Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

2 girls likely dead before police gunfire end in dad's death

GRESHAM, Ore. — A woman asked for help after her suicidal husband and their two young daughters vanished Wednesday, leading to police gunfire that ended with the man's death and the discovery of the girls' bodies in the back seat of his burning SUV, authorities said.

The girls, ages 8 and 11, were likely dead before officers spotted the vehicle near Portland, according to Gresham police Sgt. John Rasmussen. It wasn't clear if the gunfire killed the 42-year-old man or if he shot himself, but autopsies set for today will paint a fuller picture of the circumstances surrounding the deaths, he said.

A Portland woman reported that her suicidal husband threatened to hurt the girls before they went missing, Rasmussen said. Authorities searching for the three found the SUV in a gas station parking lot.

When an officer got out of his patrol car, the man lit his own vehicle on fire, Rasmussen said. At least one officer opened fire, then police began searching for the girls and extinguishing the flames.

"They broke into the vehicle, they extracted the daughters," he said of the officers. "Unfortunately, both the 8- and the 11-year-old daughter have been pronounced dead."

It's not yet clear if the suspect fired a weapon or how the girls died. No names have been released.

Rasmussen said the officers tried to revive all three but couldn't. No officer was injured in the shooting, though several were hurt getting the girls out of the car, he said.

Rhonda Paul lives nearby. Her apartment was cordoned off by police tape, but she made her way out for an appointment. She said she heard something in the early morning but didn't know what to make of it.

"I was in the laundry room, and I thought I heard someone say 'freeze' and then I heard a gunshot," she said. "I just got my laundry and went back upstairs."

"It's a horrible and horrific scene for all involved," Rasmussen said.

The parking lot was surrounded by several police vehicles, and officers erected a white tent canopy over the SUV as they investigated. Some of the windows appeared to be shattered.

A visibly upset man crossed the police tape to leave a handful of red roses and some candles, but he was quickly shooed away by police.

2 girls likely dead before police gunfire end in dad's death 04/12/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 9:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Waiting for the eclipse: 'Everyone thinks this is cool'

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Hunter Holland came to school Monday with a NASA space T-shirt and solar viewers in his button-up shirt pocket. But he'd rather be in Missouri.

    Jayda Hebert (front, center), 11, uses her protective glasses to watch Monday's solar eclipse with her cousin, Judah Adams (back left), 11, and her brother Jake Hebert (right), 9, while with their family at St. Petersburg Beach. "We're skipping school for the eclipse," her mom, Sarah Hebert, said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  2. Second person resigns from Hillsborough diversity council after Confederate activist appointed

    Blogs

    TAMPA — A second person has resigned symbolically from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the appointment of a known activist of Confederate causes to the panel. 

    Two people have resigned from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the inclusion of David McCallister, a leader of the local branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
  3. Everyone on Twitter is making this same eclipse joke

    Blogs

    Today's total solar eclipse is, of course, a social media event as much as it is a natural phenomenon. Twitter even rolled out an #eclipse hashtag that automatically adds an eclipse emoji.

    The solar eclipse is inspiring Twitter humor.
  4. Live video: See how the solar eclipse is unfolding across the country

    Space

    Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

    The moon is seen as it starts passing in front of the sun during a solar eclipse from Ross Lake, Northern Cascades National Park, in Washington on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. [Bill Ingalls | NASA via AP]
  5. Photo gallery: First images of the total solar eclipse

    Space

    Americans gazed in wonder through telescopes, cameras and disposable protective glasses Monday as the moon blotted out the midday sun in the first full-blown solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. from coast to coast in nearly a century.

    The moon covers the sun during a total eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore.  [Ted S. Warren | Associated Press]