PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) was set to hold a press conference on Sunday morning addressing several violent incidents in Portland from the past week, including two shootings from Saturday that left a total of two people dead and five injured. Two of the incidents involved Portland police officers. However, the press conference was interrupted by upset citizens and could not continue.
Lieutenant Nathan Sheppard with PPB began speaking at 11 a.m. and addressed an incident that happened Thursday night. A focus intervention team was patrolling the area of Northeast Sandy Boulevard and I-205. A PPB officer initiated a traffic stop but the car began driving erratically. Officers were able to put down stop sticks at the entrance of I-84. However, someone inside the car shot at an officer.
The officer was uninjured. Officers followed the suspects from a distance as they crossed over the I-5 bridge and into Vancouver, Wash. Authorities in Washington were able to apprehend three people after the car crashed near St. Johns Road and 68th Street.
"I want to thank our officers who show up every day even though they’re being shot at," Sheppard said. He also thanked assisting agencies in Washington who were able to apprehend the three men.
Sheppard then began to talk about the first of the two shootings that took place on Saturday when he was interrupted by irate citizens who began yelling anti-police sentiments. Some were yelling about Ted Wheeler and the media, while others were hurling accusations at a right-wing author known for being vocal against the protests and demonstrations in the area. The interruptions went on for several minutes before Sheppard told the gathered media outlets that he would not be able to continue the press conference.
PPB called a teleconference at 3 p.m. Sunday, during which Sheppard addressed the media and answered questions he was not able to during the interrupted press conference.
Sheppard said that the incident Thursday was the third time officers with PPB have been shot at in three months.
In reference to the incident from Saturday night where a Portland police officer shot and killed someone, Sheppard said officers were responding to a disturbance call. There had been reports of shots fired before officers arrived and a number of witnesses pointed officers in the direction of the alleged shooter. Sheppard could not confirm whether someone came out shooting at officers, as news outlets like The New York Times and OregonLive reported neighbors told them. There is no information about what led up to the shooting that Sheppard could release. He said it is early on in the investigation but at least one officer discharged their weapon, possibly two.
Sheppard also said it would be "irresponsible" to comment on whether there had been any arrests in the shooting near Normandale Park that left one dead and five injured. He did confirm, however, that the incident began between an armed homeowner in the area and armed protestors.
When asked if there was still a present danger to the public, Sheppard said, "There are a lot of guns in our city, and there are a lot of responsible gun owners and there are also people who are not responsible. Can I definitively say there is no danger? No."
Investigations in the two Saturday shootings are still ongoing.
District Attorney Mike Schmidt released a statement on the violent weekend via email. It said, in part:
There have been several shootings in the last 72-hours. These shootings have spanned our neighborhoods from East to West.
My heart goes out to those that have lost a loved one to this violence. When a person decides to pick up a gun and use it to threaten, harm, and take away another person’s life, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It sends shockwaves across our entire community.
A GoFundMe has been created for the victims of the weekend's shootings.