Police shoot, kill suspect after he tried to steal helicopter at Hillsboro Airport

Police response at Hillsboro Airport - KATU photo from Kellee Azar

A man was fatally shot by police Monday after seizing a helicopter at gunpoint, authorities said.

The man, who was not been identified, hopped a fence at Hillsboro Airport and then approached two people who were inside a helicopter that was warming up, Hillsboro Police Lt. Henry Reimann said.

The man ordered them to get out, firing at least one round during the encounter. The shot, and maybe a second misfire, were directed away from the victims, Reimann said.

Around 11:30 a.m. Christopher Neal was at the airport watching planes land with his family. Moments later, Neal said he noticed something strange.

"Just something didn't seem right, he was walking across with his hands in his pocket and a grey hood, it's a bit hot for a hood," Neal said.

Neal says he locked eyes with the man in the hoodie.

"As he walked by he looked directly at me, then turns and pulls the grey mask over his face that's when he got to this fence," Neal said.

After hopping the fence, police say the man got into the helicopter, but officers arrived before he could take off.

"According to the sergeant that approached, it appeared he knew what he was doing in the cockpit," Reimann said.

The suspect then took off, running into a field across the street where he engaged with officer.

Reimann says an officer shot the suspect. The man died at the scene shortly before noon. No other injuries were reported.

Investigators have to yet to establish the man's motive for trying to steal the helicopter.


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