Witness: Portland cops slowly respond to unconscious people with guns

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The Portland Police Bureau said a crowd harrassed the officers trying to safely aid two people in Northeast Portland

Firearm recovered from a car in Northeast Portland on May 18, 2021 (PPB)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Police recovered two guns from a car where two people had passed out in Northeast Portland on Monday, May 17.

The people were transported to a hospital for treatment and not immediately identified. According to police, a crowd of onlookers shouted aggressively at the officers are they were trying to safely help the two people, making the task more difficult.

One eyewitness on the scene disagreed with the assertion that residents were disruptive, saying officers waited 45 minutes before approaching the stalled vehicle.

Local man Weston Cox told the Tribune he approached the stopped SUV after asking police to call for an ambulance and being told by officers that they couldn’t due to the weapons.

Cox said one officer jokingly asked him “will you do it?” — so Cox approached the car, where he saw two unconscious men but no guns. One man appeared to be barely breathing.

“I’m not worried about being shot. I’m worried about these guys getting medical attention,” the 31-year-old said. “I was worried that the guys were going to OD and die right here.”

Cox said officers eventually used a large shield to approach the car and told him to get out of the street or risk being arrested. The two men, one of who appeared to wake up, were transported from the scene, Cox said. He has filed a complaint with the city regarding the incident.

According to police, at about 7:08 p.m., officers responded to a 911 call about a car blocking Northeast Bryant Street near Northeast Sixth Avenue. The car was running and two people were inside who appeared to be unconscious.

Responding officers received information that a passerby had called out to the people in the car and honked at them, but got no response.

The first officer arrived and approached the car to assess the potential need for medical assistance. The officer noticed a handgun on the floor of the car at the feet of the driver. There were no obvious signs of trauma to either person in the car, and officers suspected the people in the car may be under the influence of intoxicants.

Police said the officers spent several minutes loud-hailing the people from a distance, but received no response. Officers made a safe tactical plan and approached the car utilizing a handheld shield for protection. While at the door of the car, officers saw a second handgun on the floor at the feet of the passenger. Once the scene was safe, medical personnel approached to offer aid. Both people were breathing, but not responsive.

Officers recovered both handguns and additional magazines. No criminal charges were immediately filed, pending further investigation.

Portland Tribune reporter Zane Sparling contributed to this article.

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