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Fairview officer fires three shots, hitting man at apartment

Fairview Police Officer Brian Gerkman remains on paid administrative leave after shooting a man three times when the man lunged at him with a knife inside a Fairview apartment on Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Hired in February 2012, Gerkman also was involved in a shooting a month ago, Police Chief Ken Johnson said.

In the November incident, Gerkman fired his weapon at a driver who allegedly tried to run him over in attempt to elude police during a traffic stop.

In that incident, Gerkman’s bullet bounced off the driver’s windshield. The driver was later arrested after crashing his car into another police vehicle, injuring an officer.

Johnson released details Thursday, Dec. 5, on the investigation into Tuesday morning’s shooting at the Fairview Oaks Apartment complex.

Gerkman was interviewed by the East County Major Crimes Team earlier Thursday morning regarding the Dec. 3 incident.

At approximately 3 a.m. Dec. 3, Gerkman was dispatched to a welfare check at 22719 N.E. Halsey St., apartment No. 104.

Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy Pete Reed and Deputy Kevin Baird were dispatched to assist, Johnson said.

“The call was a welfare check to an individual who was having some difficulty, talking to themself, acting strange,” Johnson said during a briefing Tuesday morning at Fairview City Hall.

The officers did not know if the man was suffering from mental health issues or was under the influence of narcotics, Johnson said in the update.

A man police have identified as Tyler Brown, a resident of Federal Way, Wash., answered the door and let Gerkman and the deputies into his apartment, Johnson said.

Johnson said before officers could stop him, Brown disappeared into the kitchen and grabbed a large kitchen knife.

Gerkman drew his gun and ordered Brown to drop the knife, Johnson said.

In the confined kitchen space with little distance between the two men, Brown allegedly lunged at Gerkman with the knife.

Johnson said Gerkman fired three rounds, striking Brown.

The wounded man struggled with officers as they attempted to give him medical aid. Brown was transported to a local hospital where he is in stable condition, Johnson said.

On Nov. 11, Gerkman tried to stop a man driving a Chrysler 300 for traffic violations and for allegedly possessing stolen license plates.

The driver fled and police pursued him into a dead-end road, where the driver allegedly turned his car to face Gerkman’s patrol car.

Johnson said Gerkman got out of his patrol car thinking the driver would surrender, but the driver sped up and drove his car directly at the officer.

To save his life, Gerkman fired one round at the suspect’s vehicle, just a few feet from him, Johnson said. The driver swerved and barely missed Gerkman, Johnson added.

The suspect sped away and ultimately smashed his car into a Multnomah County Sheriff patrol car at the intersection of 223rd Street and Sandy Boulevard, injuring the deputy.

Gerkman was placed on administrative leave following the Nov. 11 incident.

A grand jury found that the driver had used his car as a weapon against Gerkman. Subsequently, Johnson reviewed the circumstances and determined Gerkman was within Fairview Police Department’s policy and was justified in the use of force.

Gerkman was returned to duty.

Johnson said Gerkman will remain on administrative leave pending a grand jury investigation and a Fairview Police Department Use of Force Review Board.

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