PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The man accused of causing a violent disturbance and threatening customers inside a downtown Portland Nordstrom Saturday has been charged with several crimes, according to the Portland Police Bureau.
Officers had been dispatched to the department store in the 700 block of SW Broadway after receiving reports of a man stealing items, assaulting people, and breaking things in the store.
When officers confronted the man at SW 9th Avenue and SW Washington Street, he took off running and was eventually surrounded by officers a few blocks away, according to PPB. Police said the suspect then attempted to attack an officer.
“The officer deployed his Conducted Electrical Weapon (CEW or Taser) on [the man], which was effective and allowed the officers to handcuff him without using any additional force,” PPB said in a release. “Paramedics were requested to remove the probes. The officer was not injured.”
The suspect was identified as Tyrone J. Lee, 36. Once in police custody, Lee told officers he swallowed heroin and was suicidal. Thus, officers requested he be taken to a hospital to be evaluated.
Shoppers like Makenzie Blythe were alarmed when Lee started trashing displays and threatening customers.
“Witnessed a gentleman come in and just completely push over the entire entry and just reckless shatter of glass and everything,” she said.
Levi Rachford was also at Nordstrom with his mother when chaos ensued.
“I guess the security told us to get to or follow them up almost to the top of the building essentially into a break room or lunchroom that’s a safe area,” he said.
Levi said staff swiftly got customs to safety.
“Everybody knew the safety precautions and they knew where to get us essentially and then once we were there we just waited until security told us everything was OK and they had removed the man from the building,” he said.
According to a preliminary investigation, Lee had been caught shoplifting and punched a security guard in the face when the guard tried to get the stolen items back. The security guard retrieved the items and retreated back into the store, but Lee followed her.
“He was screaming threats to shoot the security guard, then began destroying property,” PPB said. “He tipped over at least two large metal and glass displays, which caused loud noises that some customers thought were gunshots. Customers and employees began fleeing the store, and one employee fell and suffered minor injuries.”
Police determined no shots were fired nor was there a gun involved in the rampage.
Lee was issued a criminal citation in lieu of custody for Robbery in the Third Degree, Theft in the First Degree, Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, and Escape in the Third Degree, according to PPB.