Police say married couple behind robbery, shootings, chase; husband is sex offender

Police say Joshua and Michelle Luther, a married couple, were behind a robbery and chase in which several shots were fired at officers.

KATU has learned one of the two suspects police said led them on a wild chase in the Portland and Tigard area Tuesday morning is a convicted sex offender.

Police said officers were shot at several times during the pursuit.

They said the suspects are a married couple, Josh and Michelle Luther.

Michelle, 28, appeared in court for the first time in the case Wednesday, facing a charge of attempted aggravated murder. Police said she commandeered the white van that she, Josh and her three children were in during the chase and that she tried to kill an officer.

Josh, 36, is currently being treated at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital for a gunshot wound that is not considered life-threatening.

KATU discovered Josh has a substantial criminal record in Washington.

Police said the incident began at the Aladdin Inn motel on Barbur Boulevard.

Employees there said a masked man came in demanding cash, shooting off a round before leaving with only around $70.

"When I heard the gunshot first," Jake Colin, an Aladdin Inn employee, said Tuesday, "I thought, 'Is that the end?' 'cause he's shooting at us."

A witness spotted one of the suspects in the white van at a gas station on Pacific Highway near 69th Avenue in Tigard, police said, where Portland officers tried to pull them over.

Officers said the couple led police on a maze of routes through Tigard and Lake Oswego and that multiple shots were fired at officers.

"The severity of it starts to settle in very quickly," said Jim Wolf, spokesman for the Tigard Police Department, “after the scene has calmed down a bit.”

When asked if Michelle was firing rounds, Wolf said, "The information right now leads us to believe that the male suspect was responsible for firing at police."

He said once the couple stopped the van along Boones Ferry Road near McEwan Road in Tualatin, Josh ran behind a drug store carrying multiple weapons.

Wolf said several Tigard officers chased him and one shot him.

That officer has been identified as Andrew Pastore, a 14-year veteran with the Tigard Police Department. Wolf said Pastore and three other Tigard officers are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is standard procedure in the case of officer-involved shootings.

As for the children, Wolf said, "At this point they are with Oregon authorities and their welfare is being taken care of satisfactorily."

Court records in Oregon, Washington and Alaska show Michelle has no criminal history.

But KATU discovered Josh is a registered sex offender, previously convicted of two counts of assault with sexual motivation, burglary and theft in Washington, where the couple previously lived.

The couple also spent time in Alaska, where Michelle says she's from on her Facebook page.

Police said Josh will be arrested once he's discharged from OHSU.

Michelle is due back in court in Hillsboro again next Wednesday.\

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