An already bloody week continues, with the Portland area's third officer-involved shooting in as many days—this time on the Springwater Corridor.
Portland police killed a man they say was menacing two officers with a crowbar this morning, after the man was confronted about allegedly assaulting another person around 6 a.m. According to Portland Police Sergeant Pete Simpson, that assault took place near SE 104th and Foster, a stretch of road that closely parallels the Springwater. Two East Precinct officers responded, and found the suspect a short distance away on the recreational trail.
Simpson says the man began swinging a crowbar "without provocation." As the officers backed up, "attempting to disengage," Simpson says one of them tripped and fell and the suspect kept coming. Cops aren't yet saying which officer fired the fatal shot or shots. Nor can they say who the dead suspect was, where he was shot, or how many times.There were multiple witnesses, Simpson said.
Mayor Charlie Hales and Police Chief Mike Reese were on site earlier this morning, and police swarmed. Both the Springwater Corridor and a stretch of SE Foster have been closed for hours.
Simpson didn't know, as of a 9:20 a.m. briefing, whether the dead man was living off the Springwater, which is popular for homeless campsites. Last week, the Mercury looked at recent efforts by Portland Parks and Recreation to sweep camps on a stretch of the Springwater just west of this morning's incident.
Obviously the details are scant right now—including what types of "less-lethal" weapons the cops had at their disposal—but what we know of the incident seems similar to the death of Jack Dale Collins. In April 2010, Collins, who was homeless, had been cutting himself in a Washington Park restroom and yelling at park visitors. When Officer Jason Walters arrived, Collins began walking toward the officer with his
six-inch one-inch X-Acto-style knife out. Walters, backing up, ran into a "physical obstruction" as Collins advanced. The officer fired two shots.
This has been an insane week for police shootings. Yesterday, Simpson announced Milwaukie cops had killed an "uncooperative" motorist inside Portland city limits, after a brief car chase. Details of that incident are still unclear. And school resource officers shot at the 15-year-old Reynolds High School shooter on Tuesday, apparently injuring him before he took his own life in one of the school's bathrooms.
"The headlines over the past three days have been exhausting for people," Simpson said this morning. He said a string of situations like Portland's seen drives officers' stress "through the roof."
Despite this morning's violence, Simpson stresses the Springwater Corridor isn't overly concerning for police.
"The reality is, it's pretty safe for most people," he said.