A man pulled a BB gun in Old Town around 7 p.m. Friday night, causing panic among onlookers who thought the weapon was real.
Portland police Officer Allison Lance tasered the gun-holder, 50-year-old Christopher Phillips, who also had been punched in the face during a fight. He was arrested on disorderly conduct and drug charges.
Police interviewed witnesses to the incident, including Terry Nelson, known among locals as "Tiny, the Mayor of Old Town."
Nelson was sitting on an east-facing bench on Northwest Sixth Avenue near Couch Street when Phillips and an unknown blck male rounded the corner. According to Nelson, the men were drinking and arguing. Phillips swung his backpack off his shoulders and reached for the gun. The black man grabbed the backpack and hit Phillips with his fist. Phillips dropped the gun and fell on his stomach.
"The brother walked away. He didn't run, he walked," said Nelson. "People were yelling, 'There's a gun! There's a gun!'"
A crowd had gathered when the gun appeared, and somebody called 911.
According to Nelson, a third, unidentified man was walking south down Sixth Avenue and saw Phillips roll over, ready to grab the gun. The man kicked the gun and picked it up.
That's when police arrived and pointed a gun at him, telling him to drop the weapon. He dropped it, stepped back and explained that the gun wasn't his, Nelson says.
Phillips rose from the ground and walked across Couch Street. Lance fired her Taser, striking him in the side.
"He just looked at her until he got across the street," Nelson says.
Ordered to drop to his knees, Phillips complied and was strapped to a stretcher.
The incident took place near where Robert Williams, 40, was severely beaten on New Years Eve. The Oregon City man died in the hospital a short time later. Then on June 26, John Pinkey, 33, was stabbed near the same location.
"These are no jokes. These people down here are getting serious," Nelson says.