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Children caught in middle of standoff with armed man


A 44-year-old Southeast Portland man died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after holding police at bay for several hours early Sunday morning.

Portland police said John Wimberly Smith died inside his apartment in the 13400 block of Southeast Stark Street. He refused to come out of the apartment after a domestic disturbance call as police tried to negotiate for more than five hours.

Three children in the apartment with Smith slept through most the ordeal and were eventually able to leave unharmed shortly before 9 a.m. No one else was injured in the incident.

Police were called at about 2:32 a.m., to the apartment where a woman told police that Smith assaulted her and threatened her with a gun. Smith remained inside the victim's residence armed with a handgun, but the victim was able to get outside to call police. The children, ages 11 and younger, were asleep inside the apartment.

As officers tried to talk with Smith, he refused to leave the apartment. At about 3:51 a.m., police called in the Special Emergency Reaction Team and crisis negotiators.

Negotiators talked with Smith and were able to call some members of Smith's family to help in the negotiations.

At about 8:50 a.m., the three children came out and were quickly moved out of the area by officers. The children said when they woke, Smith told them they could not leave. After about 45 minutes, he told them they could leave if they wanted to.

After the children were out of the apartment, Smith would no longer talk to officers. At about 9:30 a.m., after not hearing anything from Smith or seeing any movement in the apartment, SERT officers fired tear gas into the apartment.

At about 10 a.m., a robot with a camera was sent into the apartment and found Smith deceased inside a windowless bathroom from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Traffic was blocked in the area for several hours during the standoff.