Targets partner fires back, kills shooter

A Hillsboro police officer is fortunate to be alive after a former Forest Grove resident opened fire on her after she pulled over the car he was riding in.

At 9:40 p.m. Friday, two Hillsboro police officers stopped a vehicle with four individuals inside on 13th Avenue near Southeast Maple Street in Hillsboro.

As one officer approached the car, a green 1992 Honda Accord, and began talking to the people inside, a man in the front passenger seat pulled out a .22-caliber revolver and allegedly began firing at one of them.

“The officer was in the process of getting the folks out of the car to find out who was who,” explained Lt. Mike Rouches, spokesman for the Hillsboro Police Department. “He’s (the suspect) standing up and getting out of the car, and that’s when he pulled a revolver and started shooting.”

The officer was able to pull back and get away from the car and the suspect’s bullets missed her. At the same time, the officer’s partner returned fire with his handgun.

“Every second counts there,” Rouches said. “The cover officer had the presence of mind to figure out exactly what was going on, and acted very quickly and very decisively.”

No one else from the car was hit.

The suspect was later identified as Victor Torres-Elizondo, also known as Victor Torres, 30. Law enforcement officials said he most recently lived in Woodburn, and had lived in Forest Grove prior to that. Rouches said Torres last lived in Forest Grove in 2009, and had moved around Washington County in recent years.Court records indicated that Torres had a prior felony conviction. On March 30, 2009, he was convicted of felony possession of a controled substance. At that time, he was reportedly living on 19th Place in Forest Grove.

After he was hit, Torres was given first aid at the scene and then was transported to Emanuel Hospital in Portland, where he later died from his wounds.

Neither of the two officers was hit by the suspect’s bullets.

According to Rouches, the car was stopped for a minor traffic infraction.

“The car had a burned-out license plate light,” Rouches explained. “It was not a felony stop, just a traffic stop. We’ll never know why the bad guy decided to fire on a cop, but obviously he thought we knew something. We had no idea who was in the car. If we did, we would have initiated a felony stop.”

The other three occupants of the vehicle — two women and a man — were detained for several hours by Hillsboro police for questioning and further investigation, and were released at around 6 a.m. Saturday.

Rouches said there was no probable cause to arrest them.

“They were compliant. They didn’t act in concert with the shooter, and it was believable they didn’t know he would do that,” Rouches said. “They were not causing a problem or disturbance, and they were not arrested or charged with any crime.”

Rouches added that it was lucky there were two officers together in the patrol car that evening.

“That’s not typical,” he said. “Sometimes we’ll have people double up, but often we run one-person cars. This made all the difference in the world to have two people — someone contacting the vehicle and someone watching. In my view, that saved the cop’s life. If not for that, it may have ended differently.”

The identity of the two police officers involved had not been released as of press time Tuesday.

The case remains under investigation by the Hillsboro Police Department’s detectives and the Washington County Major Crimes Team.

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