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Man gets 15 years for Powell Butte break-in

by: , Darwin Leroy Stauffer

A man who held a household at gunpoint after crashing a stolen vehicle while running from police will spend 15 years in prison.

Multnomah County Judge Eric Bergstrom on Monday, June 4, sentenced Darwin Leroy Stauffer, 28, after he pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree burglary and robbery with a firearm, two counts of kidnapping with a firearm and no contest to unlawful use of a vehicle.

A police officer spotted Stauffer speeding eastbound in a stolen 1992 Honda Accord on Jan. 9 and chased after him. Stauffer crashed the car in the 15900 block of Southeast Foster Road, ran into the woods and came upon a house off Southeast 158th Avenue and Martins Street, located south of Powell Butte and near the Springwater Trail, said Deputy District Attorney Pat Callahan.

Stauffer - described as bloody, muddy and beat-up - knocked on the door and asked to use the phone and for a ride. As one of the residents asked the only housemate there with a car whether he'd give the stranger a ride, Stauffer saw a police car driving by on the Springwater Trail and forced his way inside the house. There he held three housemates at gunpoint until they wrestled the gun away from Stauffer. During the struggle, one of the victims bit Stauffer on the ear and he fired the gun twice. Nobody was hit.

Once they managed to get the gun away from Stauffer, the housemates ran from their home carrying the gun with them so Stauffer couldn't rearm himself.

Meanwhile, Portland police who'd surrounded the house showed great restraint not firing at them, Callahan said. When officers heard gunshots coming from the house, they didn't know whether the suspect was firing at them. So when officers saw a man with a gun running from the house, it would have been easy to mistake the victim for the suspect, Callahan said.

Police surrounded the house for five hours before firing tear gas inside, forcing Stauffer out.

Stauffer has an extensive criminal history, including convictions in Multnomah County for assault, being a felon in possession of a firearm and unauthorized use of a vehicle; and convictions in Clackamas County for attempted unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and escape, Callahan said.

'That is why he ran' from police, Callahan said. Stauffer, a felon, had a gun in the car he crashed.