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Police: Fugitive shot near hospital was not armed

by: COURTESY OF PPB - Bank robbery suspect and fugitive Merle Hatch confronted a nurse in the hallway of Portland Adventist Hospital Sunday night. Hatch was shot and killed by police officers as he charged them on a street near the hospital.A 50-year-old fugitive and suspected bank robber used a broken telephone handset to scare hospital staff into thinking he had a gun Sunday night, escaping into the street where he was shot to death in a confrontation with Portland police.

Portland Police Bureau officials said Wednesday afternoon that Merle Mikal Hatch bluffed his way out the emergency room of Portland Adventist Medical Center on Southeast Market Street, then stood outside taunting officers before the shooting.

by: COURTESY OF PPB - Merle Hatch had been released from federal prison on Feb. 12, but failed to report to a halfway house.Hatch died at around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, after he was shot while charging about 65 yards down a street at officers near the hospital. Hatch was shot when he was about 14 yards from the officers.

A video taken by a resident in the area shows an agitated Hatch shouting at police officers responding to the emergency call from hospital security officers.

Detectives investigating the shooting said Wednesday that they did not find a gun in the area where Hatch was shot. Instead, they discovered a broken black telephone handset that Hatch apparently used to simulate a gun while frightening hospital staff.

Hatch was released Feb. 12 from the Sheridan Federal Detention Facility and was listed as a fugitive when he failed to report to his halfway house.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, police officials and Mayor Charlie Hales said the police bureau would review the shooting as part of its use of force investigation. Information gathered in the investigation would be presented to a Multnomah County grand jury.

by: COURTESY OF PPB - Portland detectives said fugitive Merle Hatch used a broken telephone handset, bottom, to bluff his way out of a hospital a short time before he was shot during a confrontation with police officers. Detectives used an intact phone receiver, top, as a comparison in the shooting investigation.The three officers involved in the shooting remain on paid administrative leave until the grand jury completes it work, which is standard police procedure.

Portland robbery detectives said Hatch was a suspect in the Feb. 13 robbery of the Albina Community Bank on Northeast Sandy Boulevard.

Clackamas County sheriff’s deputies said Hatch also was a suspect in the Feb. 15 robbery of the Wells Fargo Bank on Southeast Sunnyside Road in Clackamas.




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