7/1/2023 News Roundup


<<A man fatally shot by police after firing at them in a Vancouver Safeway parking lot in May was carrying a 9mm handgun and a handwritten robbery note and had a wig, burglary tools and a pipe bomb in his car, investigators said Friday.

James Wilson, 43, had active warrants for his arrest and was suspected of being involved in two armed robberies and a commercial burglary in Vancouver between May 20 and May 29, according to a statement released by the Lower Columbia Major Crimes.

Investigators found the robbery note and semiautomatic pistol in Wilson’s possession. The gun had five rounds in the magazine but none in the chamber and it was registered to a person in another state, they said.

Investigators also executed a search warrant on Wilson’s car where they found a second robbery note along with the wig, tools and bomb. The Portland Metro Bomb Squad disabled the device, the statement said.

Vancouver police and Clark County sheriff’s deputies attempted to arrest Wilson May 30 after seeing him enter the Safeway in the 6700 block of East Mill Plain Boulevard. The agencies had been told Wilson was armed and had made statements that he would “shoot police rather than be taken into custody,” the statement said.

When Wilson exited the Safeway, officers standing near his car ordered him to stop, but Wilson ran west.

Video footage from nearby surveillance cameras and police body-worn cameras shows Wilson reaching toward his back and officers calling out that he had a gun. Wilson is seen in the video pointing a gun at a police officer with his index finger in the trigger well of the pistol, investigators said.

A magnified and slowed-down version of one officer’s body camera video shows Wilson firing at least one shot and the officer firing multiple rounds back as Wilson continued to run away before dropping to the pavement.

The three police officers and one sheriff’s deputy who shot Wilson told investigators they fired because Wilson “presented an imminent deadly threat,” the statement said.

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office identified the officers and deputy who fired as Vancouver police officers Colton Price, Brandon Riedel and Aaron Yoder and Clark County sheriff’s detective Zach Nielsen.

Wilson died at the scene. The Clark County medical examiner determined his cause of death was from multiple gunshot wounds.

The Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team said the four officers fired 20 rounds, six of which struck Wilson.>>


<<Five years after the shooting death of Jason Washington by Portland State University campus police, community members continue to call on PSU leadership for changes to public safety practices and more accountability.

Roughly 50 people attended an unveiling ceremony at PSU’s downtown campus Thursday evening for a plaque dedicated to Washington, a Black man who campus police shot and killed in 2018 while he tried to break up a fight at a bar near campus.>>

<<Only a life-size replica of the plaque, which marks the location and details of Washington’s death, was unveiled Thursday, but members of PSU’s Jason Erik Washington Art Committee said the real plaque will be installed later this summer. Organizers said the plaque serves as an “accountability marker.”>>

<<Numerous calls for changes to public safety measures followed Washington’s death, coming from PSU students, employees, Washington’s family and other people in the wider community.

PSU announced that it would roll out unarmed campus security patrols in the fall of 2021, though some officers remained armed, with the approval of campus safety leadership.

Earlier this year, Willie Haliburton, chief of PSU’s campus safety office, made the policy change to let campus officers carry firearms at their own discretion during patrols. Multiple groups on campus expressed disappointment, including the university’s faculty union, as well as Disarm PSU — a group of campus community members that has been urging for the disarmament of campus officers for about a decade.>>

<<The university hasn’t significantly changed its policy around arming officers since then, according to PSU spokesperson Christina Williams. But there have been other efforts in the works to make campus safety procedures more transparent, Williams said.>>



<<A suspect in a break-in shot a Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy and a new recruit in training Friday morning in an industrial area along the Springwater Corridor Trail at its boundary with Southeast Portland, investigators said.

One deputy was shot in his ballistic vest and suffered a ricochet wound that fractured his pelvis, said Sheriff Angela Brandenburg. He was released after being treated at OHSU Hospital’s trauma center. The other deputy, who was struck in the upper left arm, is expected to released before the weekend, she said.>>

<<The deputies were trying to detain two men for questioning about 7 a.m. along Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard near 70th Avenue in unincorporated Clackamas County when one of the burglary suspects whipped out a pistol and opened fire, Brandenburg said.

At least one deputy returned fire, but did not hit either of the men, Brandenburg said. The two suspects were apprehended a few minutes later by other deputies, according to Clackamas County Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Owen.

