The Multnomah County District Attorney's office has charged an Oregon City man with murder, among other crimes, for driving his car into pedestrians and bicyclists in a rampage across Southeast Portland Monday.
Paul Rivas, 64, faces a total of 14 charges for killing one woman and injuring six others with his Honda Element in an area spanning SE Stark and SE Belmont, between Laurelhurst Park and SE 17th. Along with second-degree murder, Rivas is charged with seven counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver and six counts of assault in the second degree.
Rivas was arrested Monday afternoon, after crashing his car and attempting to leave the scene on foot—only to be stopped and detained by a group of neighbors. In the court's arrest affidavit, witnesses describe Rivas hitting each victim without decelerating and then speeding away, never attempting to stop and render aid. That includes 77-year-old Jean Gerich, who Rivas ran over twice, dragging her under the vehicle as he sped off. Gerich died from her injuries Monday.
Rivas pled not guilty to all charges Monday afternoon.
In a "lengthy interview" with Portland Police Bureau (PPB) detectives Tuesday, which is cited in the affidavit, Rivas said that his car was "having brake problems" and that he had been "searching the area for an open auto repair shop" at the time.
The affidavit goes on: "At other times, Rivas suggested that the injuries to victims could have been inflicted by another, similar looking, Honda Element that wasn't driven by him."
During the interview, Rivas did admit to hitting at least one bicyclist with his car, but claimed that it was the result of an "emergency maneuver" made to avoid a more serious collision with oncoming traffic.
Police still have yet to make public any motive for Rivas' actions Monday. In a Tuesday press statement, however, PPB said officers don't believe it was an act of terrorism or a bias crime.
In arrest documents, Rivas told officers that he has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and that he doesn't drink alcohol or use drugs. According to court documents obtained by the Oregonian, Rivas was arrested in 2018 for trying to film under the skirt of a woman in line at a post office in Vancouver, Washington. He was convicted for second-degree voyuerism by Clark County in 2019.
Rivas is being held in Multnomah County Detention Center without bail. His next court hearing is scheduled for February 4.