Sam and Chief Reese: Looking sleepy.
  • Sam and Chief Reese: Looking sleepy.
Mayor Sam Adams and Portland Police Chief Mike Reese spoke at a police press conference this afternoon shedding a tiny sliver more light on last night's crazy house fire/police shootout in East Portland that left one man dead. The chief and mayor took the chance to heap high praise on the SERT team's handling of the situation in the house on SE 106th and Cherry Blossom, saying that the officers' behavior saved more lives from being lost.

It's still not clear whether 46-year-old Craig Boehler died of a gunshot wound, the fire, or what, but the medical examiner's office is slated to perform an autopsy tomorrow.

The saga began last night at 12:40 am when Boehler's stepfather called 911 to report that Boehler was attacking his sister and that he had accidentally shot Boehler in the course of an argument. Also, the stepdad told police that Boehler was under post-prison supervision and had been drinking.

Old mugshot of Craig Boehler
  • KGW
  • Old mugshot of Craig Boehler

The SERT team responded to the house, swept inside and pulled out the stepdaughter and mother while Boehler apparently barricaded himself inside and fired 20-25 rounds at police. Two houses nearby were damaged by gunfire.

Officers also fired several rounds of CS teargas into the house. Amid the gunfire, the house somehow caught on fire and within minutes was fully engulfed in flames. Police evacuated several homes, loading neighbors onto TriMet buses to keep them warm. When the flames died down, fire investigators and police detectives found Boehler's dead body inside. They also found a gun and an inert hand grenade.

Police and a Portland Fire representative would not discuss details of the ongoing investigation into what started the fire at the house.