DeNorris Laron McClendon, 27, was treated at a Portland hospital and released into custody. He's since been booked into jail, police have announced, and faces 12 counts of menacing, two counts of reckless endangerment, and two counts of second-degree disorderly conduct in connection with today's confrontation. He'll be arraigned in the morning.
Several people called police this morning to complain McClendon was stalking up and down an Interstate 84 on-ramp and maybe threatening to carjack them, according to police. McClendon eventually faced responding officers from North Precinct, police said, ran through freeway traffic to get away from them, and was shot after he reportedly pointed what looked like a gun at another of the officers. He was arrested a couple of blocks away after tactical officers and negotiators approached him in an armored vehicle.
Police are actively looking to add to the pile of charges, asking anyone else who encountered McClenodon to phone detectives. Two TV stations have reported McClendon was in a mental health crisis, and the O, citing a source, says he was the subject of a mental health hold.
A quick Internet search also turns up the fact that this isn't McClendon's first prominent run-in with Portland officers. When he was 15, in September 2002, an officer Tasered him in his own home—in a case that was appealed to the city's Citizen Review Committee.
McClendon's mother had called 911 after his brother had come home beaten up, and after a dispatcher told them to prepare for a trip to the hospital, McClendon had gone downstairs to help to secure the house. McClendon had taken a pipe he meant to place in the track of a sliding patio door, his family said, except that police had already come to the house and went in without knocking.
An officer who'd come in with his gun drawn ordered McClendon to drop the pipe, twice, before a confused McClendon finally listened. That was when the officer zapped him—only to be cleared after telling his superiors that McClendon was much bigger than he actually was and also that the pipe was more than twice as big as it actually was.
The Portland Alliance covered the case in 2004:
Suddenly, he felt excruciating pain as Officer Ware fired the Taser. Two barbs entered the boy’s bare torso, allowing 50,000 volts of electricity to travel through wires attached to the Taser. He begged the officer to stop and tried to pull the barbs out, burning his fingers in the process. Jones and her sons claimed that they heard the officer pull the trigger more than once (each trigger pull results in a 5 second pulse of electricity.) The ambulance originally designated to take his wounded brother to the hospital ended up taking DeNorris there in order to cut the barbs out of his skin.
Officer Ware’s explanation for firing the Taser at the youth in his home contradicted Jones and DeNorris’s account. Ware described how he initially responded to a call to break up a fight amongst “kids.” No one was at the fight location except a witness who said he saw one of the kids —who was injured — walk off in a certain direction. In the meantime, Ware heard over the car’s radio that the mother of a victim injured in a fight called 911 for medical help.
Ware then arrived at the home of Andria Jones, where the front door was open. Ware knocked and announced his presence more than once with no response. Claiming that he heard yelling and screaming inside, Ware entered the home under the Bureau’s “community caretaking” policy, which allows officers to go inside residences without owner permission to render assistance, including first aid.
Ware claimed that DeNorris walked past him, about five feet away, and picked up a metal bar to “cock” it over his head while turning around to face and cuss at the officer. Ware pulled out his Taser and ordered the boy to drop the bar. The boy did so on Ware’s second command; however, Ware claimed the boy then came towards him with his fists raised in a threatening manner, a “fact” the youth disputes. Because Ware believed his safety was threatened by DeNorris, he subsequently charged the boy with menacing, interfering with a peace officer, and disorderly conduct - all of which the District Attorney dismissed.
Those charges are similar to what McClendon faces now. McClendon, in 2004, was described by his mother as a lifelong "special needs" child. The Tasering, his mother said at the time, set him back greatly.
After the hearing, Jones stated that her son has been a “special needs” child all of his life. After being tasered in his own home, his doctor found that DeNorris’s emotional state regressed about 75%. DeNorris cringed for months whenever he saw a police car and continues to have nightmares over the incident. Jones said that for a while immediately after the incident, her son started cutting himself - something he had never done prior to being shot with the Taser.
