PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Police killed an armed suspect on Interstate 5 following an hours-long incident that included a home invasion, several carjackings and gunfire on Monday morning.
All I-5 northbound and southbound lanes are now open.
According to the Portland Police Bureau, North Precinct officers responded to a home invasion robbery in North Portland around 9:30 a.m. During that robbery, the suspect reportedly stole the victim’s vehicle.
Police say the suspect appears to have committed several other carjackings while armed over the following 30-40 minutes, but could not clarify exactly how many or where they occurred.
PPB Lt. Nathan Sheppard says officers found the vehicle in the area and were following the suspect when he drove onto northbound I-5 near Rosa Parks — heading in the wrong direction.
At one point, the suspect got out of the stolen car and attempted yet another carjacking right on the freeway. During this latest carjacking, he shot one of the car’s occupants. That victim is being treated for a non-life threatening gunshot wound at a local hospital.
After that shooting occurred on I-5 — an officer fired off rounds and fatally struck the suspect. He was pronounced dead.
PPB says there is no further danger to the public, but an investigation is ongoing.
The officer who deployed the deadly rounds was identified as John Hughes, according to the PPB. He will be on administrative leave until the investigation concludes.
Earlier, lanes in both directions were closed on Interstate 5 near Portland Boulevard and Lombard due to the heavy police presence.
Traffic in Portland headed northbound must exit the freeway at North Greeley Avenue, while southbound traffic must exit at Victory Boulevard. The Washington State Department of Transportation advised all southbound I-5 traffic in Vancouver is being directed to State Route 14 then to Interstate 205.
After sending out information on the officer-involved shooting, PPB tweeted that between critical incidents and their staffing shortage — officers are only responding to Priority 1 and 2 calls. Response time for other calls may be delayed.
“Anytime there’s a homicide, resources are going to be spread thin,” Sheppard told KOIN 6 News. “This obviously is a homicide with an additional shooting and several crime scenes — so this is a special crime, just with the resources we have to expend.
“This is not a daily occurrence, although it seems like we’re kind of getting there with the crime we’re seeing in Portland.”
Later in the day, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell put out a statement about the incident in a series of tweets. Lovell said he and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler were on the scene.
“While it is disturbing that one person was injured, I am grateful it was not worse and that no others—including our officers—were injured,” Lovell’s Twitter thread read. This is a complex investigation involving the use of deadly force. We understand the significant impact this has on our commuters.”
Lovell concluded his statement by asking for patience as the investigation progresses.
Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted a statement about the incident, noting the efforts of Portland Police.