What happened to Aimo Kallio Savuno


From the Oregonian, October 6, 1992

A Portland policeman shot and killed a 78-year-old retired professional wrestler early Monday in North Portland after the man pointed a semiautomatic pistol at the officer.

READ – Friends shocked after man dies in police custody, KGW.com

Aimo Kallio Savuno of 908 N. Killingsworth Court died of three bullet wounds to the head and neck while sitting in his car about 2:30 a.m. at North Concord Avenue and Holman Street, said Dr. Ed Wilson, deputy state medical examiner.

Two policemen, whose names were not released, were involved in the shooting, the 13th time this year Portland police have shot suspects. Savuno was the sixth person shot and killed this year by Portland police.

Police said Savuno was bloodied in a fight with a younger man in his car, prompting a nearby resident to call 9-1-1. The younger man fled when police arrived and they were unable to catch him. Meanwhile, Savuno and police got into a confrontation that ended with Savuno’s death.

Officer Henry Groepper, Portland Police Bureau spokesman, said one policeman was standing outside Savuno’s car window, trying to get him to get out of the car, when Savuno pointed a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol at him.

“He came up with a handgun,” Groepper said.

The policeman yelled that Savuno had a gun and fired his own semiautomatic service weapon at him, Groepper said.

Savuno’s car then accelerated rapidly in reverse, backing toward another policeman standing behind it. As the car came at him, that officer also fired his semiautomatic service weapon at Savuno, Groepper said. The car continued around, making a complete circle in reverse, running over the curb and a corner of a lawn before stopping near where the shooting started.

The woman who reported the fight to police said she first heard three shots spaced in slow, steady succession. After a couple of seconds, she heard at least five more shots in rapid succession. She said she didn’t see the actual shooting.

Groepper said Savuno’s loaded gun was found in his car and an extra clip of ammunition was in his pocket.

The officers who shot Savuno were placed on administrative leave, as is routine when police use deadly force. The case will be referred to a Multnomah County grand jury. Groepper refused to release additional details until the grand jury determines whether the shooting was justified.

But the woman who called 9-1-1 and watched the events unfold outside her kitchen window supported police.

“My impression for this particular incident is that the police were fair,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used because of crime in the area. “They tried to get him to stop — and he wouldn’t listen.”

She said her dog alerted her to something suspicious outside her kitchen window, and she saw Savuno’s car parked alongside her fence, facing the wrong direction. At first, Savuno seemed to be choking the passenger, but then the younger man got the upper hand and started beating Savuno, she said.

At no time did she see any weapons.

The younger man fled when two officers from North Precinct arrived. One policeman chased him on foot through the neighborhood while the other went to check on the driver, who already had driven onto a neighbor’s lawn and back onto Concord.

“He had been beaten up, his head and face were bleeding,” the woman said. “He tried to get away, but it was in a slow-motion, drunken stupor kind of way. He floored his car, but it wasn’t in gear. He drunkenly drove up on the neighbor’s yard.”

Results of a blood-alcohol and drug tests won’t be available at least until the end of the week, authorities said.

The woman said Savuno drove down the block so slowly after police arrived that an officer was able to walk next to Savuno’s car and shine a flashlight into the side window as the car moved south on Concord from Highland to North Holman Street.

Another officer on a bullhorn told the driver, “Get out, put your hands up where we can see them,” the woman said.

“I don’t regret calling the police. I would do it again,” she said, “but I feel bad that somebody got killed.

Savuno lived with his 80-year-old brother, Oliver, at 908 N. Killingsworth Court. Oliver Savuno said Monday that they emigrated from Finland about 70 years ago and had lived in Portland ever since. He said his brother wrestled professionally around Portland before World War II.

“But he went his way and I went mine,” Oliver Savuno said. “We didn’t talk to each other any more than we had to.”

Friends said Aimo Savuno liked to drink beer at the Paragon Club and the Jockey Club Tavern, two nearby taverns on North Killingsworth Street, and talk about sports.

“He was such a passive guy,” said Sharol Dailey, a Jockey Club tavern bartender. “I can’t picture him pulling a gun on anyone.”

Jon Posey
, a former Jockey Club bartender, said Savuno had been thrown out of another neighborhood tavern for shooting his gun into the ceiling.

“But he was just trying to scare the guy off,” Posey said. “He’d never really shoot the gun at anyone. He always carried the gun, though. This is North Portland, man.”

Laurel McKay, a Paragon Club bartender, said Savuno probably knew the younger man.

“And then the guy probably tried to rob Aimo,” she said. “Aimo’d never give the guy a ride unless he knew him.”