The men — Portland residents Tyler J. Scott, 32, and Joseph R. Shaffer, 46 — are now in custody and will likely be arraigned Monday, Owen said.

Scott, the alleged gunman, is being held without bail on two counts of attempted aggravated murder, according to the sheriff’s office and booking records. He has convictions in Oregon dating back to 2007 for robbery, felony escape, unlawful use of a weapon and domestic violence assault. Shaffer’s bail was set at $20,000 on theft, burglary and trespassing charges, records show.>>

<<OHSU Associate Chief Medical Officer David Zonies said the deputy struck in the arm is in “good condition” and that the deputy wounded in the pelvis and flank narrowly escaped greater injury.>>

<<The Clackamas County Major Crimes Team is in charge of the investigation into the shooting. Various law enforcement agencies responded to the scene, including the local FBI.>>


<<Two deputies were shot Friday morning in Clackamas County while responding to a burglary call, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) reported. The deputies were taken to the hospital and are expected to survive, according to authorities, and one of the deputies has since been released.

According to a statement from the Clackamas County District Attorney’s office, the shooting happened around 7 a.m. Friday morning near Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard and Southeast 70th Avenue in the Southgate neighborhood, about four miles north of Clackamas.

The deputies were responding to the burglary call and arrived to find two men at the scene. When the deputies tried to detain the two suspects for questioning, the DA’s office said, one of the men drew a handgun and opened fire.

Both deputies were injured by gunfire and at least one of them returned fire, but none of the shots hit the suspects. Other responding deputies arrested the suspects a few minutes later, the DA’s office said.

Clackamas County Sheriff Angela Brandenburg said one of the deputies was shot in the arm, and the other was shot in the vest and abdomen, according to Brandenburg. The sheriff said one of the deputies was released from the hospital and the other deputy is expected to be released within the next few hours.

The DA’s office identified they two suspects as Tyler J. Scott, 32, and Joseph R. Shaffer, 46, both from Southeast Portland. They were each booked into the Clackamas County Jail and are expected to make their first court appearances Monday.>>


<< Two Clackamas County deputies have been hospitalized after being shot while responding to a burglary call Friday morning, according to authorities, who said two suspects are in custody.

The shooting happened near Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard and Southeast Bell Avenue as the deputies responded to the burglary just after 7 a.m., officials say. Deputies arrived to find two men at the scene — but when they attempted to detain them for questioning, one of the suspects allegedly pulled out a pistol and opened fire.

Officials say one deputy was shot in the arm and another was shot in the abdomen. According to Sheriff Angela Brandenburg, at least one deputy fired back, but the suspects were not hit.

“The injury, though it did fracture his pelvis, was just millimeters away from his internal organs, which would have led to a very [different] path, requiring emergency surgery and potentially a different outcome,” said Dr. Davis Zonies, an associate chief medical officer and trauma surgeon at OHSU.>>

<<Additional deputies were able to arrest both suspects shortly after, who have been identified by the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office as 32-year-old Tyler Scott and 46-year-old Joseph Shaffer.

Both suspects were sent to the Clackamas County Jail, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Chris Owen, who says they will likely be charged and arraigned on Monday.

Meanwhile, the wounded deputies were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. One has since been released, and the other is expected to be released Friday evening, officials say.>>


<<Two Clackamas County deputies are recovering from gunshot wounds suffered as they were responding to a burglary call Friday morning.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responded to the call just after 7 a.m. and an officer-involved shooting occurred near Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard and Southeast Bell Avenue.

The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responded to a burglary call just after 7 a.m. and an officer-involved shooting occurred near Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard and Southeast Bell Avenue.

According to a Friday afternoon release, the deputies found two men at the scene and while attempting to arrest them, one suspect drew a pistol and began firing. Both deputies were hit and one returned fire, however, neither suspect was hit. According to the Clackamas County Sheriff Angela Brandenburg, one deputy was struck in the arm and the other deputy was stuck in their ballistic vest and abdomen.>>

<<Both suspects, identified as 32-year-old Tyler J. Scott of SE Portland and 46-year-old Joseph R. Shaffer of SE Portland, were taken into custody by additional responding deputies minutes later.

