No charges for Mystic bouncer who shot gunman

FILE - This mug shot from April 2013 shows 43-year-old Thomas Elliott Hjelmeland, who is suspected of opening fire at a Portland strip club on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, injuring three people. (Multnomah County Jail)
FILE - This mug shot from April 2013 shows 43-year-old Thomas Elliott Hjelmeland, who is suspected of opening fire at a Portland strip club on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, injuring three people. (Multnomah County Jail)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A bouncer who shot and killed a gunman earlier this month at a Portland strip club will not face charges.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday that a grand jury concluded that 31-year-old Jonathan Baer was justified in his use of deadly force against 43-year-old Thomas Hjelmeland.

On the night of Jan. 11, Hjelmeland opened fire in the Mystic Gentleman’s Club in Southeast Portland, critically injuring 26-year-old Brian Rizzo, a fellow security guard. Two patrons also sustained minor injuries.

According to Portland police, earlier that night, Hjelmeland had been denied entry to the bar. He then returned, wearing a Halloween-style mask and carrying a revolver. He shot three times at Rizzo, injuring him and two bystanders, 31-year-old Gonzalo Zamora-Hernandez and 27-year-old Nichole Danielle Procter.

As Hjelmeland was leaving, he was shot in the back by Baer, who has a concealed weapons permit. Hjelmeland died from his injuries Jan. 16.

Meanwhile, Rizzo remains in critical condition at a Portland hospital.

In newly released details Friday, Portland police said they searched Hjelmeland’s car, which was found parked near Mystic on the night of the shooting. Inside, they discovered plastic baggies containing .38, .357 and .38 ammunition, as well as ten, 31-round fully-loaded Glock pistol magazines and another Halloween mask. However, police never found a semi-automatic handgun.

A fundraising concert for Rizzo is scheduled for Feb. 27 at the Bossanova Ballroom, located at 722 E. Burnside St. A donation fund for Rizzo has also been set up through Wells Fargo Bank.

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