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Officer Shoots Armed Suspect

February 26, 2005 00:00


On Saturday, February 26, 2005, at 3:28 am, Portland Police were called to check the welfare of 49-year-old John M. Vitale who was reportedly walking around screaming at an apartment complex located at 335 Northwest 19th Avenue. A short time later, the first officer arrived and contacted three witnesses in a small entryway of the apartment complex. As the officer was talking to the witnesses, Vitale emerged from the interior of the apartment complex and approached the officer and witnesses who were standing in the small alcove area between the interior and exterior doors of the complex. Vitale raised the knife and advanced on the officer as she ordered Vitale to drop the knife. The officer fired once as Vitale continued to advance. As Vitale advanced on the first officer, a second officer, armed with a less lethal beanbag gun, arrived at the scene. As Vitale advanced, the first officer shot at Vitale a second time and the second officer shot Vitale once with a less lethal beanbag. Vitale dropped to the ground and was taken into custody.

Homicide Detectives and members of the East County Major Crimes Team responded to the scene and are conducting an investigation. Vitale suffered a single gunshot wound and was transported to Emanual Hospital. He will be charged with one count of Attempted Aggravated Murder and is expected to survive his injuries.

All three witnesses stated that, prior to the shooting, they heard the officer’s order Vitale to drop his knife numerous times. Witnesses stated that Vitale ignored the commands and continued to ignore the officer’s commands after the shooting.

The officers, a 34-year-old hired in 2003 and a 32-year-old hired in 1998, have been placed on paid administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Rich Austria at (503) 823-0449 or Detective Kenneth Whattam at (503) 823-0696.

This investigation is continuing.


Media Relations:
Sgt. Pete Simpson
Desk: 503-823-0830
Pager: 503-790-1779

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



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