Fairview officer shot in Rockwood expected to survive
Crash, shooting outside Barberry Village complex rattles residents
When trying to describe the gunshot exchange he heard following a Wednesday night car crash in Rockwood, Abel Ruiz sidesteps language.
Chk-chk-chk-chk-chk like that, the Guatemalan immigrant said of the incident, in which a police officer exchanged shots with a fleeing motorist. I dont know what that translates to in English.
Wearing basketball shorts and flip flops with socks, Ruiz walks from his Barberry Village apartment, where he's lived for three years, to the 7-Eleven across the street every morning. He said he feels safe in the Rockwood apartment complex at 224 S.E. 188th Ave., but only because life in Guatemala was so much worse. He jokes that this morning he feels especially safe because he has a police escort to the store.
For others, the police stationed at every egress on Southeast 188th Avenue was more of an annoyance than a help.
Ron Schlechter had just gotten off an overnight shift Thursday morning when he tried to go to his home, a few houses down from Barberry Village, to sleep.
He tried to drive onto Southeast 188th Avenue from Northeast Glisan Street, but officers told him to go around to East Burnside Street. When he got there, however, that entrance also was blocked off. So at 10 a.m. Thursday he had been sitting in his red pickup truck for nearly an hour in a parking lot waiting for police to tell him he could go home.
What started as a late-night vehicle crash into a wrought iron fence surrounding Barberry Village ended two blocks away with an exchange of gunfire between police and an unidentified Caucasian suspect. Fairview police officer Scott Shropshire and the suspect were injured. Both men were taken to hospitals and expected to survive. Shropshire was released from Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Gresham about 2 a.m. Thursday.
Shropshire, assigned to the East Metro Gang Enforcement Team just two weeks ago, was on patrol with his Gresham Police Department partner, who has not yet been identified, when they were dispatched on a report that a GMC Envoy crashed into a fence, and the driver was fleeing. The police pair were the first to arrive at the scene and saw the driver running in the 18900 block of Northeast Couch Lane. Moments later, a radio call indicating that the suspect had been found was followed by shots fired and officer hit, police said.
The silver Envoy remained in the spot where it crashed while police took a 3D scan of the scene for evidence.
Streets were still closed off early Thursday morning. Residents walking to the nearby MAX light-rail station on Burnside Street had to ask permission to cross police tape as others stood around unsure of how to leave their block.
Davis Elementary School students were still able to walk to their classrooms this morning. For Reynolds Middle School, a bus stop in the area was moved to outside the police closures.
Ive lived here for three years, and I dont exactly feel safe, said Mia Storm, who watched the police gather evidence behind the police tape. I have a 3 year old. We dont leave the apartment very often.
I wish I could say I was surprised, said Ben Smith, another onlooker. Im 6 feet, 7 inches (tall), and I dont feel safe around here.
Interim Fairview Police Chief Scott Anderson said he spent the night with Shropshire and his family at the hospital before he was released.
"He's got a lot of help, a lot of support, and we're going to continue that support as long as he needs it," Anderson said.
Shropshire has been with the Fairview Police Department for four years.
Fairview Mayor Ted Tosterud said he and city councilors want to convey their appreciation for Shropshire.
"This incident reminds us all of the risk our police officers take to provide law enforcement services for our communities," Tosterud said. "We are pleased the injuries do not seem to be life-threatening and wish the officer a full and speeding recovery.
Both the Gresham officer and Shropshire have been placed on leave during the initial phases of the investigation, which is standard procedure.
A Barberry Village resident who declined to give her name said she had tried to visit a friend in the complex around midnight, an hour after shots were fired Wednesday night, but couldnt get through. On Thursday morning, she tried again.
Im not surprised, she said. This area is really crazy. I have a 2 year old, and I dont want her raised in all of this.
She said her grandmother used to live in Barberry Village.
What if she was still there when this happened? the woman wondered out loud.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the police tip line at 503-618-2719.