Police: Witnesses catch man who stole car with 3-year-old inside

Witness T.P. Brown Jr. used his car to pin a fleeing carjacking suspect up against a fence....
Witness T.P. Brown Jr. used his car to pin a fleeing carjacking suspect up against a fence. Police say other witnesses nearby helped hold down the suspect until officers got to the scene and arrested him.(Source: Portland Police Bureau)
Published: Feb. 27, 2022 at 3:03 AM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Police say a suspect who allegedly stole a car with a 3-year-old boy inside was arrested after he was chased down and detained by several witnesses.

The incident started a little after 8 a.m. Friday in northeast Portland, Oregon, on Northeast 16th Avenue near Shaver Street, where the suspect allegedly jumped in a mother’s running car and drove off with her 3-year-old son still inside.

The boy’s father, who was also there, jumped in his own car and chased the suspect for about a mile, KPTV reports. Police say he crashed into the allegedly stolen car near Northeast Multnomah Street and 21st Avenue.

T.P. Brown Jr. saw the whole thing unfold.

“I hear a Prius screaming down the side of me,” he said. “(It) had the lights flashing, honking the horn, almost as if a cop would do when he’s trying to get through an intersection. The Prius use(d) his car in almost a pit maneuver... At that point, the gentleman dropped out of the car, jumped into the other car... and began to tussle with the driver.”

Police say the thief began to run, and that’s when Brown chased him down in his Dodge Charger.

“I saw him crossing the street,” Brown said. “I know this was a dead end. The only option was to climb the fence or go through the fence. I immediately floored it, pinned him against the fence. I asked him not to move until the police came here. At that point, he wanted to continue to climb the fence. I stepped out of my vehicle, grabbed him off the fence and detained him until police got here.”

Other witnesses nearby helped hold down the suspect until police got to the scene and arrested him.

Police identified the suspect as 40-year-old Justin E. Hill in a Saturday press release. He was booked on several charges, including second-degree kidnapping.

The 3-year-old boy was not hurt during the incident.

The investigation is ongoing. Police are asking anyone who may have pictures or video of the incident to contact Detective Chris Traynor at the Portland Police Bureau as soon as possible.

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