Scott and Shaffer are currently lodged in Clackamas County Jail and are expected to be charged and arraigned Monday.>>

<<A woman who lives in the area says her home was hit in the crossfire.

Kaylee Middleton says she heard two loud bangs. Then she realized her 11-year-old son was sleeping near a window that had been shattered by bullets which narrowly missed him.>>

<<Both injured deputies were taken to OHSU for treatment. They are expected to live, Clackamas County District Attorney confirms.>>



<<During PSR’s second year, the program expanded citywide. Program workers responded to more than 7,400 calls, compared with around 1,200 in the first year. The report show an average response time of about 30 minutes to an incident, and nearly 70% of all calls involved people living on the street.

Researchers noted some key findings: a 3.5% reduction in total calls traditionally responded to by police, and a 19% reduction in police response on non-emergency welfare checks and dispatches coded as “unwanted persons” calls. This, according to Dr. Greg Townley, remains the program’s ultimate goal.

“The primary function of Portland Street Response is that first response,” he said. “It’s not meant to be the answer to homelessness in the city. It’s not meant to be the answer to all the gaps we have in mental healthcare. It’s meant to divert low level calls from other first responders to free them up to focus on higher priority issues, and make sure that community member receives the care they need.”

The PSU evaluation recommended increasing hours, staff, and resources — plus renewing the focus on the original mission.

“When [staff] are asked to do things that are outside of that scope, if there is a lack of program success, it’s not the result of the way the program is designed, but rather the way the program is implemented,” Townley said. “This needs to be a program in which people are able to voluntarily use services in a flexible way that’s designed in line with their needs.

“So when you start to talk about the team having a presence in houseless sweeps … or when you take away the critical life saving resources in terms of foods and tents and tarps and blankets and clothing items — when you take those away, you constrain the team’s ability to do the work that the program was designed to have them do.”>>

<<Townley said he believes the program now lacks a champion at the leadership level, a necessary part in future success of PSR. Gonzalez’s predecessor, Jo Ann Hardesty, used to be that champion.>


<<A 22-year-old man died inside his cell at the Oregon State Correctional Institution in Salem Thursday night.

Prison staff performed CPR on Grayson Painter until paramedics arrived.

Painter died at 7:30 p.m. inside his cell, said Betty Bernt, an Oregon Department of Corrections spokesperson.

The Oregon State Police’s Medical Examiner will determine Painter’s cause of death, Bernt said.

Painter was arrested in May; a Hillsboro police officer said he appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine when officers attempted to arrest him on a warrant May 9, according to court records.

Painter was sentenced May 23 to two years in prison in Washington County Circuit Court for a charge of assaulting a public-safety officer.

Painter is the second young person to die in Oregon custody in recent weeks.

Donovan Anthony Wood, 26, died May 2 at Multnomah County’s Inverness Jail after being found unresponsive in his cell at the Northeast Portland facility.

The Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating and will determine Wood’s cause of death. A toxicology test was ordered that could take up to eight months to complete, according to Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Chris Liedle.

Wood was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on Dec. 20 after allegedly attacking a man with a pick ax, trying to slit his own throat and setting a fire at his sister’s Northwest Portland home.>>



<<The Oregon Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Unit released an update on the work of the DOJ’s statewide Bias Response Hotline today via the annual Criminal Justice Commission report.

Every year the CIC releases a report on July 1 detailing hate and bias around the state, including reports through the Hotline, investigations from all Oregon law enforcement agencies, district attorney’s office prosecutions, court findings and Oregon Department of Corrections. >>

<<The new CIC report found an increase of 178% bias-motivated reports to the Hotline since 2020 when the hotline opened. The increase may in part reflect the increased effective research according to the Office of the Attorney General. >>

<<The reports of bias crimes and incidents in 2022 increased to 2,534 reports. The hotline has seen an increase each year since it’s opening in January 2020. >>

<<Anti-Black/African American bias continued to be the largest category of bias-motivated reports in 2022, making up nearly 1 in 4 reports submitted.

Religious-motivated reports increased each year, from 66 in 2020 to 251 in 2022. The leading contributor in this category was antisemitic/anti-Jewish bias, making up 75% of all religious-motivated reports.

