PPB Case #11-375
Suspect: Thomas Manford Higginbotham, 67
Involved Officers: Officers Jason Lile and Larry Wingfield
On Sunday, January 2, 2011, at approximately 4 p.m., East Precinct Officers Jason Lile, a 10-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau and Larry Wingfield, an 18-year veteran, responded to a 9-1-1 call regarding an unwanted male subject who was threatening to kill the complainant and refusing to leave. The complainant, a security officer from a nearby business, showed the responding officers where the person making the threats could be found, which was at a nearby abandoned car wash.
The officers contacted the subject inside the location who came out of an inner room displaying a large knife. Officers began giving commands to the subject to drop the knife. The subject refused to drop the knife and advanced on the officers. Officer Lile deployed a Taser on the advancing subject, but the Taser was ineffective and the subject continued to advance, ignoring commands to drop the knife. Both officers then fired their handguns at the subject and the subject went down to the ground.
Officers immediately called for medical personnel to respond and when paramedics arrived they determined that the subject was deceased. The subject was later identified as 67-year-old Thomas Manford Higginbotham. Investigators have learned that two days prior to the shooting, the same subject threatened to kill the complainant. Higginbotham had an extensive arrest record in both Oregon and California and had been incarcerated in California for serious person to person crimes. It was determined that Higginbotham, who had a history of mental illness, had a blood alcohol level of at .26 percent at the time of the incident.
On January 28, 2011, a Multnomah County Grand Jury ruled that the officers were justified in the use of deadly physical force.
As part of the use of force review process, the Bureau conducted an internal review of the entire incident and the case went before the Police Review Board (PRB), which is comprised of community members, Bureau members and representatives from the Independent Police Review Division. The shooting was found to be "in-policy" by the PRB.