Portland confrontation hostage talks suspected of surrender

Miguel Sanchez was just a customer waiting for his car in a repair shop, but he ended up stuck inside the business with an armed and sometimes troubled suspect.

PORTLAND, Oregon — Rodriguez Auto Repair was quiet Wednesday — no work was done on Miguel Sanchez’s Mini Cooper. Outside the garage, off Southeast 82nd Avenue on Lambert Street, there was obvious damage to other cars. Store owner Alonso Rodriguez counted bullet holes from police rifles fired on Tuesday night.

According to the Portland Police Office, officers shot 49-year-old Robert Connelly, who was seen in a security video with an armed gun running from the police into the garage of the auto store.

A security video confirmed what police said in a statement that Connelly threatened them with a pistol and shot him even though they did not hit him.

Fortunately, store owner Rodriguez and his friend managed to escape from the garage to safety.

RELATED: Doxing concerns prompt PPB to withhold name of officer involved in fatal shooting

But Miguel Sanchez, who was waiting to finish his Mini Cooper inside, was no wiser as the suspect ran into the store.

With earbuds on, Sanchez said he didn’t hear gunfire at first. When he finally caught his eye, he got up and moved to the kitchen area inside the store.

As Sanchez was hiding in a small, tight spot under a corner table, he thought about what seemed to be his only option, saying he thought, “I should kill this guy because if I don’t, he’s going to kill me.”

At the time, Sanchez said Connelly was punching holes in the walls, trying to escape. Then he met the suspect and the hostage.

“I looked, and he looked, and we closed our eyes—and I thought, ‘Man, I’m dead,'” Sanchez said. And he said, ‘Come on, man, I won’t hurt you. “

RELATED: Police and suspect shoot out during McMinnville confrontation, no one was hurt

Over the next few hours, as crisis police negotiators and the PPB’s tactical team responded, Sanchez said he was talking to Connelly inside. And although the suspect smoked unidentified drugs from a pipe and said “he’s ready to die,” Sanchez said Connelly was listening when he shared his faith and talked about forgiveness.

Sanchez said he told the suspect, “I don’t care what you did today, I’m not worried about what you did in your life, but he’s willing to forgive you and get out of here alive. But if you don’t, you walk in there and they shoot you, you go straight to hell and you pay.” The price of eternity.”

A heroic act of ruthless love and kindness helped make Connelly surrender peacefully.

He said, “Okay, I’m ready.” I said, “God bless you brother, you’ll be fine.” He opened the door, showed them his hands, and followed their instructions. Then I sat in the chair and just started shouting and praying – it went from wanting to kill this guy to so much sympathy, I can see the pain in his eyes,” Sanchez said.

It’s the outcome Sanchez wanted for both the suspect and the hostage.

“I wanted to make sure that I would come home to see my grandchildren, my children and my family, that was my complete intention.”

RELATED: ‘We Live in an Outlaw Town’: Friend of Man Killed in Southeast Portland Wants Answers

Police arrested Connelly based on several outstanding arrest warrants relating to gun crimes and sexual assault. No one was injured during the accident, according to the PPB.

Connelly is also booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on one count of first-degree burglary, three counts of threatening a firearm, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon, second-degree escape, and one count of firearm possession.

The Portland Police Department homicide unit is investigating. Adhering to the use of force review process, the PPB will conduct an internal review of the incident and the case will be presented to the Police Review Board.

Anyone with information about the incident who has not already spoken to the police are asked to contact Detective Brian Sims at [email protected] or Detective Meghan Burkeenat [email protected], case number 22-220929.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: