PORTLAND — A man wanted for burglarizing a police supply store got into a shootout with Portland Police early Wednesday morning that wounded an officer and his K-9 partner.
Three men burglarized Blumenthal Uniforms & Equipment and got into an SUV with police in pursuit. Two of them were arrested and the other took off from Capitol Highway and Lobelia Street when their getaway vehicle crashed into a power pole. Gunfire was exchanged between an officer and 20-year-old Paul Ropp.
David Bell’s barking dog woke him up to find a suspicious man on his property. By the time he made it outside, the man had taken off down the road. Bell found the 20-year-old about a quarter-mile away in a neighbor’s yard and came face to face with an AR-15 rifle.
“He said he didn’t want to do it, but he would shoot if he had to. I let him know he didn’t have to do it and just to calm down, relax. He dropped it and became very apologetic and said ‘I’m a little confused’ and told me to call the police back and tell them not to come. I said it just doesn’t work that way,” Bell told KGW.
The man took off, ditched the rifle along the way and went into hiding. Messages to neighbors over the phone told them to lock their doors and stay inside, but it was delayed for at least 45 minutes when the first message came across as a test with no details. Bell didn’t get the warning since he was outside the search radius.
SERT officers caught Ropp hours later a few miles away on Southwest Oleson Road bloody from the crash. They also found the weapon nearby. He’s still in the hospital with a guard at his bedside and will face charges when he’s released from care.
Officer Jeff Dorn, a 16-year veteran was rushed to the hospital and is recovering from gunshots to both legs. Sadly, his K9 partner Mick didn’t survive. The German Shepherd was found under a hedge about six hours after the shooting dead from a gunshot wound.
“Mick saved my life,” said Officer Dorn.
“For us, this is like losing a police officer. This is like losing a member of our family because they are out there risking their lives every day too, risking their lives for their handlers,” said Sergeant Pete Simpson.
A procession escorted the fallen K-9′s remains from the scene to a veterinarian in Southeast Portland. Mick was one of eight K-9 teams in the police bureau and was very new.
“We appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers for our officers. You never know where an incident like this can turn life-threatening. Makes me focus on what’s most important and the life and death decisions that our officers have to make,” said Police Chief Mike Reese.
This is the second time in one month that a Portland Police officer was wounded in the line of duty.
20-year-old Steven Young and 25-year-old Jemaell Riley are charged with burglary, attempted kidnapping and robbery.