‘Shadow-boxing clown’ scares school kids

Read why officials say this outer East Portland ‘scary clown’ sighting wasn’t a hoax … but may have been a prank, or possibly a mental illness episode …

Both kids and adults at Floyd Light Middle School, in the Hazelwood neighborhood, got a fright from a violently-behaving man wearing a clown mask – and boxing gloves.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

During the last few weeks, reports of scary, menacing and “evil” clowns have been on the rise – mostly “urban legends” online, say the police. Typically, these stories are hoaxes, or overblown accounts of people in costume.

But, kids and teachers at Floyd Light Middle School on SE Washington Street, caught sight of the real thing – a genuinely scary-behaving clown – at about 8:30 a.m. on October 6.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct officers came to the area after school officials called to report seeing a man outside the school, wearing a clown mask and boxing gloves, alarming students by standing outside school windows and “shadow boxing” towards the students.

Floyd Light Vice Principal Chris Stevens went out to speak with the clowning individual, who turned out to be anything but friendly.

“The suspect threatened the Assistant Principal with physical violence and charged at him,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

The pugilistic clown runs into this trailer park – followed by police officers.
“The Assistant Principal was not injured, and the suspect ran away towards a mobile home park nearby, where officers found the suspect in one of the residences,” Simpson added.

Apparently the suspect had taken off his boxing gloves before officers arrived, and was taken into custody without incident, Simpson later said. “Officers learned that the suspect had walked his grandkids to the school bus stop wearing the outfit, before creating the disorder outside the middle school.”

55-year-old David Dahlman discovers his behavior was taken as menacing, and is arrested for his behavior. MCDC booking photo

The suspect, 55-year-old David Dahlman, was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center at 9:38 a.m. on charges of Menacing Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, and remains in custody at Inverness Jail in lieu of $4,000 combined bail.

“Although police made the arrest based on the suspect’s actions, the threat of clown violence has largely been driven by social media reports rather than actual incidents,” said Simpson.
“Members of the community who normally dress up like clowns should be aware of these concerns, and should exercise due care when deciding to go out in public,” concluded Simpson.

> On our Front Page – This is not an image of the mask worn by the suspect; it is for illustration purposes only.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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