Man shot dead by police at Portland market arrested, charged with threat and unlawful use of weapon

The man gunned down by police on Tuesday night in a small market north of Steel Bridge smashed a bottle of beer or wine and was holding the ragged glass before an officer fired his handgun, sources told The Oregonian / OregonLive.

Police identified him as Joshua Lyle Merritt, 32, on Wednesday and placed him in Multnomah County Detention Center on allegations of unlawful use of a weapon, felony and threat, misdemeanor at 12:24 pm His appearance is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. .

Police did not describe Merritt’s injuries in the shooting or the number of times he was shot.

Merritt refused to leave McCormick Pier Grocery & Deli less than 30 minutes before closing time, police said.

One officer fired a Taser stun gun at Merritt, and the other officer fired a handgun, according to sources familiar with the investigation but not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

On Wednesday evening, police identified the officer who fired his gun as Craig Lehman, who has worked for the police station for nearly nine years.

It is not known how close the officers were to Merritt when they fired. The market has only three narrow aisles.

After being shot, Merritt settled in the back of the store, where police and paramedics provided emergency medical treatment before an ambulance took him to a local hospital, police said.

The middle of three aisles inside the McCormick Pier Grocery & Deli off Northwest Naito Parkway.

Police were called to the Northwest Naito Parkway corner market, just north of the Steel Bridge ramp, at 9:36 p.m. Tuesday. The market closes at 10 p.m.

A caller reported that a man refused to leave and “ate food” without paying, then lay down on the floor.

Two agents from the Central City arrived and tried to talk to the man and get him to leave. At one point, the man broke a glass bottle inside the market.

It is not known whether he threatened the police with the shattered glass or what exactly precipitated the shots.

Police spokesman Lt. Greg Pashley said he did not have this information and the shooting was still under investigation. Sgt. Kevin Allen, another spokesperson for the office, said any further details about the shooting “may be released if investigators share them with us.”

Israel Horton, a maintenance worker at the surrounding McCormick Pier condominium complex, said the man had an argument with a worker in the market and “then he just sat on the floor and started to open the door. food and started eating and refused to leave, so the cops came.

Ying Hum, who works in a foot massage parlor next to the market, said that she did not hear anything unusual and did not hear the gunshots. She wonders if it’s because she plays music in the living room, which closes at 10 p.m.

“When I opened the door I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, what happened’ because there were so many police outside, ‘she said. . “I was really scared.”

The mobile enclosure of the police station was parked in front of the market.

Others who live or work in the neighborhood said police are called to the market frequently.

Horton has said almost every day that he has to ask people to leave the sidewalks of the McCormick Pier apartment and condo complex that runs along the Willamette River north of the steel bridge. He said he once found a homeless man in the resort pool.

A week and a half earlier, a market customer assaulted a cashier and the police were called, Horton said. Others who sleep in tents under the steel bridge often buy alcohol at the market and hang out and drink, neighbors said.

Horton said the other night he had to end a fight between two men who were “drunk and angry and fighting in the middle of the road” near the train tracks just south of the market.

“It was an ongoing ordeal,” said Horton. “It’s sad. These are mental health services that we need more than anything.

“We’re trying to watch the area and try to help as much as we can and keep people out as much as possible. I try not to harass them. I just ask them to leave with kindness. We are all people, ”he said. “I feel bad for the person who was shot and I feel bad for the policeman. “

A store worker declined comment on Wednesday as a steady stream of customers came to buy sodas and snacks throughout the day. Market owner Pil Jae Bae, back behind the cash register Wednesday night, declined to comment.

Merritt’s arrest in Portland marked the first time he was held in a Multnomah County jail, a prison official said. He never filed a case in county court, but in 2011 he pleaded guilty to robbery at a Kmart pharmacy in Cochise County, Arizona.

–Maxine Bernstein

Email mbernstein@oregonian.com; 503-221-8212

Follow on Twitter @maxoregonian



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