Police identify suspect in officer-involved shooting
Portland police have identified the suspect in Wednesday's fatal officer-involved shooting as a mentally ill man they have previously tried to help.
Police say Samuel E. Rice, 30, was killed in a Southeast Portland motel room while holding a woman hostage with a knife.The Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office has determined Rice died of a gunshot wound.
The officer involved in the shooting is Kelly VanBlokland, a 24-year-veteran of the Police Bureau Bureau, who is currently assigned to the Training Division and is a detached member of the Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT). VanBlokland will remain on paid administrative leave, as is standard procedure, until the conclusion of the investigation.
Investigators have learned that the bureau previously contacted Rice multiple times, and that recently the bureau's Behavioral Health Unit attempted to link him and his girlfriend to services. Although Rice declined the unit's assistance, the officers provided Rice's care providers with information about his recent behavior. Officers have transported Rice to area hospitals on multiple occasions in the past for treatment of perceived mental illness, police say.
Members of the Detective Division's Homicide Detail, the East County Major Crimes Team, and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office are continue to investigate Wednesday morning's hostage situation and officer-involved shooting in Southeast Portland.
According to police, East Precinct officers were called at about 9:11 a.m. Oct. 10, to the neighborhood near the Del Rancho Motel, 7622 S.E. 82nd Ave., where two people were apparently fighting. One of the two was armed with a knife and had attempted to stab another person. A person matching the suspect's description went into a room at the motel.
Officers went to the motel and discovered that the suspect was in a room holding a woman hostage. When police tried to talk to the suspect, the woman's life was threatened.
Members of the Special Emergency Reaction Team and Crisis Negotiation Team also assisted in the incident. At some point during the confrontation, an officer fired a shot, killing the suspect.
Police say this remains an active, ongoing investigation. Additional information regarding this case will be released pending a review by a grand jury, which is tentatively scheduled for mid- to late November.
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