Suspect identified in deadly Portland hit-run rampage


PORTLAND, Ore. (NewsNation Now) — Portland police identified the driver from the violent hit-and-run rampage that killed an elderly woman and injured eight others in Southeast Portland on Monday.

Police say 64-year-old Paul Rivas of Oregon City faces multiple charges including murder in the second degree and six counts assault in the second degree.

On Tuesday, police identified the person killed as 77-year-old Jean Gerich. Two of the injured were cyclists and six were pedestrians — they all suffered minor injuries and are recovering.

A vigil was held Tuesday evening.

Multiple crime scenes

Investigators said there were multiple crime scenes and that the deadly rampage began near Laurelhurst Park around 1 p.m. when the driver slammed into several people on the sidewalk along a stretch of Southeast Stark Street.

The crime scenes span for blocks, from Southeast Cesar E. Chavez Blvd and Southeast 15th Avenue, from East Burnside Street to Southeast Belmont Street. 

Police say as they were responding to the first report, they quickly received calls that the same driver was involved in other crashes of cars and pedestrians.

Authorities said they received multiple calls about an incident with the Honda Element at 32nd and Belmont, 33rd and Belmont, 37th and Pine and other points before it ended between SE 18th and 17th near Stark.

The suspect then attempted to run away on foot, but people in the neighborhood helped “corral” him until police could take him into custody, Portland Police Sgt. Derek Carmon said.

Portland Fire and Rescue Lt. Rich Chatman said once they responded to the scene at SE 18th and Stark, they quickly realized it was a “multiple patient scene.”

One witness, Charles Kuzika, told NewsNation affiliate KOIN he “saw a car coming down Washington and people moving away from where that car was. I saw a victim on the road a block away at 19th and Stark.”

Kuzika went to where he saw the victim and by the time he got there two men were already there.

“One of them seemed to know what he was doing in the medical field because he was checking on her in a gentle way and asking if she could feel this or if she could feel that and telling her she would be OK,” he said. “She said the gentleman who had hit her had come back and hit her a second time.”

Others in the neighborhood were aware of what was going on, he said, “because I could hear yelling, ‘He just got out of his car a block away!’ and people would run. And there are heroes amongst us.”

Detectives did not find evidence that this was an act of terrorism, bias indicators, and don’t believe the act was politically motivated. A blood draw has been sent to the lab for toxicology.

However, Police detectives believe the driver intentionally hit those people.

The investigation is ongoing. Police say they are looking for any video or pictures from the hit and run. Any witnesses or those who find evidence are asked to call the Portland Police Bureau at 503.823.3333 with the information.

NewsNation affiliate KOIN contributed to this report

© 1998 - 2021 Nexstar Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on