Stabbing attack in home chokes off SE Division St. during morning rush

Find out the result of this early morning attack – and why the Portland Police Bureau’s SERT team came out in force to deal with a knife-wielding aggressor …

SE Division Street, near Warner Pacific College, just west of SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, was closed down throughout the rush hour, December 22nd, while police coaxed an alleged knifeman from a nearby residence. Those displaced by the action were kept warm in the TriMet bus seen on the right.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For reasons that remain unclear, one man stabbed another with a knife at what has been described as a “group home” in the 7800 Block of SE Sherman Street, just a block north of SE Division Street, at 3:30 a.m. on December 22.

“When officers arrived,” Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Lt. Mary Wheat told us, “they found 50-year-old Lawrence Ornelas in the area of the residence suffering from a stab wound. Ornelas was immediately transported to OHSU Hospital where he was treated for his injuries. He is expected to survive.”

The attention of the officers turned to the house, as they looked for the perpetrator. “Officers believed the suspect involved in this incident was still inside the residence. He refused to come out,” Wheat said.

When it became clear the standoff wasn’t moving toward resolution, officers requested activation of the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT). Soon, SE Division Street was shut down, and was lined with the Mobile Precinct truck, SERT vans, support vehicles, and other police vehicles.

Neighbors with whom we spoke questioned the massive turnout brought by a SERT activation. “Whenever we have some who is possibly armed, and inside a building – and we are unable to contact them or get them to come out, officers call for the SERT Team,” Wheat explained. “More important than the armed officers, in this case, were our Crisis Negotiators, who work to make contact and create a peaceful resolution to the situation.”

After hours of entreaty went unheeded, SERT crewmembers fired tear gas into the residence, Wheat said. “At approximately 8:45 a.m., 48-year-old Michael Wisbey came out of the residence and surrendered to SERT team members. Wisbey was not injured during the standoff with police.”

Members of SERT’s Crisis Negotiation Team fail to coax the man alleged to have stabbed his roommate at a group home – he cooperated after being tear gassed.

Motive for attack still unclear
Portland Police Assault Detectives were called to the scene to investigate this incident, Wheat told us after the incident. “Detectives were able to determine that a disagreement occurred between Wisbey and his two roommates, one of which was Ornelas. This disagreement eventually ended with Wisbey allegedly stabbing Ornelas.”
Wisbey is being charged with Assault in the Second Degree and is currently at an area hospital, Wheat said.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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