1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
November 13, 2006 00:00
Portland Police officers and members of the US Marshal's Fugitive Task Force had been looking for Hughes since last Tuesday. A Felony warrant had been issued for his arrest after he failed to appear for sentencing after pleading guilty to charges of Burglary in the First Degree with a Firearm, Possession of a Short Barrel Shotgun, and Arson. Other Central Precinct Officers had gone to the motel earlier in the morning looking for Hughes.
Around 10:00 am, Hughes called the front desk asking if police were in the area. That call prompted the desk clerk to call police informing them that Hughes was at the motel. Prior to arriving, officers also had information indicating that Hughes was possibly armed, possibly suicidal, and did not want to go to jail. Officers arrived near the motel and were in the process of developing a plan to approach. While talking to the desk clerk on the phone, they learned that Hughes was in the process of pushing his luggage out of a second story window and preparing to jump.
Officers then confronted Hughes who had now jumped down behind the motel inside an area enclosed by a chain link fence, outside the first floor windows of the Motel. Officers approached Hughes, who citizen witnesses describe as being angry and aggressive. Citizen witnesses also told investigators that Hughes charged the officers and then reached inside his coat, as if he was getting ready to pull out a firearm. At that point and after repeated commands to raise his hands and surrender, one officer deployed a less lethal bean bag round at Hughes. The chain link fence prevented the bean bags from reaching Hughes and the three officers discharged their firearms.
The suspect reportedly dropped to the ground, once again refused all commands, and placed his hands either into his coat or waistband area. Officers discharged their weapons a second time and the suspect was taken into custody. No firearm was found on or near his body. Hughes died shortly after leaving the scene.
The investigation has concluded that the sergeant and two officers fired a total of 15 rounds from an AR-15 rifle and two 9 mm handguns. The Oregon State Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on November 13, 2006, and concluded that Hughes died of gunshot wounds. Toxicology tests will take several days to be completed.
After the shooting, detectives contacted a family member of Hughes and learned that four hours prior to the shooting, he sent a series of text messages to her. The text messages indicate that Hughes intended on dying shortly, asked for his name to be cleared and also said he would, “forgive whoever gets me.” The text messages were not found by the recipient until after the shooting. A complete copy of the text messages is available from the Bureau’s Pubic Information Office.
Portland Police Bureau Homicide Detectives and members of the East County Major Crimes Team are continuing the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Jon Rhodes at (503) 823-0459 or Detective Lynn Courtney at (503) 823-0451.
Sgt. Pete Simpson