‘Shots fired’ call brings SERT squad to SE Division Street

But, the man alleged to have used his apartment as an indoor shooting range slipped away from them. You’ll be amazed to find out how and where this kilt-clad gunman was later found …

With SE Division Street blocked off from SE 92nd Avenue to SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, officers clear out civilians while they investigate a “shots fired” call at a residence.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It’s a call no police officer wants to hear – “Shots fired inside a residence”.

Taking no chances with the public’s safety – or their own – these kinds of calls bring out the Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB) “Special Emergency Response Team” (SERT).

The Portland Police received such a call about 2:30 p.m. on June 17.

“Officers responded to a residence located in the 8700 Block of SE Division, on a call of ‘shots being fired inside the residence’,” PPB spokesperson Detective Mary Wheat told us and other reporters, in the 76 Market parking lot, just west of SE 92nd Avenue.

“When officers arrived they were unable to make contact with anyone inside the residence – but they believed an armed subject was possibly still inside,” Wheat revealed.

Following their protocol, the SERT unit, under the command of PPB East Precinct Captain William Walker, was activated, and Portland Police continued their attempts to make contact with the person they thought might be inside.

At their Tactical Mobile Unit, Portland Police Bureau SERT officers prepare to enter the SE Division Street residence.

“We were walking down the street less than an hour ago, and now it’s all blocked off and the police, SERT, bomb squad and everything here,” Scott LaGraff, an office supply salesman told us as he and his partner waited to retrieve their car parked within the yellow police tape. “I was in the military for almost ten years, but seeing something like this happening makes you wonder. I’m glad the police are on it, but it’s still kind of surreal.”

Division St. blocked into the evening
“We believe there is one person, armed, in there,” Wheat reported. “We don’t believe anyone else is in the residence. We won’t know what is happening inside until we get inside.”

Using amplified bullhorns and loudspeakers, SERT officers called to the occupant, asking him to come out, or call on the telephone. “Loud-hailing is our first way of trying to make contact,” Wheat told us. “We’ll try texting, cell-phones, or computer – any way we can to make contact.”

But the SERT squad’s requests for contact were met with silence.

As hours passed, bystanders wondered aloud whether or not the subject would come out, was dead or alive – or was even in the building.

Teargas and a search
As afternoon turned to dusk, SERT officers made ready to enter the house. At 7:35 p.m., they called to make sure civilians were clear before shooting canisters of tear gas inside.

“The SERT Team made entry into the residence,” reported Wheat. “They found evidence that gunshots had been fired inside the house, but did not locate anyone inside.”

Coming from all over the city, and from many law enforcement agencies, SERT squad members’ vehicles line SE Division Street.

Subject wanted: Man wearing kilt
Across all law enforcement channels, police put out information that they were looking for a 39-year-old white male, 5 ft 3 in tall, 160 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.

Officials let it be known that the man’s state of mind was not known, he could be armed – and, he was wearing a kilt. The hunt was on for 39-year-old Kevin Aiken.

About two hours after SERT officers entered the residence, an alert Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Deputy thought he might have spotted the wanted man.

A Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office lawman suits up, ready to look for the suspected gunman.

Subject found – in a Troutdale park
MCSO Sergeant Travis Gullberg told us what happened: “A deputy was checking the “1000 Acres Park” just east of Troutdale, on the north side of I-84. It’s visited by bird watchers and hikers.”

Although the deputy didn’t see the wanted man’s car when he drove through the parking log, Gullberg continued, the sharp-eyed lawman thought he spied a man who fit the general physical description of the wanted man.

“And, the subject was wearing a kilt – it’s a pretty specific clothing description,” Gullberg continued. “When the deputy drove back around the lot, he also saw the vehicle that fit the description that was broadcast.”

-5 Officials say 39-year-old Kevin Aiken was charged with one count of Reckless Endangerment and one count of Discharging a Firearm in the City.

Before getting out of his patrol car to speak with the subject, the deputy radioed this contact over the police frequencies.

“About 9:30 p.m., Kevin Aiken was peaceably taken into custody,” Gullberg noted. “It was a low-key end to the situation. Aiken did have a long gun in his vehicle.”

While Aiken was charged with one count of Reckless Endangerment and one count of Discharging a Firearm in the City, there is no offense in the criminal code for wearing a kilt.

Day or night, police spokesperson Detective Mary Wheat comes to the scene to help reporters get their story.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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