Police escape serious injury while subduing man who fired officer's gun

Despite his thin, wiry appearance, Jared Steven Leone proved quite the match for Beaverton police officers, who struggled to quell the 18-year-old man during a Friday evening scuffle in the Beaverton City Hall lobby.

Leone, who according to police reports said he’d “overdosed” on psychedelic mushrooms, was eventually subdued, but not before the Seattle-area resident allegedly broke a pair of handcuffs and grabbed a Beaverton officer’s gun from its holster and fired it randomly in the lobby. The bullet landed in a wall, but at least one of the involved officers suffered arm and muscle injuries during the melee.

“(Sgt. Robert Davis), who had his gun taken, suffered a pretty serious bicep injury from this fight,” said Detective Sgt. Jim Shumway, a Beaverton Police Department spokesman.

Leone, who graduated from Vernonia High School and lives in the Seattle area, was arraigned in Washington County Circuit Court on Monday afternoon on charges including two counts of assaulting a public safety officer, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Leone, whose actions were captured on video surveillance footage released to the news media, entered the lobby area at City Hall, 4755 S.W. Griffith Drive, around 5:55 p.m. and approached the police department’s records division window. He told a records clerk he was “overdosing on mushrooms,” banged his head on the records division window and paced in circles around the lobby, Shumway said, adding that Leone later told police he thought the officers were terrorists posing as police.

A records clerk notified officers in the building. Based on the video footage, at least five officers were involved in the incident, including early responders Davis and Officers Jason Billings and Pam Yazzolino.

Just after they arrived, Leone allegedly swung at one of the officers and an approximately six-minute struggle ensued.

“You can see in the video, the subject got the gun out of the holster very early on,” Shumway said. “A large part of the struggle was the other officers trying to hold that gun down on the ground while the subject was fighting to contain the firearm.”

Officers used a taser gun several times on the suspect, but it had little effect in calming him, Shumway said, noting the substances Leone claimed he ingested — including psilocybin or hallucinogenic mushrooms along with alcohol — created an unusual combination of physical strength, lack of inhibition and sheer energy.

“That combination of feeling no pain, with a strength that exceeds what is normal, is a bad combination,” Shumway noted. “He was tased, maybe three or four times. Either way, none of those had any effect.”

At one point Leone was handcuffed, but the suspect broke free of the metal bindings.

After the suspect allegedly grabbed the gun from Davis’ holster, which has a retention device designed to make it difficult for someone other than the officer to get it, the gun fired a single bullet, which landed in the wall on the south end of the main lobby.

“You can see a little gouge in the wall about a foot off the ground,” Shumway said of the penetration.

After he was finally restrained, Leone was initially treated by medical personnel at the scene before being transported to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. He was arrested and lodged in the Washington County Jail pending a $50,000 security bond before Monday’s arraignment.

After interviewing the officers and reviewing the video footage, Shumway said the officers followed protocol for such a situation. He praised them for their actions.

“The officers are to be commended for the amount of restraint they showed in this melee that lasted for six minutes,” he said. “None of these officers pulled out a baton. They showed real restraint in attempting to subdue this individual, who was going berserk in front of them.”

Acknowledging the good fortune that the incident didn’t occur during a period of high traffic in City Hall, the situation still posed serious danger for the general public and city employees as well as officers.

“The building was not vacant,” he said. “Sometimes there’s straggler workers coming from their offices at the end of the day, and any citizen can still walk in and be in that area. It wasn’t a ghost town.”

An internal investigation of the incident is ongoing.

“This could’ve been a real tragedy. Any one of the officers could’ve been shot and killed. (Leone) could’ve been shot and killed, or he could’ve shot a citizen,” Shumway said. “There are a number of possibilities here that would’ve made this a real tragic incident. We’re real thankful none of those occurred, for sure.”

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