Fleeing suspect rescued after jumping into Willamette River

Robert Tudorache

A Portland man was rescued from the Willamette River after allegedly threatening someone in Keizer Rapids Park with a handgun and then jumping into the river as he tried to flee police.

Officers from the Keizer Police Department (KPD) were summoned to the park about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, on a report of a man threatening another park visitor with a handgun.

The armed male, suspect was described as having a dark complexion with a black beard, wearing brown pants and a black garbage bag covering the top half of his body.  

Officers located the man on a walking path in the park and he fled police into the more thickly-wooded area of the park – an area used for hiking and Frisbee golf.

Additional officers from KPD, Salem Police Department and Oregon State Police soon arrived an established a perimeter in the area while a K9 unit began tracking.

About 5:35 p.m., a neighbor in the area notified officers that he observed the subject float in the Willamette River. Water rescue teams from Salem Fire Department and the Oregon State Police responded to the scene and launched boats to continue searching for the suspect.

More than an hour later, at nearly 7 p.m., the suspect was found clinging to a log four miles downriver from where he was believed to have entered. The temperature of the water was approximately 48 degrees at the time.

He was rescued from the water and taken back to the boat ramp in Keizer Rapids Park where he was transferred to a Keizer Fire District Ambulance and taken to Salem Hospital.

The suspect was later identified as Robert Tudorache of Portland. He was taken to the Marion County Jail after release from the hospital and is charged with two counts of menacing and one count of unlawful use of a weapon.