Portland police this morning are investigating an unusual officer-involved shooting, saying a man was found dead in a Southeast Portland home ravaged "extensively" by flames that erupted during a standoff and shootout with officers.
The man was identified as 46-year-old Craig Boehler. Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said fire investigators were still combing the house on the 11000 block of SE 106th to make sure it was structurally sound enough for detectives to enter. And that because of that delay, he added, officers still don't know what killed Boehler— the fire, the shots fired by police, a suicide shot, or something else.
Fire investigators also are working to divine the cause of the fire, first noticed in the rear of the house, including the possibility that the shootout may have sparked it. Simpson said it might take the rest of the day to secure the house and find evidence for an investigation.
Police were called to the home about 12:40 am amid a report of a domestic disturbance. When officers arrived, they found Boehler had been arguing with, and firing at, his father and adult sister. Cops managed to get the father and sister out of the home safely, but Boehler stayed inside and fired at officers. The bureau's version of the SWAT team was called in, and one of those officers fired back at Boehler as the shootout continued.
Simpson said police do not yet know what caused the argument or whether Boehler had been struggling with mental illness.
He also said the cold weather may affect the investigation's pace. Detectives and medical examiner personnel who normally would be helping probe the shootout also were called this morning to Waterfront Park, where a man was found dead, possibly from exposure.