Police hear gunshot during East Portland search, arrest two

Portland police made two unrelated arrests for theft and gunfire on Saturday night near an East Portland apartment complex, according to a news release.

Police responded to the apartment complex near 162nd Avenue and East Burnside Street at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday when a car was reported stolen.

The suspect, 24-year-old Aaron Drake Birt, allegedly stole the car and ditched it while it was still moving as police closed in on him in the parking lot of the apartment complex. 

The car continued to roll forward slowly until it crashed. Three passengers in the car were not injured and detained by police. 

Police say Birt then ran through the apartment complex while being chased on foot by an officer, scaled a fence and as he jumped down, dropped a handgun from his waistband. Birt picked up the handgun and continued to run, gun in hand, away from the officer, police say.

After the pursuing officer lost sight of Birt, the Portland Police Bureau set up a perimeter around the neighborhood and continued to search. 

Officers eventually found Birt hiding near where he was last seen. His firearm was seized and he was taken into custody. 

During the search for Birt, officers heard a single gunshot from within the neighborhood. After following a car that quickly left the area, officers arrested Tavaris Deontay Winchester, 27, and seized another handgun, police say. 

The two incidents were unrelated, police said. Winchester is being held in Multnomah County Jail on allegations of unlawful use of a weapon, possession of a firearm, discharing a firearm in the city and carrying a concealed weapon. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Multnomah County Court on Monday. 

Birt was booked into the Multnomah County Jail on allegations of being a felon in possession of a firearm and is accused of 12 other crimes stemming from the theft of the vehicle and eluding police.

Birt is being held on a parole violation and is also scheduled to be arraigned on Monday in…

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