What happened to Steve Bolen

Faced with gun, police kill man – Oregonian May 24, 2007

Portland police say a 43-year-old man holding a shotgun had threatened to shoot a woman moments before officers burst into his townhouse and killed him.

Police identified the man as Steven Richard Bolen, who lived in the 500 block of Northeast Suttle Road, just north of Marine Drive.

The officers involved in the Tuesday night incident immediately retreated from the home after the shooting because Bolen had fallen or stepped out of view and they were unsure if he was still alive, said police spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz.

A short while later, tactical officers entered the home in the 500 block of Northeast Suttle Road to find Bolen dead.

Schmautz said Bolen recently told a friend he was contemplating suicide.

Police received a call at 10:29 p.m. from neighbors who reported that Bolen was ramming his white Ford pickup into the garage door of his townhouse, attempting to get in, Schmautz said. Neighbors said Bolen told them he was locked out of his home, Schmautz said.

Once Bolen was inside the home, neighbors reported hearing glass breaking. They said they heard Bolen shouting at his girlfriend, threatening to kill her.

“They thought he was assaulting her, trying to kill her,” Schmautz said.

When police officers arrived, they repeatedly identified themselves and tried to get Bolen to open the door, Schmautz said. The officers thought the woman was in immediate danger.

Schmautz said they broke through the front door and saw Bolen standing at the top of a short flight of stairs.

“They are confronted by a person with a loaded shotgun,” Schmautz said. “He pointed it at them and at that point they discharged their weapons.”

It is unclear if anyone else was in the house at the time of the shooting, Schmautz said. Bolen’s girlfriend walked up to police later, telling officers she had been with the man earlier in the evening. Police have not released her identity.

The two officers involved in the shooting were Jon Dalberg, 34, who has 10 years on the force, and Jason Koenig, 32, who has five years on the force. The officers are on paid leave, in line with bureau policy.

Bolen was convicted of felony manufacturing or delivering drugs in 1997 in Multnomah County. Police found about 80 marijuana plants on the second story of his townhouse.

Bolen’s mother, Sharon Lahy, said her son had a medical marijuana card, which allows for a limited number of plants. Lahy said her son was an advocate of marijuana’s use to relieve those who suffer chronic pain.

She said her son had his dark moments but she doesn’t believe he intended to hurt anyone Tuesday night.

“Steven would internalize things, he would take it out on inanimate objects,” Lahy said. “He wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

Bolen grew up in Vancouver and attended Evergreen High School. He served in the Navy for three years, working on the electrical systems of jets and traveling to locations as far off as England and Africa, his mother said.

More recently, he worked as a bartender. He had a daughter.

Lahy says it’s difficult to believe her son would want to hurt himself.

“Why he’d still have that gun in his hands when he knew police were outside, I’ll never know,” she said.