law enforcement officer in Portland was called to the scene – either to help with the investigation, or to keep the unruly crowd from entering the crime scene.

By midday, 74 law enforcement units had been called to the incident.

When asked if the Lents-neighborhood-based pilot Portland Street Response team was called in, Davis responded, “Portland Street Response was not dispatched; based on the information we had about this call, it would’ve been outside Street Response’s purview.”

Because the investigation was unfolding, he could not provide specific answers for the dozen questions put to him by reporters.

“This is never the outcome that we want; these are very traumatic incidents for everyone involved, including the neighbors,” Davis said. “It is important that we do in investigative work and get to the bottom of what happened.”

The investigation at Lents Park was concluded a bit after 4 p.m. the same afternoon.

Just before the “hostile crowd” arrived, officers were maintaining the crime scene.

‘Hostile crowd’ attacks officers
Portland Police shortly afterward provided a more detailed description of what they had been up against during the investigation:

“The hostile crowd estimated to be over 100 people tore down crime-scene police tape and encroached on the work area. A line of officers had to create a blockade on multiple sides of the scene to keep the crowd back. Officers were hit with sticks and full water bottles were thrown at them. A group of people grabbed an officer’s baton and tried to pull it away. Officers deployed OC [pepper] spray to stop the criminal behavior. At least one police vehicle’s tires were flattened.

“As officers began to disengage from the scene, hostile individuals chased them, throwing things at them,” a PPB official said. “Officers deployed inert smoke canisters, in an attempt to help them leave, but individuals continued after them. A Rubber Ball Distraction Device® was used to allow the officers to safely disengage. No officers were injured.

“There were some false claims online that tear gas was used, but that was untrue. Officers did not deploy chemical munitions. No arrests were made,” the spokesperson added.

Shooting victim identified

On April 19, PPB officials released the name of man shot; he was 46-year-old Robert Douglas Delgado.

“This is an ongoing investigation; PPB works hard to be as transparent to the community and provide information as quickly as possible while trying to maintain the integrity of the investigation,” an unnamed bureau official wrote when updating information.

Anyone who has not been interviewed, but who has information about this incident, is encouraged to contact Detective Anthony Merrill by calling (503) 823-4033 or emailing anthony.merrill@portlandoregon.gov; or Detective Joe Corona, at (503) 823-0508 or at joseph.corona@portlandoregon.gov.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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