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Flash grenades end SE Portland standoff

by: COURTESY OF MCSO - Thomas Stephen EliaA 61-year-old man will be arraigned in Multnomah County Circuit Court Thursday afternoon on several charges after a 90-minute standoff with police Wednesday evening that ended when tactical officers stormed a Southeast 61st Avenue home where the man was barricaded.

Thomas Stephen Elia faces charges of fourth-degree assault (domestic violence/felony) and menacing after the standoff in which he shouted that he wanted to kill police officers surrounding his home.

The standoff began at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, when officers from the East Precinct were called to a house in the 4400 block of Southeast 61st Avenue on the report of an assault. The woman who called emergency dispatchers said her boyfriend, later identified as Elia, had assaulted her daughter and that her daughter and 16-year-old grandson were hiding in the home’s basement.

The woman also said the suspect had access to a handgun in the house and he was "out of control" trying to break down a door.

When police arrived, the daughter and grandson escaped from the house and told police that the suspect had a rifle and a handgun. The woman who called police was unable to escape and hid in the basement.

Officers attempted to call into the house to talk to the suspect but received no response. The city’s Special Emergency Reaction Team and Crisis Negotiation Team were called to the house.

Officers outside the residence could hear the suspect yelling, "I'm going to kill you," that he was "going to find you wherever you are and kill you," and that he was going to "shoot it out" with the police.

Officers asked neighbors to leave the area and used a PA system to talk with the suspect, who continued to yell, "I have a gun. I'm going to kill her and kill the police."

At about 6:35 p.m., the SERT officer stormed the house, using flash-bang grenades. The suspect was taken into custody without incident and wasn’t injured.

Police said the man was unarmed when they arrested him, but officers found a .22-caliber rifle in his vehicle. There apparently were no firearms in the house.

(Editor's note: Portland police issued a statement Friday saying Elia's age is actually 61, not 59 as first reported.)