Springwater Trail assault leads to deadly police encounter

Learn more about how this incident began, just south of SE Foster Road, and how it ended …

From the early morning hours, and throughout the day, SE Foster Road remains shut down while an officer-involved shooting investigation takes place.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In many ways, this story started like many others, along the Springwater Trail in outer East Portland, early on June 12.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct district officers were called to the Springwater Trail crossing on SE Foster Road, near SE 104th Avenue, on the report of a pedestrian robbery.

Criminalists preserve the crime scene, as the investigation gets underway.

Arriving officers learned from the male victim that he’d been assaulted with a crowbar – not robbed – just south of SE Foster Road, along the popular trail. The assault victim pointed out where his assailant was last seen.

“A short time after speaking with the victim, the officers located the suspect along the Springwater Corridor, just south of Foster Road, where he appeared to be living,” said PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson.

After reportedly brandishing a crowbar while moving toward police officers, 23-year-old Nicholas Glendon Davis is shot. MCDC booking photo

The suspect, later identified as 23-year-old Nicholas Glendon Davis, charged toward the officers while armed with a large metal crowbar, Simpson added.

“When in very close proximity to Davis, officers began backing away from Davis in an attempt to disengage him and to create distance between them and the armed suspect,” Simpson described. “Officer Robert Brown fell backward as he tried to create distance.”

Police say this is the crowbar brandished by the suspect, before he was shot.

Davis continued to advance on the fallen officer, still armed with the crowbar. “Officer Brown fired a handgun, striking and killing Davis. Officer Matthew Nilsen, who was with Brown, but not involved in the shooting, called for cover, and medical personnel to respond to the scene to treat Davis,” Simpson reported.

Although PPB detectives have spoken with multiple witnesses who were in the area, and who provided much of this information to police, no additional details will be released in this case until after the Multnomah County Grand Jury has met and considered whether or not the officer acted according to law in the shooting.

Portland’s Mayor, Police Chief, and all three assistant chiefs were at the scene. Also there were representatives of the PPB Training Division, Internal Affairs Division, East County Major Crimes Team, Office of Independent Police Review (IPR), Traumatic Incident Committee (TIC), and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. A Mobile Precinct and a Mobile Command Center responded as well.

“This is standard protocol in any officer-involved shooting investigation,” Simpson revealed.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales consults with PPB Chief Michael Reese and Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea. Assistant Chief Donna Henderson takes a call on her cell phone.

At the completion of the investigation, the case file will be given to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office for presentation to a Grand Jury. The involved Bureau member will remain on paid Administrative Leave, which is standard, until the completion of the Grand Jury evaluation.

Near the crosswalk where the Springwater Trail crosses SE Foster Road, an investigator sets up a “TotalStation” crime-recreation tool.

Both the PPB Mobile Precinct and PPB Mobile Command Center vehicles pull up to the scene, providing logistical support during the investigation.

“Following the Grand Jury, the Bureau will release additional information, as is standard practice,” Simpson said. “Additionally, as part of the use-of-force review process, the Bureau will conduct an internal review of the entire incident, and the case will go before the Bureau’s Use of Force Review Board.”

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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