PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The injured Portland Police officer who shot and killed convicted felon Kelly Swoboda in an armed standoff Wednesday has been discharged from the hospital and is resting at home.
Eight-year Portland Police Youth Services Division officer John Romero suffered non life-threatening injuries to his hand and arm after he was hit by gunfire while responding to a call near the Hillsdale Library in Southeast Portland.
Romero, along with Central Precinct Officers Sze Lai, a 22-year veteran and Edgar Mitchell, a 9-year veteran, were in the area looking for a suspicious man driving a van.
That man was Kelly Swoboda, suspected of robbing a Eugene bank and kidnapping a Milwaukee woman from a tanning salon. He was wanted on a state-wide warrant for robbery.
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese said they believed Swobota was in the area stalking high school students.
How it happened
Initially, Swoboda told police he was going to visit the library. But, officers noticed the front and rear license plates of the van were different, with the front plate including numbers attributed to the van.
Police said according to witnesses, Romero gave numerous commands to Swoboda that went ignored, after which point the two fired shots at each other.
After reporting shots fired just after 4 p.m., Romero took a position of cover and officers were able to give him medical aid. Medical staff pronounced Swoboda dead at the scene.
Officers were performing extra patrols near Wilson High School due to reports of the suspicious vehicle.
Dozens of officials, including PPB detectives, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, police chiefs Mike Reese and the PPB Major Crimes Team attended the scene.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy Thursday.
Romero will remain on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete, at which point the case will go before the District Attorney’s Office and a Grand Jury.
One Wilson student said one of her friends was stalked and she is grateful for Romero.
“I think it’s great that he’s doing his job and protecting us and I’m glad he’s OK,” she said.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Mayor Hales said:
“I was at the scene of the shooting near Wilson High yesterday afternoon and evening; I got to speak with his fellow officers and the command staff, and I’ve heard the reactions of people from Wilson High School, where he is known as a valuable member of the community and a School Resource Officer. I later was at the hospital to speak to Officer Romero, his wife and his understandably concerned colleagues.
“I am thrilled to hear that Officer Romero’s health is improving.
“We await the results of the autopsy, the investigation of the shooting, and a Multnomah County grand jury review.
“I thank Officer Romero and all of his fellow officers for the service they provide every day, protecting our community.”