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Neighbors describe man firing dozens of shots in the air before Portland police fatally shoot

Dog toys, black rubber gloves and an overturned wooden planter littered the front yard of a small single-family home with light green siding on a quiet southeast Portland street the morning after police killed a man Wednesday night.

A trampoline, swing, and kid’s bike dotted the rear of the property in the 100 block of Southeast 126th Avenue.

“Jesus Christ,” said neighbor Danny Walker under his breath, pointing to a teal child’s helmet propped up on the foredeck.

A teacher who has owned a home in the neighborhood for five years, Walker was watering the plants in his front yard Wednesday just before 8 p.m. when he heard a series of bangs lasting about five minutes. He assumed it was fireworks until a next door neighbor crouched down and said “it’s a gun, come in”.

Police said 911 operators could hear gunfire in the background of calls from neighbors to the Office of Emergency Communications and that a person was in the front yard of a house firing.

In what would become the third police shooting in Portland this week and the second fatal, officers from the Targeted Response Team, formed earlier this year to try to tackle gun violence, arrived on the scene around 8:15 p.m., according to a statement from the police office. A member of that team shot and killed one person, police said.

They did not release any further information.

From a small window in his house, Walker watched as his neighbor across the street and three houses to the south fired into the air. He only knew him by his first name, Aaron.

Within about 20 minutes, Walker said, he saw Aaron come out of his house, stand with one foot in front of the front door and one foot inside and “do a few tricks,” then disappear inside. Walker said he heard about two dozen shots and called 911. At one point, his neighbor came out with a bigger gun, holding it with both hands and firing much louder shots.

“He clearly wasn’t targeting anyone,” Walker said. “My thought, dark as it was, was ‘Aaron tries to kill himself by a cop’.”

Walker heard the police identify themselves, then another loud shot similar to those his neighbor was firing, then one or two shots that sounded different, quieter, fired by the police, according to Walker. He didn’t see that part because he had retired to the basement of his house with his 12-year-old daughter.

And then it was quiet.

Dozens of police cars blocked the street for most of the night as homicide detectives investigated the police shootings.

An ambulance waited outside the neighbor’s house for about an hour, and that’s when Walker assumed his neighbor was dead.

Records show Aaron Stanton, 40, has owned the Hazelwood home since 2013.

Police have not identified the man who died or the officer who fired the shots.

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, Walker said he saw his neighbor riding a motorized scooter, weaving down the street with his young daughter.

Another neighbour, Roy Murray, said some of the shots rocked his house.

“There’s a lot of mystery about what led to this,” Murray said. “Nobody I spoke to knows what was going on. Probably no one outside of their family knows.

— Savannah Eadens; [email protected]; 503-221-6651; @savannaheadens