Police have identified the suspect who was killed in an officer-involved shooting and investigators released a timeline of events that preceded the deadly shooting.
The Portland Police Bureau reported Monday that seven officers and one Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputy were involved in the shooting Saturday that killed 48-year-old John Andrew Elifritz. Another 12 officers were witnesses to the shooting.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner concluded Elifritz died of gunshot wounds. Toxicology results are pending.
Investigators said Elifritz called 911 at 2:25 p.m. Saturday and said his family had been murdered on the 4400 block of Southeast 79th Avenue. Officers responded to the address he provided and found a duplex under construction.
A contractor told officers Elifritz had been there earlier acting in a bizarre manner. No one was found inside the duplex and police were able to confirm that Elifritz’s family was safe.
Officers then found Elifritz at Southeast 86th Avenue and Holgate Boulevard, but they said he pulled a knife from his pocket and held it up to his throat.
The Portland Police Bureau reported officers decided to “de-escalate the situation” by not pursuing Elifritz. Instead, they made a referral to the Behavioral Health Unit to follow up on the case.
A short time later, a man told officers someone with a knife had just attempted to carjack him. At 4:47 p.m., a woman called 911 saying she had been carjacked at Southeast 72nd Avenue and Foster Road and the suspect got away with her Honda CRV.
At 7:25 p.m., another 911 caller said he and his family were victims of a road rage incident near North Columbia Boulevard and Chautauqua Boulevard. Police determined the suspect was Elifritz in the stolen Honda CRV.
The victim said the driver was tailgating him and driving next to him in the bike lane and pointed a black object at him, which he believed to be a gun.
A few minutes later, another 911 caller reported seeing Elifritz jump out of a moving vehicle on Southeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stark Street. The witness described the man as “drunk or high” and said he ran east on Stark Street.
At 7:46 p.m., a 911 call was made from the 600 block of Southeast Grand Avenue. The caller stated a man had been standing in a store’s doorway for five to 10 minutes holding a knife. Four minutes later, the caller said Elifritz was walking south on Grand Avenue.
At 7:55 p.m., it was reported a man was holding a knife to another person’s throat on the 500 block of Grand Avenue.
At 7:58 p.m., officers found Elifritz at the Cityteam Portland Shelter on the 500 block of Grand Avenue. Police said officers first deployed less-lethal rounds, before shooting the suspect at 8 p.m.
Witnesses told FOX 12 that Elifritz rushed into the shelter, started cutting his own neck with a knife and refused to put the knife down when officers came in and ordered him to surrender.
Police have not identified the officers who fired at Elifritz, stating threats have been made against them. Those threats are being investigated.
The ACLU and CAIR-Oregon have questioned the actions of the officers in this case. CAIR-Oregon is calling on the Oregon attorney general to investigate the case.
“As part of the use of force review process, the Bureau will conduct an internal review of the entire incident and the case will go before the Police Review Board,” according to the Portland Police Bureau.
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