Samurai-sword-swinging ex-con shuts down SE Stark

See how a moderate police response avoided mayhem in Montavilla, when a disagreement turned violent …

Because of the disturbance just a couple blocks west of this location, police shut down SE Stark Street at the I-205 interchange while they sort out “Shots Fired” and “Man with Sword” calls.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
There were few pedestrians out, in the frigid night air of December 30, to notice swarms of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) squad cars rolling into the area of SE 91st Avenue at SE Stark Street at about 11:15 p.m.

But, it was clear to motorists and those riding TriMet that something was afoot – SE Stark Street was closed down to traffic.

Many police officers, including a K-9 team, came into the area, ready to help investigate and contain the situation.

“At about 11:12 p.m., Portland Police Gang Enforcement Team officers were on patrol in the area,” recounted PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “They saw a man armed with a sword run into an apartment in the 9200 Block of SE Stark.”

Officers at the scene requested cover units. PPB East Precinct Commander Bill Walker told East Portland News that the precinct’s night shift command staff member, Lt. David Meyer, quickly arrived and coordinated the effort. “Officers learned there was an assault victim in a different unit of the same apartment building.”

“The victim, 39-year-old Raashid Salaam, had a cut on his hand, and was transported to a local hospital with a non-life threatening injury,” Simpson added.

After establishing a cordoned-off perimeter around the apartment complex, officers began to interview witnesses. “Our officers closed off traffic,” Walker explained, “while they sorted out what had occurred.”

Looking east on SE Stark Street, officers take cover while waiting as the situation unfolds.

According to Simpson, officers learned that just prior to their arrival several gunshots were heard by a witness. “Officers located evidence indicating someone had fired a gun from the same apartment that the man with the sword ran into as officers arrived.”

While we were on-scene, photographing the incident, we could hear police loud-hailing the apartment unit where the suspected swordsman was thought to be holed up. “It’s kind of a sketchy area,” said Melissa Beckmann – a customer of the 24-hour Taco Bell as she stopped to look at the scene. “But, this is kind of unreal. They seem to have a lot of problems at those apartments.”

Police stand by, awaiting a response, after loud-hailing and telephoning the suspect.

Tension built, as officers both loud-hailed and called the phone number thought to be that of the suspect.

About 15 minutes later, the suspect came out of the apartment unit and surrendered to police without incident. “Officers recovered a sword and a handgun from the apartment,” Simpson noted.
The suspect was identified as 33-year-old Lawrence F. Broadus of Southeast Portland.

“During the course of the investigation, detectives learned that Salaam and Broadus have had an ongoing dispute with each other,” added Simpson. “Broadus was charged with Assault in the Second Degree and being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Broadus was booked into the Multnomah County Jail.”

Police say this man, 33-year-old Lawrence F. Broadus, racked up two substantial charges in the course of this oddly swashbuckling incident.

As of this writing, Broadus remains in custody; his combined bail amount for the two charges stands at $255,000, according to MCDC records.

“When people make irrational decisions, and are seen to be armed, we have to respond,” commented Walker. “We’re glad we could calm the situation in a way that resulted in a positive outcome. It was a good effort by Lt. Meyer, along with the East Precinct night shift sergeants and all of the officers who responded.”

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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