McClendon has had other troubles with the law over the years. But KOIN has reported, citing family, that McClendon had a breakdown this summer after the death of Jones, his mother. The Portland Observer published her obituary in July.
UPDATE 1:12 PM: Chief Mike Reese spoke during a brief news conference and said the man shot by police is expected to survive his injuries. Police also say the man was trying to carjack various drivers and had threatened several people with something that looked like a gun.
According to KGW, Reese confirmed reports the man, while walking along Interstate 84, had pointed the presumed weapon at the officers who arrived to investigate all those calls, with one of them firing and apparently hitting the man. The man ran off but collapsed a couple of blocks away. Police say he was telling officers he wanted them to kill him. It's not yet been determined if he was waving a real handgun... or a replica.
KPTV has since joined KOIN in reporting that the man's family is saying he was in a mental health crisis.
The Oregonian is reporting that some 100 officers showed up and that Interstate 84 will remain closed for several more hours because it's now part of a crime scene. The closure's in both directions, and the detour directions are like so:
• Eastbound traffic will be directed to southbound Interstate 205
• Westbound traffic is being dumped onto NE 121st
The full police account is here. The police statement says tactical officers and negotiators used an armored vehicle to get close to the man. It also says the officer who fired at the man will be identified tomorrow.
UPDATE 12:13 PM: Whatever's gone on, it's no longer active. "The scene is now safe," police officials said in an email, promising an update in a few minutes. Still no ETA, it seems, on when the highway might reopen.
KOIN, still citing sources ahead of an official police statement, now says the man sought by police has "been detained and required medical attention."
They've also tweeted the following, saying the man shot was in a mental health crisis. They've since sourced that to the man's uncle.
BREAKING: Family of the suspect from the I-84 incident say he was in "mental health crisis." http://t.co/GXWITc7Xva pic.twitter.com/VAYL9RCG21
— Brent Weisberg (@BrentKOIN) September 1, 2014
Portland police have shut down Interstate 84 in East Portland—swarming around NE 107th and Fremont and sending in tactical officers and crisis negotiators—while they try to contact a "suspect" in what's been officially called an ongoing tactical incident with "shots fired.
The Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and the Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) are responding to assist North Precinct officers in the 11200 block of Northeast Fremont Street on an active, ongoing tactical incident with shots fired.
Residents along this section of Fremont are asked to shelter-in-place unless directed otherwise by police at the scene.
The suspect in the incident is contained and officers are attempting to communicate with him.
No additional information can be confirmed or released at this time.
But least one media outlet, citing a "law enforcement source," is reporting the incident as a police shooting. KOIN says a man believed to be armed with a handgun, walking along the highway, and suspected in a carjacking was fired at by police officers after he reportedly waved what looked like a weapon at them. KGW has posted a tweet claiming that Police Chief Mike Reese has shown up, which would follow protocol if police fired their weapons.
Just before 10 a.m., emergency dispatchers received multiple reports of a man armed with a gun in the area of NE 122nd and I-84, a law enforcement source told KOIN 6 News.
Responding officers saw the man, who was seen running on I-84, and the railroad tracks adjacent to it. The suspect may have tried to carjack a vehicle, the law enforcement source said, but the driver was able to get out of the way.
The suspect kept running onto NE Fremont, then toward NE 112th. He pointed his weapon at the officers, who fired at him, the law enforcement source said.
KATU's also reported that people had taken to social media this morning and posted about a man walking along the freeway with a large gun.
It's unclear if anyone's been injured or worse at this point. KOIN's saying no officers have been injured. The last definitive police statement, posted above, says only that a suspect was contained. Police officials also have asked media outlets not to broadcast tactical locations and movements, suggesting whatever's going is far from over yet.
This is all happening not so far from a motel near NE 117th and Sandy that tactical officers had visited yesterday while checking on reports of a kidnapping.