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SHOOTING UPDATE: Officers identified in shooting of knife-wielding man

Four local police officers identified in the shooting of Rogelio Rodriguez Martinez, who allegedly advanced on an officer with a knife


The officers and deputies involved in a shooting early Saturday morning in front of the Oak Meadows Best Western hotel in St. Helens were identified in a press release Wednesday morning as St. Helens Police Sgt. Rick Graham, St. Helens Police Officer Stephanie LaVallee, Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Haas and Columbia County Reserve Deputy Tyler Miller.

The suspect in Saturday's officer-involved shooting, identified earlier this week as Rogelio Rodriguez Martinez, also known as “Rocky Martinez,” is a 60-year-old St. Helens resident.

Martinez reportedly remains in critical condition at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.

Graham, 48, has served the city of St. Helens since August 1990. LaVallee, 35, has served the city of St. Helens since November 2009. Haas, 32, has served with the Sheriff's Office since September 2010 and Miller, 29, is a reserve volunteer deputy who has served with the Sheriff's Office since November 2011.

The officers have been placed on paid administrative leave per Columbia County's policy outlined in a 2008 Deadly Force Response Plan. The plan provides a framework for a consistent response to an officer’s use of deadly force, ensures the equitable treatment of the officers and promotes public confidence in the criminal justice system, according to Wednesday's press release.

According to an earlier press release, Martinez was brandishing a large knife when he was shot shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

St. Helens police officers initially responded to the 2700 block of Sykes Road in St. Helens following a report of a despondent man armed with a long knife. According to the police, when the officers arrived Martinez confronted and threatened them.

Columbia County Sheriff's Office deputies arrived on the scene for backup support.

The responding officers tried to establish a rapport and negotiate with Martinez as he walked towards the Best Western Oak Meadows Inn in at 585 S. Columbia River Hwy., a police press release says.

As the officers attempted to calm Martinez, establish communication and get him to surrender the knife, Martinez advanced on one of the officers, according to a release. As the officer retreated, trying to gain time and space, other officers used a Taser to try to stop the suspect.

The man did not respond to the Taser, which had no apparent effect. The man continued to approach the officers, then aggressively charged at them while wielding the long knife, the release says.

The officers fired their handguns to stop the man. Officers then administered first aid until paramedics arrived. Martinez was transported to Emanuel Hospital for treatment, according to the release.

The investigation into this incident is ongoing.

For additional information about the shooting, pick up Friday's issue of The Spotlight.