PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The man who was shot to death inside the Portland City Team Ministries Shelter in Southeast Portland on Saturday had a lengthy criminal record — beginning nearly 3 decades ago.
Forty-eight-year-old John Elifritz was first arrested, according to court documents, in 1991, but the most notable arrest — the one that sent him to prison for a year — occurred several years later.
In 1994, Clackamas County arrested several men, including Elifritz, wanted for being a part of an area robbery ring. The men broke into upscale homes and a jewelry store — making off with $60,000 in jewelry.
Elifritz was eventually arrested after a high-speed chase from Hood River to Portland. However, court documents show Elifritz was only charged with possession of a stolen car and unauthorized use of a vehicle. He was sentenced to a year in jail.
“The number one important message to the community is we feel we’ve diffused the situation and we feel comfortable you are not going to have these masked, armed desperados coming into your home,” Jim Strovink, PIO with Clackamas County Sheriff’s office, said at the time.
Now, 27 years later, Elifritz’s name is in the headlines again after he died in an officer-involved shooting on April 7. John Elifritz was shot after he burst into the shelter. Witnesses said he had a knife and threatened people before he started to cut and stab himself.
Part of the shooting was caught on camera. Some witnesses said police shouldn’t have used deadly force while others say they did what they had to do.
Below are a list of the 7 officers and one deputy involved in the shooting. They’re currently on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues.
Officer Richard Bailey
Officer Justin Damerville
Officer Kameron Fender
Officer Alexandru Martiniuc
Officer Bradley Nutting
Officer Chad Phifer
Officer Andrew Polas
Deputy Aaron Sieczkowski