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State trooper pepper-sprayed in incident in Tigard

Suspect, John Michael Auer, taken into custody after a police search.


This story has been updated from its original version.

A 23-year-old man allegedly pepper-sprayed an Oregon State Police trooper during an altercation in Tigard on Tuesday afternoon before being arrested.

The man, identified as John Michael Auer, was previously wanted by police on two outstanding warrants. He now faces charges of assaulting a public safety officer, two counts of burglary and escape, in addition to those warrants. Additional charges are possible.

Upon his arrest, police reported that Auer exhibited signs of a medical condition and was transported to a local hospital; he will be lodged in the Washington County Jail following his release.

According to a press release from the Tigard Police Department, the incident began at 4:15 p.m. when an on-duty Oregon State Trooper spotted a suspicious vehicle along Southwest 129th Avenue (stretching between Southwest Gaarde Street and Southwest Morningstar Drive near Bull Mountain) in Tigard. After checking the vehicle registration, according to the release, the trooper attempted to contact the lone male in the vehicle.

Jim Wolf, a spokesman for the Tigard Police Department, said the suspect “exploded out of the car” and physically attacked the trooper. Both men continued to fight in the street, and at some point, the trooper deployed a Taser but it was ineffective, according to the release. Both men reportedly continued to struggle until the suspect took out a can of pepper spray and shot the irritant into trooper’s face.

The trooper made a call for assistance while the suspect fled the scene, according to police, and arriving patrol units worked to secure the area. Upon receiving emergency calls about a shirtless man alleged to have entered at least two homes near where the incident began, police said, they were able to locate Auer.

According to the Tigard Police Department, Auer was spotted entering a garage in the area. He then reportedly fled through a window and attempted to hide near a neighboring house until police caught up with him and placed him under arrest.

A telephone alert message was sent out to residents of the area advising them to shelter in place during the incident.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information and to clarify the police account. It has also corrected the suspect's age, which was listed incorrectly in the original report.