PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Few details have yet been released about an officer-involved shooting inside a convenience store on NW Naito in downtown Portland late Tuesday night.
Police were called to the convenience store over “an unwanted person” who allegedly stole food, then laid down on the floor and refused to leave.
Daniel Nevis, who was in the store before the shooting, told KOIN 6 News there was “a homeless dude” spread out in front of the counter.
“I had to make a detour to go around him, get my beer, and I came around the other side and I walked up and I stood over and said, ‘Move!’ And he moved toward the counter and I said, ‘Other way!’ And he moved the other way,” Nevis said. “I just bought my beer and left.”
The man, later identified as Joshua Lyle Merritt, was taken out of the store on a stretcher and taken to a hospital for treatment of what is described as a non-life threatening injury. The 32-year-old was booked into the county jail Tuesday on charges of unlawful use of a weapon and menacing.
Officer Craig Lehman, who has been with PPB for nearly 9 years, is on leave during the investigation, standard procedure in similar incidents.
People in the area who spoke to KOIN 6 News said they’ve seen an increase in homelessness and crime. Two of them said they left the neighborhood because of the ongoing issues.
“When I was living here I had people breaking into my apartment, just jumping over the balcony and just walking right on in,” said John Cocks. “I’m just like I didn’t know what to do with it, you know? Eventually, I just left here.”
Ned Hayes, the CEO of Snowshoe, said he is relocating his business because of how bad it’s gotten in the neighborhood.
“I have seen crime get worse and I have also seen open drug use down here,” Hayes said.
He said the city isn’t providing enough resources for homelessness, drug abuse or mental health issues. Hayes said he sees those issues play out on a daily basis.
“It’s very frustrating to feel like we have an expanding positive business, but the city is not providing services that will make that business profitable right here,” he said.