Car bookings

Man charged with shooting gun at Portland police officer after traffic stop ordered detained without bail

A Portland police officer leaned his upper body through the open driver’s window of a silver Lexus after the man behind the wheel gave him a false name, did not put his hands on his head as instructed and quickly dropped his right hand to his leg and hip area, according to newly unsealed records and court testimony.

Officer Ami Ramic told detectives he believed the driver he pulled over May 6 for traffic violations and no license plates in northeast Portland was looking for a firearm.

Ramic grabbed the driver’s right wrist with his left hand and attempted to control the driver’s right arm with his other hand. It was then that Ramic saw the driver holding a gun in his right hand.

The driver, identified as Matthew Leahey, 36, pointed the gun at Ramic’s head and pulled the trigger at least twice, Multnomah County Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Lowe said.

Leahey pushed Ramic’s right arm down and said he felt the ‘percussion’ of the gunshots in his left ear and quickly ducked under the driver’s door window, according to an affidavit from Search warrant.

The officer crawled down the street to the back of the Lexus, got to his feet and ran to the passenger side of his unmarked police cruiser.

Ramic and three other officers fired back at Leahey because Leahey “acted in an additional threatening manner,” a search warrant affidavit states.

The affidavit doesn’t say what Leahey continued to do, but a woman sitting in the Lexus behind Leahey told investigators he was “shooting wildly,” and she put her head between his legs. She said a female officer pulled her out of the car and once outside she heard more gunshots, according to the affidavit.

Neighbors described hearing about two dozen gunshots in the residential Roseway neighborhood along Northeast Mason Street between 78th and 79th Avenues around 9:15 p.m. that evening.

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Leahey, shot multiple times by police, ended up out of the car on the street, leaning against the open driver’s door of the Lexus, a gun planted next to his left leg, according to the affidavit. Police used a pole to draw the gun away from Leahey before officers moved in and allowed paramedics to approach and provide emergency medical treatment. Residents saw the driver lifted onto a stretcher, wearing a neck brace and bare chest except for bullet wound patches.

Ramic, board member for 12 years; Michelle Petty, board member for five years; Whitney Anderson, board member for three years; and five-year bureau member John Bartlett – all fired, police said. No officers were affected.

Investigators recovered a .380 caliber Glock handgun and found two used .380 caliber cartridge cases on the driver’s side floor of the Lexus, and two used .380 caliber cartridge cases on the front passenger floor, according to the affidavit.

Police did not specify the number of shots fired by officers.

Leahey underwent surgery and was hospitalized for three weeks for his injuries, before being jailed on May 27. The police, the prosecutor nor his lawyer indicated where Leahey had been injured. He was able to walk into court and had a visible bandage on his right arm.

On Thursday, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Katharine von Ter Stegge ordered Leahey held without bond on a seven-count indictment at the end of a remand hearing.

Typically, aggravated murder, murder, or treason are the charges that could result in no bail in state court.

Yet a prosecutor can also ask a judge to deny release and not set bail if a defendant is charged with another violent crime and can show “clear and convincing evidence” that there is a danger that the accused causes physical or sexual injury to the victim or limbs. public, in accordance with state law.

Leahey pleaded not guilty to two counts of attempted aggravated murder with a firearm stemming from his alleged shooting of a gun at Ramic and Officer Petty. He also pleaded not guilty to two counts of unlawful use of a firearm and one count of attempted first degree assault with a firearm, second degree assault and be a criminal in possession of a firearm.

Joe Muldavin, Matthew R. Leahey’s attorney, argued that Leahey caused no serious physical injury to Officer Ami Ramic or anyone else and that the “attempt” charges he faces do not are not violent crimes.

Leahey’s attorney, Joe Muldavin, of the Metropolitan Public Defender’s Office, urged the judge to allow Leahey’s bail. He argued that Leahey did not cause serious physical injury to Ramic or anyone else and that the “attempt” charges filed did not constitute violent crimes. He also argued that the state could not prove that Leahey would be a danger to others in the future.

Under the right conditions, such as electronic monitoring, Leahey could and should be released pending trial, Muldavin said.

But Lowe countered that although Leahey did not physically harm anyone, he threatened serious physical harm “when he pulled out a gun, pointed it at (Ramic’s) face and head, then pulled the trigger to shoot him at least twice.”

“That, on its face, is a violent crime,” he said.

Leahey has 16 felony convictions and five prior misdemeanors. Three of his previous convictions relate to being an armed criminal: in 2014, 2016 and 2017. He was also convicted in 2007 of unlawful use of a firearm and four previous convictions for trying to escape the police. police. A warrant for his arrest was issued in October for a probation violation.

“What he’s shown repeatedly…is that he doesn’t obey the law,” Lowe told the judge.

The owner of the Lexus was in the front passenger seat of the car and got out as soon as Leahey stopped the car on Mason Street. She thought the unmarked car following them might belong to her boyfriend and didn’t know it was the police, Portland Det. Jeff Sharp testified in court. The woman remained outside the Lexus throughout the confrontation with police. She told police she let Leahey drive her car because she was drunk, according to the affidavit.

She later told Sharp that she feared testifying against Leahey at the grand jury. “If he’s ready to shoot the police, what would he do to me if I testify?” she asked, according to Sharp.

The judge ruled that shooting a police officer at very close range is a “serious physical injury scenario” and concluded that Leahey’s charges amount to violent crimes, even though no physical harm was done. This, coupled with Leahey’s persistent convictions for illegal possession of firearms, as well as his multiple attempts to evade the police, and the fear of another passenger in the car, convinced her that he would pose a danger to the public if released from prison pending trial.

Ramic and the other Targeted Response Team officers returned to work. An internal police investigation into the shooting is still ongoing. Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, said he didn’t know the full details of the case, but said: “As a general rule, most police departments would not advise hitting a vehicle at engine. The risk to the officer and the passenger is high and not recommended.

–Maxine Bernstein

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