Wilson said any injuries Savuno sustained in the fight were not apparent in the autopsy because of the damage caused to Savuno’s head and neck by three large-caliber bullets, bullet fragments and flying glass. He apparently was shot through the closed window of his car, Wilson said.

Wilson said three, large-caliber bullets hit Savuno: One entered his chin from the front, one hit the side of his neck and another glanced off his head above his right ear.


From the Oregonian, October 10, 1992

A graveside service for Aimo Kallio Savuno, a Northeast Portland resident, will be at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Willamette National Cemetery.

Mr. Savuno was shot to death by Portland police officers Monday in North Portland. He was 78.

He was born July 16, 1914, in Helsinki, Finland. He had lived in the Portland area since the early 1920s and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. A professional wrestler from 1939 until 1960, Mr. Savuno was known by the name “the Flying Finn Kellio.” He wrestled for the Owen brothers for a number of years.

Mr. Savuno then worked as a longshoreman for about three years until his retirement in 1963.

He is survived by his son, Claude K. “Duke,” daughter, Tanya C. Britton, and brother, Oliver Savuno, all of Portland; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


From the Oregonian, October 25, 1992

Portland police have arrested a man who is thought to have robbed a former professional wrestler earlier this month. The robbery apparently triggered a series of incidents that resulted in police shooting the wrestler to death.

Bobby Lee Davis, 20, of Portland was arrested Thursday on charges of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault, said Detective Tom Nelson of the Portland Police Bureau.

Nelson said Davis was jailed in September on a separate robbery charge but was released on Sept. 17, when the jail became too crowded. Davis also is wanted in Longview, Wash., in connection with robberies that happened since his release from jail.

Davis was on “intensive street supervision” when released from jail, meaning he was required to stay out of trouble and call the jail every day to report his whereabouts. Because Davis also is accused of violating the conditions of that release, he isn’t eligible to be released from jail again, even if bail is set on the robbery and assault charges.

The incident began when Davis approached Aimo Kallio Savuno, 78, at the Night Hawk Cafe and Lounge, 6423 N. Interstate Ave., on Oct. 5, Nelson said.

“He lured (Savuno) out of the Nighthawk with the scam that he was going to sell him a gun,” Nelson said, adding that Davis reportedly had seen that Savuno was carrying a large amount of money at the time.

He said that when Davis and Savuno got into Savuno’s car, Davis instructed Savuno to drive away from the heavily traveled streets so that they could make the sale. When Savuno pulled over, Nelson said, Davis “started punching on him, thinking that he could punch him out.”

Savuno, who wrestled professionally in the Portland area before World War II, “put up a pretty good fight,” Nelson added. But Savuno was hit repeatedly and finally struck over the head with a bottle before Davis escaped from Savuno’s car.

“Savuno, for some reason, took off and was bleeding from the face when officers arrived,” Nelson added.

Police were called by a neighbor who saw the fight in Savuno’s car. But by the time the officers arrived, Savuno was still in the car and the person he’d been fighting with fled on foot.

Savuno, bleeding and in an alcohol stupor, tried to get away in his car. Witnesses said he drove by police so slowly an officer was able to walk up to the car and shine a flashlight inside.

Savuno was ordered to get out of the car, but when he did he pointed a .25-caliber handgun in the face of Officer Mark A. McGlaughlin. Savuno was hit in the head and neck by three rounds fired by McGlaughlin and Officer Denny C. Kelley.

A grand jury on Tuesday cleared the policemen of any criminal wrongdoing in the shooting.


Died: Oct. 5 Age: 78 Two Portland police officers shot Savuno three times in the head and neck when he refused to stop his car and get out. He had been bloodied in an apparent robbery in his car near the intersection of North Concord Avenue and Holman Street, shortly after 2 a.m. Savuno, a former professional wrestler who lived at 908 N. Killingsworth Court, pointed a .25-caliber semiautomatic pistol at an officer standing outside his closed car window and the officer shot him. The car then accelerated in reverse toward another policeman standing behind it, and that officer shot at Savuno through the back window. Savuno was legally drunk.

Resolution: A Multnomah County grand jury cleared officers Denny C. Kelley, 35, and Mark A. McGlaughlin, 33. Kelley, who was approaching from the driver’s side, saw Savuno clutch a gun at his chest and then start to aim it at McGlaughlin, who was standing near the left rear of the car, so he shot him. Bobby Lee Davis, 20, of 2044 N. Kilpatrick St. is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, a parole violation and being a fugitive from the state of Washington for allegedly beating and robbing Savuno while they sat in Savuno’s car.