Portland hostage suspect arrested 4 times in last month

Crime

The suspect's mother says her son has been dealing with mental illness

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The man accused of holding a woman hostage at knife-point and threatening police made his first court appearance Monday.

Christopher Hall, 38, was arrested Sunday in Northwest Portland. Officers were originally called out to Northwest 19th Avenue on a report of a man trying to break into a church.

The suspect, carrying a heavy chain and padlock, ran from officers. At one point, he turned around and swung the chain at them, police said. The caught up with him near a McDonalds at West Burnside Street and Northwest 18th Avenue. Witnesses said the suspect grabbed a woman and threatened her with a knife to use her as a shield against police.

Portland Police said they convinced the man to drop the knife but he tried to run away again. Witnesses said a Good Samaritan saw what was happening and grabbed the suspect. Then officers tased and finally arrested the suspect.

Hall has been arrested once a week for the past month on a slew of charges ranging from burglary and criminal mischief to menacing and assault.

Hall’s mother, Joy Wallace, spoke with KOIN 6 over the phone, saying Hall has struggled with mental illness that’s taken a dark turn in recent years.

“It’s not just about him,” she said. “Something is really wrong with this system.”

Wallace explained she’s not sure of the specifics of her son’s diagnosis, but she says he stopped taking prescribed medication.

She says she has struggled with getting and giving information to police and courts, because it can’t readily be shared due to patient privacy concerns. 

“They can’t give us information. He’s an adult, not a minor,” Wallace said. “They won’t listen, we have done it over, and over, and over, numerous times.  He’s spiraled down when he’s stopped medication.”

She said she hopes to someday be able to apologize to the victim in Sunday’s incident.  She wants to share their family’s struggles for other who may be dealing with similar concerns. 

“We’re never going to find the mysteries of how to heal them if we keep holding mental health a secret.” 

Hall is facing attempted aggravated murder charges, 1st-degree kidnapping, unlawful use of a weapon, resisting arrest, menacing, theft and criminal trespass in relation to his latest arrest.

He is being interviewed to determine whether he can be released, and he is being held on $264,000 bond.

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