BEVERTON, OR- It was a violent crime spree that barely made the news… because it involved a mass stabbing, not a mass shooting. And it’s once again a prime example of the fact that the problem isn’t the tool used to do harm… it’s the person.
Earlier this week, Beaverton, Oregon was shaken up after a man went on a crime spree involving a bank robbery, carjackings, and multiple stabbings, taking the life of one woman in the process. The events took place at the Wells Fargo, situated at 14725 SW Teal Boulevard in the Murrayhill Shopping Center.
Police responded to a bank robbery report and said two people were stabbed at the bank by the suspect; one was pronounced dead and the other suffered critical injuries.
A Wells Fargo’s spokesman confirmed that the person who died was a customer. Dillon Prickett, a shopper, said he was going to get a cup of coffee at the Insomnia Coffee Company just after the stabbing took place:
“I came outside and there was an employee of the bank, she was bawling her eyes out, she couldn’t even talk.”
After seeing the aftermath of the stabbing, Prickett stated that it’s likely something he’ll never forget:
“They wheeled somebody that looked like they had, like a stab wound to the neck, she was just really bandaged, there was a lot of blood. When it really clicked that it was bad, when they wheeled her out a lot more paramedics were going in.”
The perpetrator also stabbed a man and, according to investigators, stole his car in the local Planet Fitness parking lot and headed to Tigard.
Police said the attacker then got out of the car, robbed a woman of yet another car and stabbed her. Eventually, the perpetrator made his way to a Shell gas station.
The local news outlet, FOX 12, an individual who came face to face with the suspect after the stabbings happened.
The individual, who was only identified as Taylor, said that the suspect let himself inside of his truck and asked to be driven to the highway:
“He reaches over the window, grabs the lock and he opens the door. He started to get a little bit agitated, a little bit nervous and that’s when I knew something was up and he pulled his hand up and it was bloody and then I was like, OK, so I should probably get out of the truck.”
Taylor had pulled into a Chevron gas station when he exited the vehicle after seeing the suspects blood covered hand. When authorities had filled him in on the alleged crimes by the suspect, he felt a wave anxiety when looking back at the interaction:
“Right after I had found out all of what he had done and I was a little, little nervous after that.”
An employee at the Chevron, Keri Dee, said that the suspect had walked by her and dropped some money, but took something from them while face to face:
“He grabbed my cigarette and looked right at me and then just kept going.”
The alleged stabber was later identified as 20-year-old Salvador Martinez-Romero, who police had apprehended at around 11:45 a.m. after he fled from officers in a residential area near SW Pacific Hwy.
Resident from the residential neighborhood who witnessed the conclusion of the chase described it as unsettling.
Annemarie Rotaru mentioned that her son, Elias Rotaru, could hear the uproar involving police and the suspect not far from their home:
“One of my kids is inside here, and he called me and said, ‘mom, you left the door open and we [could’ve been] killed.’”
Elias mentioned that he wasn’t certain if the suspect was hiding amid their yard while police were actively searching for him:
“I went around the house. I had a pocket knife on me …just in case, you never know.”
Others who had witnessed the culmination of the arrest stated that they could hear officers calling in an ambulance for the suspect.
Some had reported that Martinez-Romero appeared to have been bleeding from the leg, though there’s no detail yet if that was an injury sustained during the crime spree or with interacting with police.
Martinez-Romero is currently facing charges murder, attempted murder, and two counts of first-degree robbery.
The scene was inundated with the Washington County Major Crimes Team for several hours that Wednesday and apparently the FBI is also involved in the investigation.
Sources tell us that because of Oregon’s laws surrounding immigration, we have yet to receive confirmation of whether the suspect is legally in the United States.
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Back in September, there was another mass stabbing that flew under the radar. It took place in Baltimore County, Maryland at the Hunt Valley Town Centre.
Authorities say a man with a hunting knife stabbed four people and beat another person at the shops. Baltimore County Police ended up shooting and killing him.
They say the first three people were attacked inside Hunt Valley Wine Liquor & Beer. According to police, a fourth person was stabbed outside a nearby store and the fifth person was wounded on the patio of the Noodles & Company restaurant.
Police spokeswoman Jennifer Peach said all five victims were hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Originally they believed five people had been stabbed, but after reviewing video footage and interviewing witnesses, police revised that number.
Families said they were shocked by the violence. It’s a suburban mall filled with boutique shops and restaurants.
After the attack, a manager at the liquor store turned away customers, telling them some of the staff had been hurt.
According to Peach, mall security guards encountered the man before the attacks and they escorted him out of the liquor store and off the mall property.
But he came back to the liquor store around 1:30 p.m. and things escalated quickly.
According to Peach, the man was aggressive, demanding money and waving around a knife with a three-inch blade.
They said after he committed the stabbings at the liquor store and Noodles & Company, that he ran to Shawan Road. That’s where he ran into encountered officers at the busy intersection of McCormick Road, an entrance to the mall.
“He was armed with a knife and our officers were forced to discharge their weapons. That resulted in a critical injury to the suspect,” Peach said. “He has since been pronounced deceased.”
Luckily for the victims, an off-duty emergency medical services captain was at the shopping center at the time and took care of the wounded until emergency crews arrived.
A shopper in Hunt Valley spoke with the media about what happened. She requested anonymity out of concern for her safety because she witnessed some of what happened.
The woman said she saw a man sitting on the back of an ambulance and bleeding from his stomach as she and her daughter left the nearby DSW store.
“I thought, initially, he had been hit by the light rail,” she said. “As we’re walking to [our] car, through the parking lot, we see all of these emergency vehicles come up.”
She said that she and her young daughter got to their car and drove, turning right out of the lot onto Shawan Road, heading to the nearby Executive Plaza to pick up her husband and son.
According to the woman, that’s when she saw about seven police officers surrounding a man in the four-lane road opposite the median from her.
“The suspect’s clearly not cooperating because he’s walking super slow and not following whatever he’s being told,” she said.
According to the woman, when the man reached the corner of Shawan and McCormick roads, near the Executive Plaza, several gunshots rang out and he went down.
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