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Armed robbery suspects identified, taken into custody after hours-long search in Portland neighborhood

Police set up a perimeter at Southeast 96th Avenue to 101st Avenue and Lincoln Street to Caruthers Street on Wednesday morning, urging residents to stay inside.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Police have identified the two armed robbery suspects who were taken into custody after an hours-long search that kept several blocks of Southeast Portland locked down for much of Wednesday morning and early afternoon.

The two armed suspects were identified in a Wednesday news release as 29-year-old Leon D. Vaughn Jr. of Portland and 25-year-old Chelsea C. Grey of Lake Oswego.

Just after 1 p.m. Portland police took the two armed robbery suspects into custody. Police later obtained a search warrant of the involved apartment on Southeast 96nd Avenue near Southeast Lincoln Street. Detectives found evidentiary items from the robbery and collected them as evidence.  

No one was injured and no other occupants were found in the apartment, police said.

Vaughn and Grey were booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center. Both were charged with first and second-degree robbery, police said. 

At around 2:16 p.m. in a news release, the Portland Police Bureau said the perimeter was released and neighbors were notified that a shelter-in-place order had been lifted. Schools returned to normal operation, police said, and streets reopened as soon as emergency vehicles were moved. 

Credit: KGW
Portland police is searching for two armed suspects in southeast Portland, Ore. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.

The original shelter-in-place warning went out at about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday. Police asked people in Southeast Portland to stay indoors while they searched for the two suspects. Police said they had set up a perimeter in the area of Southeast 96th Avenue to 101st Avenue and Lincoln Street to Caruthers Street.

PPB Sergeant Kevin Allen said that police were confident the two suspects had been contained within the perimeter.

The Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and the Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) were both called to the scene to search for the suspects. Allen said Gresham police and the PPB K9 unit and Air Support Unit were also assisting in the search.

"A little shocking this morning," said neighbor Chad Loescher. "A little concerning, but definitely feel a lot safer with the police force out here."

Officers responded around 6:30 a.m. to a report of an armed robbery at a convenience store in the area of Southeast 92nd Avenue and Division Street. Nobody was injured in the robbery but the clerk at the store said both suspects were armed.

Allen said officers found two people in the area who matched the suspects' descriptions, but they fled when officers approached, prompting police to set up the perimeter and ask residents to shelter in place. 

Residents were asked to stay inside, lock their doors and windows and call 911 if they saw anyone suspicious hiding in their yard or under their cars, Allen said. Schools in the area were operating as normal, he said, but they had set up secure perimeters and locked their doors.

Loescher told KGW he was not surprised by what happened Wednesday morning but he was happy to see the police response.

"Being a little bit farther out from the city, this is kind of what can happen any given day," he said. "I'm just happy there is a police presence out here to keep us safe and protected and making sure they're keeping the areas locked down that they need to and no one coming in. They kind of brought out the full force here."

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