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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Another Report of a Van Following Kids Near Wilson High—the Morning After Police Shot a Man They Said Was Following Kids Near Wilson High

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 3:30 PM

The Portland Police Bureau was definitive in a statement this morning on last night's fatal shooting of Kelly Vern Swoboda. Swoboda was confronted by an officer near Wilson High School after reports about a van driver tailing students prompted the cops to step up patrols in Southwest's Hillsdale neighborhood.

Portland Police Detectives have confirmed that the suspect was also the person involved in the associated reports of a suspicious van following kids.

Either they were wrong, and the shootout between Officer John Romero and Swoboda (wanted in connection with a violent Milwaukie kidnapping attempt and a bank robbery in Eugune) was a huge coincidence. Or someone's decided to mess with the cops in a horrible way.

The bureau just sent out a notice that a white or maybe green van (green was the color in yesterday's warning) was reported following a student near Wilson. In response, more cops will be heading to the area, just like yesterday.

This morning, Wednesday March 13, 2014, at approximately 8:00 a.m., Central Precinct officers responded to a report of a white male associated with a white or light green van approaching a student walking to Wilson High School.

The school has notified parents and the Police Bureau wants to make sure the public knows they are aware of the incident. Additionally, Central Precinct and Youth Service Division will be in the area providing an enhanced presence.

I've got a message into the bureau about what the working theory for this might be. But it's definitely curious. Yesterday's police shooting was the city's first since March 4, 2013—ending Portland's second-longest stretch since 1992, when Portland Copwatch began keeping records.

Update 9 AM, Friday: Sergeant Greg Stewart, a police spokesman, emailed the following reply last night:

We believe that Swoboda was the person the officers were looking for in regards to the incident at Wilson HS.

For the second incident, we are still investigating.

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