An Oregon City man is facing multiple charges, including second-degree murder, after police said he struck as many as 10 people — killing one — in a deadly motor vehicle rampage through several Portland city blocks Monday.
Paul Rivas, 64, was identified by the Portland Police Bureau late Tuesday night. Lodged at the Multnomah County Detention Center, he faces charges of second-degree murder, six counts of second-degree assault and seven counts of failure to perform the duties of a driver.
More charges will be considered by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, police said.
Investigators said Rivas was driving erratically through a 15-block area of southeast Portland Monday afternoon when he struck several pedestrians and at least two cyclists.
One woman, later identified as Jean Gerich, 77, of Portland, was killed and nine others were injured in the incident. Witnesses at the scene told The Oregonian the driver struck Gerich — then turned around and hit her again, dragging her a short distance.
Medical examiners ruled that Gerich suffered blunt force trauma and listed the death as a homicide, police said.
Family members paid tribute to Gerich in a statement released Tuesday night.
Police identify pedestrian killed yesterday as 77 year-old Jean Gerich. They released this picture of her. pic.twitter.com/Njy2LmOABc
— Allison Mechanic (@AlliMechanic_TV) January 26, 2021
“Jean Gerich was not a nameless victim,” family members said in the statement, released to police and media outlets. “She was a loving mother of two. She was a proud grandmother of five, ages 4 to 16. She would have turned 78 in 12 days.”
“She beat cancer five years ago. She received her first [Covid-19] vaccination shot last week and was overjoyed to get out in the world again. She has lived in the city of Portland since 1972, and for those 48 years, she has loved her community of friends, Forest Park and the proximity to nature.”
The family went on to thank “the good Samaritans who were at the scene” and asked for privacy.
A vigil was held this evening for a Portland woman that was killed Monday when an SUV struck her and nine others in a series of hit-and-run crashes.📸: @bethnakamura pic.twitter.com/A8d7zFdl8N
Immediately following the incident, authorities took Rivas to a nearby hospital for treatment before booking him into jail.
Police said detectives did not find evidence that the incident had been an act of terrorism.
“Detectives did not find bias indicators, nor do they believe this is politically motivated,” PPB said in a news release. “Detectives say that the driver’s actions did show intent to hit and injure people.”
Police said a sample of Rivas’ blood was drawn and has been sent to a lab for analysis.
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