9/1/2014 4:36 PM
Portland police shoot suspected carjacker by I-84
By STEVEN DUBOIS
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A police officer shot a man who was pointing a gun at passing cars on an Interstate 84 off-ramp, and the ensuing standoff with the wounded suspect led to a long Labor Day closure of the freeway.
Sgt. Pete Simpson, spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau, said the man ran from the freeway after he was struck by a bullet, and he collapsed on a nearby street.
"Officers began talking with the man, who refused to comply with commands and indicated he wanted officers to shoot him," Simpson said.
Police negotiators got the man to surrender, and he was taken to a hospital with an injury not considered life-threatening. Relatives of the wounded man told reporters during the standoff he has struggled with mental health issues.
The incident happened just three days after a federal judge accepted a settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Portland on reforms intended to improve the way police deal with mentally ill people. The Justice Department found during an investigation that Portland police engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force when dealing with such citizens.
Simpson said the reforms played no role in resolving Monday's situation.
"We've had crisis negotiators for a lot longer than all that," he said. "It's pretty standard protocol."
The drama began shortly before 10 a.m., when callers reported that a man was walking along the ramp with a gun and it appeared he was trying to carjack motorists, Simpson said.
The man pointed the gun at police and ran through freeway traffic, Simpson said. At some point, an officer fired shots and struck the man.
Police said the names of the suspect and the officer who fired will be released Tuesday.
Police closed the section of freeway during the standoff and investigation, complicating travel plans on the busy holiday. The freeway reopened at about 2 p.m.
Police haven't said if the man's gun was real or a replica. A woman shot by police last week at a gas station near Albany, Oregon, displayed a gun that turned out to be a replica.
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