GRESHAM, Ore. -- A suicidal father died after at least one police officer opened fire early Wednesday morning and police found his two daughters, ages 8 and 11, dead in his SUV, according to Gresham police.
The girls were likely dead before officers spotted the vehicle near Portland, Gresham police Sgt. John Rasmussen told the Associated Press.
The incident began as a domestic violence call in Portland. A father threatened to kill himself and his two daughters, police said. A mother called Portland police around 12:30 a.m. and said her daughters were with their father at an unknown location.
At around 1:45 a.m., Gresham police found the father's SUV in a parking lot near Northeast Glisan Street and 162nd Avenue. The man, age 42, was armed with a handgun and confronted police.
Police said the man set the SUV on fire. That's when at least one Gresham officer fired at him.
The father died at the scene. Police said it was not clear if he was killed by officers' gunfire or he shot and killed himself. The girls' cause of death has also not been determined.
The Associated Press reported that autopsies are set for Thursday, and the results will paint a fuller picture on the circumstances surrounding the deaths.
Officers quickly tries to rescue the two girls from the SUV.
"Having to break windows to get inside, the officers located and removed the children, only then realizing both girls were already dead," said Gresham police Sgt. John Rasmussen in a news release.
No officers were shot. Multiple officers suffered minor injuries breaking into the burning SUV, including strains, burns and smoke inhalation.
"It's a horrible and horrific situation for all involved," Rasmussen said.
The names of the father and girls have not been released.
The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on leave, per police procedure.
Resources for domestic violence victims
If you or someone you know is experiencing a dangerous or violent situation you can get help by reaching out to one of these organizations in Multnomah County:
- Call to Safety, a 24-hour domestic and sexual violence crisis line, 888-235-5333 or calltosafety.org
- El Programa Hispano - Proyecto UNICA - Linea de Crisis, 503-232-4448.
- The Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services, a drop-in domestic violence services center at 10305 E. Burnside in Portland, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.