Man shot by police at Portland hospital left prison days earlier - KPTV - FOX 12

Police: Man shot at hospital was a bank robber, career criminal

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Photo: U.S. Marshals Office, Merle Hatch Photo: U.S. Marshals Office, Merle Hatch
Photo: Portland Police Bureau, Merle Hatch Photo: Portland Police Bureau, Merle Hatch
Bank robbery surveillance from Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Bank robbery surveillance from Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

A man shot and killed by police was a career criminal, a wanted federal fugitive and now police say Merle Hatch robbed a Clackamas bank just two days before the officer-involved shooting outside a Portland hospital.

The medical examiner's office Tuesday identified the man killed in Sunday night's police shooting at Portland Adventist Medical Center as Hatch, 50.

In a letter dated Feb. 13, the warden of the Federal Correctional Institute in Sheridan, OR, said Hatch was released for a furlough transfer to a facility in Denver.

He was supposed to report to the Independence House-South Federal Center, a program to prepare convicted criminals for community reentry, no later than 9 p.m. Feb. 12.

He did not appear, according to court documents out of Colorado, and was placed on escape status at 9:01 p.m. Feb. 12.

In a handwritten letter from Hatch to a U.S. District Court judge in Colorado, dated July 17, 2009, he wrote that he had served five years of a 10 1/2-year sentence for a bank robbery.

Hatch wrote that a prior felony burglary charge was included as part of his sentencing, but that it had wrongly been classified as a violent crime.

"But the condominium was not occupied," he wrote about of his burglary charge. "It was vacant and up for sale at the time of the offence."

Portland police said he was a career criminal with arrests in California, Arizona and Colorado on a variety of charges including burglary, bank robbery, theft and homicide.

On Feb. 15, the Wells Fargo at 12072 S.E. Sunnyside Rd. in Clackamas was robbed. Surveillance photos were released as deputies asked for the public's help tracking down the suspect.

That suspect has now been positively identified as Hatch, according to investigators.

On Feb. 17, workers at Portland Adventist Medical Center said Hatch was a patient in the emergency department when he told a staff member he had a gun and would use it on an employee.

Workers initiated a code silver warning, indicating a combative person with a weapon at the hospital, and called 911.

The suspect demanded an employee lead him to the exit and he then departed the building alone.

Police said they received reports that Hatch had a black handgun and pointed it at a hospital security vehicle in the parking lot.

The hospital was put on lockdown and police said three officers fired shots after confronting Hatch.

The cause of death was confirmed as gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, according to the medical examiner's office.

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