Date: December 24, 2020
Subject: David Dahlen, 24
Involved Bureau Member: Officer Jennifer Pierce
On December 24, 2020, at about 8:51 p.m., Portland Police responded to a call regarding a stolen vehicle, described as a 1988, white, Chevrolet pickup. Officers found the vehicle in 3900 Block of Southeast Powell Boulevard, in a gas station parking lot. When officers found the pickup at the gas station it was occupied by two people.
Within minutes after arriving an officer reported that police had been involved in a shooting. Officers on the scene reported the suspect vehicle rammed a police patrol vehicle and officer.
Officer Jennifer Pierce, a 15-year veteran, discharged her firearm during this incident, but did not strike the suspect. Officer Pierce was injured when at some point she was struck by the suspect vehicle. She was transported to a hospital by ambulance and admitted with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.
The stolen pickup fled the scene and was found unoccupied over an hour later near Southeast 54th Avenue and Southeast Belmont Street. Officers searched the area with a K9, but did not find anyone.
On Saturday, January 2, 2021, at 1:30p.m., East Precinct officers located and arrested 24-year-old David Dahlen in the attempted murder of Officer Pierce. Dahlen was captured after a short foot pursuit in the area of Southeast 101st Avenue and Southeast Insley Street.
Dahlen was transported to the Detective Division in the Justice Center downtown for an interview. Dahlen was placed in a holding cell--a secure room while detectives prepared to interview him and gather necessary paperwork for booking into the Multnomah County Detention Center.
While Dahlen was in the holding room, two members of a contracted cleaning crew were doing COVID-19 disinfecting in the Detective Division. One of the cleaning crew members opened the door to the holding room, then closed it again after they realized the room was occupied. Investigators believe that the door did not fully latch after it was closed. Sometime after the cleaning crew members left, investigators believe Dahlen pushed the door from the inside and got out, escaping down the stairs and exiting out of the building on the south side.
In the morning hours of Friday, January 8, 2021, the United States Marshal's Fugitive Task Force located Dahlen inside a vehicle at Lents Park. They notified the Portland Police Bureau and members of the Homicide Unit, Tactical Operations Division, K9 Unit, and East Precinct patrol responded to assist.
At about 8:50a.m., the U.S. Marshals attempted to block the vehicle Dahlen was in, however, the driver of the vehicle was able to escape the Marshals' efforts. The vehicle fled from the area, heading eastbound on Southeast Holgate Boulevard. Officers assigned to East Precinct set up spike strips near the 11000 block of Southeast Holgate Boulevard, which the vehicle occupied by Dahlen ran over. The vehicle's tires deflated, the driver attempted to swerve around another vehicle, lost control, and crashed into a retaining wall and a power pole near the 11400 block of Southeast Holgate Street. The impact damaged the pole and knocked wires onto the street. Dahlen fled from the crashed vehicle and an East Precinct officer took him into custody a short distance away. Another person in the car was also detained.
Dahlen was transported to an area hospital and later to the Multnomah County Detention Center. Dahlen was wanted for Attempted Murder, Assault I, Attempt Assault on a Public Safety Officer, Unlawful use of a Motor Vehicle, and Escape II.
As part of the use of force review process, the Bureau will conduct an internal review of the entire incident and the case will go before the Police Review Board (PRB), which is composed of community members, Bureau members and representatives from the Independent Police Review Division.
The Portland Police Bureau's directive outlining the procedures followed after an officer-involved shooting may be found in Directive 1010.10.