By Maxine Bernstein
PORTLAND — A police officer shot an armed man dead in Southwest Portland's Hillsdale neighborhood Wednesday and was led away from the scene by paramedics as he bled from his upper arm with a gunshot wound, police and witnesses said.
The officer's injury wasn't life-threatening, police said. He was taken to OHSU Hospital for treatment. The suspect was shot and killed, and police found a gun near him, they said.
"There was an exchange of gunfire and the officer was shot," Police Chief Mike Reese said.
Officers were in the area to look for a suspicious van that had been approaching kids, Reese said, but he didn't know if the man killed near Wilson High School was the suspect in that case.
"It's obviously shocking when an event like this happens near any school," he said.
The confrontation occurred about 4 p.m. Police closed the area near Southwest Capitol Highway at Cheltenham Street and lined off the street with red crime-scene tape.
Bryce Canda, 16, was with his dad, John, after having lunch at the Hillsdale Subway and walking north on Southwest Cheltenham Street when he saw a man, followed by a Portland police officer turn the corner from Southwest Dewitt Street onto Cheltenham.
The officer was yelling at the man, described as in his 30s, to take his hands out of his pockets and to stop, the teenager said.
The man sat down on what looked like a bench and "still had his hands in his pocket, " Bryce Canda said.
"The man stood back up and the officer fired at him" as the man appeared to take his hands out of his pocket, the younger Canda said. The man had a gun, he said.
The officer and the man were standing about 15 feet apart, Bryce Canda said
"Me and my dad just ducked," he said, pointing to a parked red car they ducked behind.
"I just didn't want to get hit with a bullet, " he said.
The teen said he heard five to six shots.
The elder Canda is a former head of the city's Office of Violence Prevention and a longtime gang outreach worker. He said he saw a uniformed officer appear about 15 to 20 feet behind the man and shout: "Stop right there, hold it right there!"
Gunshots were exchanged, the subject died and an officer was injured with a non-life threatening wound.
"The man stopped and sat down on a retaining wall," near a martial arts studio on the west side sidewalk, John Canda said.
"The guy stood up and turned toward the officer, and that's when we saw the officer fire shots, " John Canda said. "We ducked behind a red car. We were right in the line of fire."
John Canda said he hadn't seen the man carrying anything until he saw him lying dead, his head in the street and his legs on the sidewalk. A gun was beside his body, John Canda said.
Bruce Margetich said he was at the corner of Dewitt and Cheltenham when he heard five gunshots.
"I didn't know what to do," Margetich said. He later saw another officer being walked away by paramedics, his upper arm bleeding, he said.
At the RE/MAX store at the corner of Cheltenham and Capitol Highway, sales representative Lynne Cohen said, "Everyone inside was saying, 'Lock the doors! Lock the doors!' "
At least 10 patrol cars, lights and sirens on, sped up Capitol Highway, responding to the shooting.
Homicide detectives and Mayor Charlie Hales, the city's police commissioner, were at the scene.
Ian Sloan and fellow Wilson High theater cast members were outside after school reading the script for "Midsummer's Night Dream" when their acting teacher suddenly ran out and called them inside.
The teacher came out yelling, "Everyone inside! There's been an emergency!"
They were led to the drama room and locked the door. "It was pretty scary," said Sloan, 15. "To have it happen right near you."
Wilson High varsity baseball players Perry Taylor and Alec McDonald-Factor were on the school field when they heard gunshots.
"We heard five gunshots ... it didn't register at first," Taylor said. "Then we heard police cars coming in from all over."
Copyright 2014 The Oregonian
McClatchy-Tribune News Service