PORTLAND – A man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a Southeast Portland standoff that lasted several hours Sunday morning, police said.
Officers were called to a domestic disturbance in the 13200 block of SE Stark Street just after 2:30 a.m., according to Sgt. Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau.
Police at the scene learned that 44-year-old John Wimberly Smith had assaulted a woman and threatened to shoot her inside her apartment, Simpson said. Smith refused to leave the apartment.
The woman was able to escape and talk to police, but she said there were still three children sleeping inside.
“Based on information that the suspect was armed and that three children were inside the apartment, the Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and crisis negotiators were called to the scene at approximately 3:51 a.m.,” Simpson said.
Just before 9 a.m. the children came out of the apartment unharmed.
At that point Smith stopped talking with negotiators. Forty minutes later SERT officers deployed tear gas into the apartment. When Smith failed to exit the apartment, police sent in a robotic camera and could see he had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the apartment bathroom.
A domestic violence reduction unit was assisting with the investigation.
Traffic was blocked on SE Stark Street, from SE 130th Avenue to SE 135th Avenue, during the standoff.