Wanted outer East Portland gunman busted, after convenience store ruckus

Here’s why authorities say a man, wanted for a February shooting in Hazelwood, was arrested weeks later in Creston-Kenilworth – with an arsenal – after flashing a gun in a Woodstock store …

Before the sun came up on February 1, in outer East Portland, police and medical emergency first responders were called to a shooting incident on East Burnside Street and found a man suffering life-threatening gunshot wounds.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Often, it’s never announced who was involved in a “Shots Fired” incident – like the one we covered that took place on Monday, February 1, at 5:37 a.m. along East Burnside Street, near 105th Avenue in the Hazelwood neighborhood.

“Officers found an adult male who had been shot; the victim was transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries,” said Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Public Information Officer Derek Carmon about that incident. He added that the suspect’s identity in this shooting hadn’t yet been revealed by PPB Detective Division investigators, who actively working on the case.

That was one of several stories in that week’s “compendium of shootings” article.

This is the Plaid Pantry store in the Woodstock neighborhood where, weeks after the Hazelwood shooting, a suspect brandished a gun at the clerk.

But, fast-forward to March 10, when officers were dispatched to a Plaid Pantry store on SE Woodstock Boulevard at 42nd Avenue to look into a disturbance at the store, at 11:19 p.m.

Arriving officers learned from a store employee that someone had demanded to microwave food inside the business, which is against the store policy. During the incident, the suspect allegedly pulled out a gun and pointed it at the employee. A description of the vehicle and the suspect were provided to investigators.

Here, in the parking lot of Creston Park, officers found the vehicle and the suspect, both of which matched the description of the person who threatened the Woodstock store clerk just hours before.

At 12:51 a.m. on March 11, officers were dispatched for a “Welfare Check—Priority”, 1½ miles north of the convenience store, in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood. It took them to a vehicle stopped near Creston Park, where the driver was reported by residents to be acting suspiciously.

Observing that the driver and vehicle matched the descriptions given by the Plaid Pantry clerk in Woodstock, officers detained 32-year-old Cole Tyler Miller.

Miller was subsequently booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) at 11:02 a.m. on March 11, on a variety of charges – including the Misdemeanor of Menacing, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm, which is a Felony charge.

Why Felony charges of Attempted Murder, Assault in the First Degree, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon were then added to Miller’s charges went unexplained until March 12. That’s when Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced Miller had been charged with the Hazelwood attempted murder and assault.

Facing numerous felony charges is 32-year-old Cole Tyler Miller. MCDC booking photo

“It was Cole Miller who shot me”
According to court documents, the survivor of the Hazelwood shooting said, “… in case I die, I want someone to know that it was Cole Miller who shot me.” The shooting victim learned at the hospital that the bullet had lodged near or in his spine, and that doctors were unable safely to remove it.

During the investigation, court papers also said, detectives learned that Miller and the shooting victim were known to each other, and had been involved in a dispute.

Additionally, Miller was later identified as the suspect in the Woodstock store disturbance on March 11.

Suspect found with an arsenal of weapons
During a search of Miller’s vehicle in the wee hours of March 13, officers were shocked to find five AR-15 rifles, a Glock 17 handgun, two Glock 43 handguns, and a loaded .45 caliber handgun. They also found a “ghost-gun” (an assembled firearm that lacks serial numbers) resembling a Glock 19 pistol, in addition to other gun paraphernalia, including a rifle scope.

According to court records, Miller is a convicted felon, and therefore is prohibited from being in possession of a firearm, let alone ten.

Although some charges were dropped, Miller is currently charged with one count of Attempted Murder in the Second Degree with a Firearm, one count of Assault in the First Degree with a Firearm, two counts of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm with a Firearm Enhancement, and two counts of Unlawful Use of a Weapon with a Firearm.

Currently Miller is still lodged in the MCDC in lieu of $515,000 combined bail.

As Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office Communications Director Brent Weisberg points out, “A charging document is only an accusation of a crime; Miller is innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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