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Portland detainee gets away after arrest for attempted murder by ramming officer with stolen truck

David Dahlen, 24, was arrested in Portland Saturday night on suspicion of attempted murder of a police officer. He rammed into the officer with a stolen truck on Christmas Eve. Now, a manhunt is underway because Dahlen inexplicably escaped just hours later from a holding cell at the city’s Central Precinct. The suspect was discovered missing from the holding cell around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, about four hours after being booked.

East Precinct officers had arrested Dahlen about 1:30 p.m. Saturday after a short foot chase in the area of Southeast 101st Avenue and Insley Street. He was picked up on numerous warrants and was transported to the Justice Center.

Around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, officers discovered Dahlen had escaped from the holding cell in the detective division, where investigators planned to question him about the Dec. 24 incident and resulting police shooting. The building was immediately locked down and additional resources were called in. It was later confirmed that Dahlen had gotten out of the building and was last seen running north.

Dahlen was caught on camera fleeing north from the precinct and he still hasn’t been recaptured. Officer Kevin Allen, a bureau spokesman, said officers have not yet figured out how Dahlen escaped but said it was “unprecedented” in the bureau’s recent history. An investigation will be done into how the escape occurred, Allen said.

The holding cell at the police station was a temporary lockup that is less secure than the cells at the Multnomah County Detention Center, where correction deputies are deployed.

On Dec. 24, police were called to a gas station on a report of a stolen truck. Responding officers tried to box in the truck with their vehicles, but Dahlen allegedly rammed into Officer Jennifer Pierce, injuring her outside her vehicle, as he tried to elude capture. Pierce fired her gun toward the truck and Dahlen allegedly struck her a second time.

Pierce, a 15-year police veteran, was hospitalized with a broken pelvis. Fortunately, she will live.

The pickup peeled out of the gas station and officers located it unoccupied and abandoned in Southeast Portland an hour later, police said.

The pickup had been stolen from a Southeast Portland auto shop the previous Monday.

A witness’ video captured the stolen pickup ramming the driver’s side of a marked patrol car and pushing it forward before driving out of the gas station’s lot. The driver’s door of the police car was open at the time it was struck by the stolen truck.

David Michael Dahlen III is a white male, 5’8″ tall, and 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing a green long sleeve shirt, blue jeans, and white tennis shoes. He had a noticeable amount of dried mud on his clothing. He has warrants for his arrest for attempted murder in the first degree, assault in the first degree, assaulting a public safety officer, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and escape in the second degree.

“We are really focusing our efforts on trying to locate the escapee and get him into custody safely and as soon as possible,” said Derek Carmon from the Portland Police Bureau. “We hope if the community comes across him that they phone 911 immediately.”

Dahlen has a long list of previous charges dating back to 2013. Some of the charges include driving under the influence of intoxicants, unauthorized use of a vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, first-degree theft, and careless driving contributing to an accident.

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