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Officer Involve Shooting E. Burnside St./SE 7th to 8th Ave

December 13, 2002 00:00


On Friday, December 13, 2002, at approximately 8:15 in the morning, in the area of SE 7th and Pine, a Southeast Precinct two officer uniform patrol car initiated a traffic stop on a green SUV for a traffic infraction. About the same time a Traffic Division Officer, in a marked traffic car, was stopping a black Honda Civic for a traffic infraction on E. Burnside between SE 7th and 8th on the southside of the street.

The green SUV, instead of stopping, accelerated away with the officers, who had initiated the traffic stop, in pursuit. The SUV, attempting to elude the officers, traveled to E. Burnside where it struck the Honda Civic the Traffic Officer had stopped. After striking the Honda Civic, which was occupied by a young woman and momentarily coming to a stop, the SUV accelerated again and struck the patrol car that had been in pursuit. The Traffic Officer fired at, and hit, the SUV but the SUV fled the scene with the officers, who had initially tried to stop it, in pursuit again.

The SUV finally stopped at SE 6th and Alder Street where the driver attempted to flee on foot but was taken into custody without incident.

The suspect has identified as 27-year old Justin Lee Sawtelle, who reportedly lives a transient life-style. A check revealed Sawtelle had an outstanding no-bail arrested, from Oregon State Parole and Probation, for Probation Violation. In addition, Sawtelle was charged with Two Counts of Assault in the First Degree, Felony Hit and Run, Attempt to Elude, Reckless Driving and Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, in connection with today's incident, and lodged in the Justice Center Jail.

The name of the officer involved, per bureau policy, is being withheld for 24-hours to allow the officer time to contact family.

As is also bureau policy, the officer will be on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation which is being conducted by Detectives from the East County Major Crime Team and Portland Police Bureau Homicide Detail, and will be reviewed by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office.

Detectives are not releasing a photo of Justin Lee Sawtelle at this time as they are investigating additional issues, unrelated to today's incident, involving Sawtelle.

The investigation is continuing.


The officer who fired is Officer Craig Major. Officer Major, assigned to the Traffic Division, is 42-years old and December 29th will be his 19th year with the Portland Police Bureau.

The investigation is continuing.


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Portland Police Bureau
1111 SW 2nd Ave, Suite 1526
Portland, Oregon 97204



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