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  • 18 Dec 2014

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Police fire on suspect during Johnson Creek traffic stop

Police say that a suspect died on the way to the hospital after Milwaukie officers shot him during a traffic stop on Southeast Johnson Creek Boulevard in Portland on Wednesday morning.Traffic was diverted from Johnson Creek to SE Roswell St

Just before 8:00 a.m., two officers from the Milwaukie Police Department stopped a vehicle at Southeast 52nd Avenue and Harney Street. But the suspect drove away after officers had determined that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest out of Lebanon, Ore., said Milwaukie Police spokeswoman Ulli Neitch. A short traffic pursuit followed to Johnson Creek Boulevard and 37th Avenue, she said, where 38-year-old Travis Blake Utley intentionally drove toward officers and rammed a police car with his vehicle.

After his vehicle was stopped, according to police accounts, the suspect driving the car was not cooperative and both officers discharged their firearms at the suspect, striking him at least once.

Officer Billy Wells, a 16-year veteran on the MPD force who handles drug-sniffing dog Shaka, and Officer Zane Odem, a five-year veteran on the force, called for cover and immediate medical response and began CPR. Medical personnel arrived and transported Utley to a Portland hospital, where he was pronounced dead. No injuries to officers were reported.

The shooting occurred in the part of Portland in Clackamas County, so the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team and the Portland Police Bureau are conducting a joint investigation into the circumstances of the shooting and what actions led the officers to discharge their weapons. When the investigation is complete, it will be reviewed by the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office.

Wells and Odem are on paid administrative leave, standard procedure for the Milwaukie Police Department. Anyone with information related to the incident is asked to call Portland Detective Chris Traynor at 503-823-0449.

Witness Kristina Young looked outside her kitchen window and saw police surrounding a white car. She told KOIN 6 News she could not hear what the officers were saying but was able to see the situation escalate quickly.

She said the suspect’s vehicle hit the Milwaukie police car. Within seconds, she said, at least one officer started shooting.

“I heard about four gunshots,” she said.

At about 9 a.m., Ardenwald Elementary School and the North Clackamas School District were in communication with the Milwaukie Police, which advised there was no need to go into a Lock Out situation. Field Day and all other activities proceeded as usual.