Enlisted man dies in standoff with cops
A man who went looking for his girlfriend with a gun in his hand found only death Wednesday after a confrontation with police ended with five gunshots and his body lying on a Southeast Portland sidewalk.
After a brief standoff, Portland police officer Richard Steinbronn shot Jerry Goins, 38, four times in the chest and abdomen outside a military recruiting office at the Eastport Plaza shopping center - but Goins shot himself in the head, police said.
The Multnomah County Medical Examiner's classified his death as a suicide Thursday.
A caller to 911 at 3:51 p.m. reported that an armed man in search of his girlfriend was headed to the Eastport Plaza military recruiting station on Southeast 82nd Avenue. Dispatchers mistakenly sent officers first to a recruiting post on Swan Island before correcting the error. Police arrived at Eastport Plaza at 3:59 p.m.
Police said Steinbronn talked to Goins on the phone and Goins indicated he was not in the area and was not planning to come to Eastport Plaza. Enlisted in the Navy and stationed in California, Goins was distraught over his relationship with his girlfriend, police said.
Steinbronn left the recruiting office around 4:15 p.m., not having seen Goins, police said. As he sat in his patrol car preparing to leave, police said, the officer saw the man with the gun.
'At that point, one of two things was possible: He was going to kill himself in front of his girlfriend or he was going to kill her first, then himself,' police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz said.
Steinbronn approached, identified himself and tried talking to Goins but quickly raised his voice and ordered the man to drop the gun and hit the ground, witnesses told police.
Goins did not, police said.
When Goins instead turned toward Steinbronn, both fired their guns and Goins went down. A 'shots fired' call hit the radio at 4:17 p.m.
Even on the ground, bleeding, Goins kept his hand on his gun. Police feared the man could still fire at them and called out the Special Emergency Reaction Team at 4:20 p.m. to disarm the man and secure the scene. SERT arrived, met with the scene commander and began moving in toward the man on the ground at 4:51 p.m. Thirteen minutes later, the call went out over the radio: The man was dead.
Steinbronn, 37 and a nine-year Portland Police Bureau veteran, also was involved in a fatal shooting Dec. 2, 2004. He was wounded in the leg and was one of three officers to fire 27 times at car-theft suspect Willie Grigsby in a driveway on Southeast 84th Avenue, hitting Grigsby with 13 bullets.