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People at NE Portland sports bar stop armed robbery early Saturday morning

When officers arrived to an armed robbery at a Northeast Portland sports bar, people had already stopped it by pinning the suspect to the ground.

PORTLAND, Ore. — It's hard to find a local business along Northeast Sandy Boulevard in the Parkrose neighborhood that hasn't been impacted by theft or violence. It's all part of a typical day at work for Alexis Carrillo, who manages Sandy Smoke Shop.

"There's a lot of people coming to the store with knives and bats and stuff," Carrillo said. "I got to kick them out of the store while I'm here and who knows what happens when I'm not here at night."

It's a valid concern, seeing as a would-be robber targeted Be Van Sports Bar across the street early Saturday morning just after 12:30 a.m.

Portland police said they responded to a reported robbery with a gun at 10834 Northeast Sandy Boulevard at that time. When officers arrived, an bar employee and a friend had already stopped the robbery and pinned the suspect to the ground.  

"I was shocked, but it's not surprising," Carrillo said. "They did what they had to do, you know — good thing there was people there to do that."

Credit: Night Stringers

According to a probable-cause document released by police Monday morning, one of the two people who subdued the suspect, identified in the document as Daniel Mitchell, was Jonathan Nguyen, whom police identified as the owner of the sports bar. When police arrived, another person handed officers a BB gun pistol they said had been taken from Mitchell.

Nguyen told officers that Mitchell entered the bar and asked for a drink. When Nguyen asked Mitchell to pull down his mask and show identification, Mitchell pulled out the BB gun pistol and demanded money. Nguyen said he pulled out a taser and tried to use it on Mitchell but missed. He was then assisted by another person in the bar in detaining Mitchell.

Mitchell told police he tried to rob the bar to pay off a drug debt. Mitchell said a bar patron pulled out a real gun, "so he placed his fake pistol back in his pocket and was detained by people in the bar," according to the probable-cause document. Police said the BB gun pistol looked like a real gun.

Police arrested Mitchell and took him to a nearby hospital, with a police spokesman saying the suspect "clearly needed medical attention." Mitchell has since been booked and faces three charges including a second-degree robbery charge.

Local business owners told KGW they are on high alert for crimes like these and store weapons behind the counter, keeping a close eye out for each other by sharing security camera footage.

"Yeah, that's kind of how we roll," Carrillo said. "It's a little scary 'cause you never know what could happen — you just got to deal with it."

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