Anti-LGBTQ+ reports also increased. Gender-identity bias based reports rose 639% since 2020 and anti-sexual orientation bias reports rose 430% since 2020. >>

<<Anti-Asian bias, while not as high as during the peak of the Coronavirus Pandemic, remained high. Similarly, anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and nationwide legislative efforts combined with antisemitic rhetoric and anti-immigrant rhetoric are all fueling increases in calls to the Bias Response Hotline, according to the Attorney General’s office.

Another area of growth in extremist-rhetoric-driven bias is in Oregon schools, where reports totaled just 36 crimes and incidents reported in 2020 and jumped to 408 school-based reports in 2022.>>


<<A man has been arrested in Multnomah County for a hate crime involving attacking two naked cyclists on June 3.

Nine naked bikers were cycling near Northwest 19th Avenue and Flanders Street when a man unknown to them swung at the cyclists with a metal pole, hitting two of them in the back. The attacker then shouted a homophobic slur at the two victims, one of them later clarified that they are gay, and the attacker was arrested by police.

The man was identified has 39-year-old Robert E. Houchins, who has no listed address. He faces charges including second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and first-degree bias crime, the legal term for a hate crime.

Houchins has a record of at least 28 convictions in his past including aggravated sex abuse, arson and theft, and has failed to appear in court roughly 45 times in prior occasions. He’s currently being held in Multnomah County’s Inverness Jail.>>



<<Marion County has announced the 41st sheriff in Nicholas (Nick) Hunter.

Moving to Marion County in 1995 to attend Willamette University, Sheriff Hunter has long called Marion County home. He started his career volunteering as a Reserve Deputy for the Enforcement Division while also working as a Facility Security Aide for the Marion County Jail, and from there his work has spanned decades.

Sheriff Hunter earned certification as a Drug Recognition Expert, became a member of Marion County’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, and was assigned to oversee the agency’s use of force program. In 2012 he was promoted to patrol sergeant and became lieutenant in 2015. In 2016, Sheriff Hunter was appointed the role of Commander of Marion Count SWAT, and his experience from this includes serving as the incident commander for multiple critical incidents, to including the massive fire evacuation of the Santiam Canyon in 2020.

Sheriff Hunter has an Executive Certification from the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards & Training and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Willamette University and wants to share his passion for education and teaching with the community and fellow Sherriff’s Office employees.

He currently resides in Sublimity with his wife and two children.>>



<<Carrasco, 25, has been taking classes at Portland State for several semesters, paying what she can of the $100 flat fee the university has charged inmates for bachelor’s degree classes. Finding the funds can be a struggle for inmates who work prison jobs that typically pay less than $100 a month, Carrasco said.

Portland State says it hasn’t turned away a student who can’t pay. But starting July 1, Carrasco and more than 750,000 other incarcerated Americans regained access to a new funding source: Pell Grants, federal need-based scholarships that prisoners have been blocked from accessing for the last three decades.

Advocates hope the grants will prompt a resurgence in higher education inside Oregon’s prisons. Not only does the money ease a financial barrier for incarcerated students, most of whom will likely qualify for the grant, it also helps incentivize colleges to offer courses since they can now earn federal dollars from student aid. Prison officials are on board to offer in-person classes at every facility.>>

<<Still, obstacles remain. Applying for the Pell funding, which does not have to be repaid, can be a burden for inmates who generally can’t receive emails or fill out the financial aid forms online. Incarcerated students can only use the grant for courses from colleges approved by the federal government, and only a handful of Oregon’s colleges and one university currently plan to go through that arduous process. They likely won’t be approved to accept Pell Grants until fall or winter terms.>>

<<And some inmates and advocates say that truly expanding access to college behind bars will take more prison staffing and classroom space and a dedication to higher education as a priority instead of a luxury.

“I would argue that the (Department of Corrections) has always treated it as a privilege,” Simpkins said. “It can be weaponized inside and used as a carrot or a stick.”>>

<<Portland State is currently the only four-year university that will be using Pell Grants to offer a bachelor’s degree pathway inside prisons.>>

<<Inmates tell The Oregonian/OregonLive they’re frustrated that classes get canceled when problems arise elsewhere in prison and the facility lacks the staff to supervise education. They compete with religious services for space inside the prison and can struggle to get permission to leave mandatory jobs to attend class.>>


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