PPB officer ‘lucky to be alive’; ramming suspect at large

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It’s unknown whether the suspect is injured

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 15-year-veteran of the Portland Police Bureau is “very lucky to be alive today” after an incident at a Southeast Portland gas station that led to an officer-involved shooting.

At an afternoon press conference, PPB spokesperson Lt. Greg Pashley revealed few details of the events that unfolded shortly before 9 p.m. Thursday on SE Powell near Cesar Chavez.

Police went to the gas station after a citizen reported spotting a stolen 1988 Chevrolet pickup and saw that vehicle there, with 2 people inside.

Melissa Saenz told KOIN 6 News that caller was her son.

“Our car was stolen Monday from a mechanic shop over on 52nd and our son had seen our truck that was stolen,” she said. “He followed it up Powell to this gas station here.”

Very quickly, the driver of the stolen Chevy rammed the police car and an officer fired a shot. It’s unclear which event happened first, and Pashley did not clarify. That same officer was injured and remains hospitalized after the pickup rammed the patrol car and fled down Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

About an hour later, the stolen Chevy was found unoccupied near SE 54th Avenue and Belmont Street. Officer used K9s in a search of the area but did not find anyone.

“It’s unknown if anyone was hurt because we never found anyone,” Pashley said. He added there is no suspect description or information to share at this point of the investigation.

PPB Lt. Greg Pashley during a press conference about an officer-involved shooting, December 25, 2020 (KOIN)

At this point there is only an indication that the injured officer fired their weapon. “I have no other information about anyone else shooting,” he said.

While not describing the injuries suffered by the officer, Pashley said that “officer is very lucky to be alive today.” Because they fired their service weapon, they will be placed on administrative leave during the investigation, which is standard procedure in these situations.

Homicide detectives are investigating all the aspects of this case, and Pashley said PPB is “careful when we release information” because they “need to maintain the integrity of the investigation.”

“We ask for the community’s patience as we investigate and will release information when we can.”

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