On October 31, Portland Police Bureau notified Community Safety that they were on campus searching for a male suspect. Police used a K-9 to track the male suspect into the canyon and had several police officers on campus. The suspect was wanted for assaulting his girlfriend, and a vehicle associated with a previous assault had been found parked in the East Lot. Community Safety staff was present to assist police in navigating the campus, but they were not directly involved in the investigation or arrest.
“I was worried at first that something really terrible had happened,” explained sophomore Russ Foust, sharing the experience of many other students who arrived on campus that morning through the north entrance on Steele. Residents of the Naito and Sullivan dorms, like Maya Saxe, reported feeling frightened and confused by the armed police officers roaming the canyon with no explanation. It was not for another hour until students received a vaguely worded email of why Portland police were on campus, with Director of Communications and Media Relations Kevin Myers stating that “Portland Police Bureau tracked an individual on campus today during the noon-hour. The suspect is now in police custody. There is no danger to campus.”
The male suspect briefly evaded the K-9 by going into the lake near the south shore between the Blue Bridge and the Fish Ladder. However, Director of Community Safety Gary Granger and other police officers were waiting on the north shore. When the suspect saw police waiting on both shores, he swam back to the north shore where police and the dog were waiting. The suspect surrendered without a struggle and was arrested by police.
The suspect and his girlfriend have been popping up on campus since this past summer. Granger had a particularly frightening experience this summer, when he approached the couple walking out of the area of the Birchwood apartments. When he introduced himself as a Community Safety Officer and questioned both suspects about their purpose in the apartments, the girlfriend threatened to assault Granger and caused the male suspect to pull her away down the sidewalk. This pattern of aggressive behavior has also been witnessed by Grounds Manager Zac Perry and by other Community Safety staff. The couple became violent when they assaulted two Reed employees a number of weeks ago, with the male suspect having struck two employees after a parking incident. It remains unclear why the couple kept returning to campus time and time again. However, the suspects have been accused of theft on campus, vandalism of a staff member’s car, and loosening vehicle lug nuts. There has been no direct evidence linking either suspects to these accusations, but Granger stipulated it was still plausible. As of late last week, they remained in custody.