Adventist worker files claim against city for bullet damage to his car

By Andrea Damewood, Willamette Week, April 26, 2013

Adventist Medical CenterAn engineer at Adventist Medical Center filed a claim for damages against the city of Portland, saying his SUV was hit with bullets as the police fired upon and killed federal fugitive Merle M. Hatch in February.

Kevin House says his wife, Karen, who also works at Adventist, parked their 2007 Dodge Durango in the employee lot for her shift the night of Feb. 17. The SUV wound up in the line of fire when officers opened fire on Hatch as he ran toward officers, counting down from three and holding what appeared to be (and what police had been told) was a gun.

Hatch was killed, struck by six shots fired by three Portland Police Bureau officers on scene. And Hatch, it was later found, was actually holding a piece of a broken phone receiver.The entire incident was caught on video by a nursing student filming from inside a doom room near the scene. The video largely helped reverse the public’s growing negative perception of the cop shooting.

Multnomah County Grand Jury reports show that officers fired a total of 19 shots, a few of which also hit House’s SUV. House says his car was hit in the front and passenger sides, and offered an initial estimate of $7,000 for repairs in the claim he filed in March. House is asking for $7,000 in his claim.

“Portland police were defending themselves and did what they had to do to defend themselves from harm,” House writes in the claim. “We appreciate PPD and understand why this happened. They were only doing their job.”

House then thanks police for providing a rental car to use in the interim.

Portland’s Bureau of Risk Management, which handles such claims, was not immediately available to confirm if the city has already paid the claim.