PPB: Attempted murder suspect escapes custody
A man accused of trying to kill a Portland police officer last month escaped police custody after a holding room door didn't fully latch when it was closed, according to authorities.
David Dahlen, 24, escaped custody at Portland Police Bureau's Central Precinct on Saturday night and is still at large after he allegedly rammed a police officer's patrol car with a stolen pickup truck on Christmas Eve in Southeast Portland. The officer in the car, Officer Jennifer Pierce, is still recovering from injuries.
According to police, at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, East Precinct officers located and arrested Dahlen for the attempted murder of Officer Jennifer Pierce on Dec. 24. He was captured after a short foot pursuit in the area of Southeast 101st Avenue and Insley Street.
Investigators say Dahlen was taken to the precinct on an attempted murder warrant for questioning and was placed in a holding cell in the detectives division as detectives prepared to interview him and gather paperwork for booking into the Multnomah County Detention Center when two members of a contracted cleaning crew were doing daily enhanced COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting in the area.
One of the cleaning crew members opened the door to the holding room, then closed it again after realizing Dahlen was in there, according to a press release from Portland police on Monday; however, the door apparently didn't fully latch close. When the cleaning crew members left, Dahlen allegedly pushed the door from inside and found it was open, leaving the holding cell and finding his way to a stairwell before ultimately escaping the building through a door on the building's south side.
The building was locked down after detectives realized Dahlen was missing and a search was launched, during which investigators reviewed surveillance video showing Dahlen was out of the building, authorities said.
Only a few minutes had passed between Dahlen's escape and investigators realizing he was gone, according to the bureau.
Anyone with information on Dahlen's whereabouts is asked to immediately call 911.
In addition to facing an attempted murder charge, Dahlen faces assault in the first degree, attempted assault on a public safety officer, unlawful use of a motor vehicle and escape in the second degree.
Authorities say the bureau will perform a "comprehensive internal review" of its holding cell procedures as a result of Dahlen's escape.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their story can be found here.
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