Man wanted in Eugene bank robbery shot, killed by Portland police

Man wanted in Eugene bank robbery shot, killed by Portland police

PORTLAND, Ore. – The man shot dead by Portland police near Wilson High School on Wednesday was wanted for a February bank robbery in Eugene as well as kidnapping and assaulting a woman at a Milwaukie tanning salon in January.

Kelly Vern Swoboda, 49, was following female students at Wilson High School before the shooting, law enforcement sources told KATU News in Portland.

Portland police said Officer John Romero was shot and wounded. Romero is an 8-year veteran assigned to the Youth Services Division.

Romero was treated at a hospital for injuries to his arm and hand. He has been released and is recovering at home, police said.

Romero and two Central Precinct officers were responding to a report of a suspicious man driving a van near the Hillsdale Library and Wilson High School before the confrontation and shooting occurred, according to police. Someone called 911 and said the suspicious man was near the school. Police sent extra patrols to the area.

Police said Officer Edgar Mitchell, who was the first to arrive, saw the van and its driver, but the van's license plate did not match the one police were looking for. The driver, later identified as Swoboda, told Mitchell he was going to visit the library and walked away.

After the driver left, Mitchel noticed that the van had two different license plates; the front plate matched the description, police said. Officer Mitchell and Officer Sze Lai went to the library to look for the driver while Officer Romero stayed with the van, according to police.

Romero (photo at right) saw Swoboda walking on S.W. Cheltenham Street. Witnesses told police that Swoboda ignored several commands from Romero and kept walking.

"At some point, the man stopped and during the course of the encounter, both Officer Romero and the man fired weapons," a Portland police news release said.

Swoboda died at the scene. Officers recovered a loaded .45-caliber handgun near Swoboda’s body, sources told KATU.

Romero was placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard police procedure.

Swoboda was wanted for kidnapping a woman from Palm Beach Tan in Milwaukie on Jan. 27, according to police. He threw her in his purple van and took off. Police said the woman fought back and jumped from the moving car. She suffered serious injuries.

U.S. Marshals joined the manhunt for Swoboda. He was considered armed and dangerous. Police were not sure where Swoboda was hiding because he did not have a known address.

Swoboda was charged in three bank robberies earlier this week, according to court documents. The robberies occurred in November and December of 2013; two were in Milwaukie and the other happened in Portland.

Swoboda was also wanted for robbing a bank in Eugene, Ore., according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. He was convicted twice for bank robbery in 1994 and 2006 and once for a weapons violation in 1999. He was also convicted of probation violations.