PORTLAND:  Convicted for assaulting task force officers

PORTLAND: Convicted for assaulting task force officers

A federal jury in Portland returned guilty verdicts Wednesday against a Beaverton, Oregon man who detonated an improvised explosive device containing triacetone triperoxide (TATP), assaulting two members of the Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) on October 11, 2017.

Jason Paul Schaefer, 27, was convicted after a six-day trial of two counts of assaulting a federal officer and one count each of carrying and using a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence, carrying and using an explosive during the commission of a federal felony, unlawful transport of explosive materials, possession of an unregistered destructive device and being a felon in possession of explosives.

“Without the hard work and dedication of the JTTF agents and partners who pursued and investigated Mr. Schaefer, he might still be on the street furthering his deadly pursuits. We are extremely fortunate that Mr. Schaefer did not succeed in his attempt to take the lives of two JTTF officers in October 2017,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “This case affirms the critical work of our law enforcement partners on the JTTF in keeping Oregon communities safe.”

“Our JTTF agents and task force partners put their lives on the line every day for the people of Oregon,” said Renn Cannon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon. “Mr. Schaefer made a series of choices that led to his encounter with law enforcement on that day. He alone is responsible for the physical harm that both he and the responding task force officer suffered. Today’s verdict is just and will help ensure the safety of the community in the future.”

“The Oregon State Police is proud of the collaboration among our local and federal partners on the JTTF, with our mutual goal to keep Oregon safe. We are grateful that our troopers and task force officers were not seriously injured during this rapidly developing event. OSP is also appreciative of the time and attention of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to seek justice in this case,” said Travis Hampton, Superintendent of the Oregon State Police.

“The Washington County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the JTTF and partnering agencies for their hard work in this investigation. We value these important public safety partnerships that work tirelessly to keep our communities safe,” said Pat Garrett, Washington County Sheriff.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, on or about September 21, 2017, FBI Portland determined that Schaefer had purchased several items that could be used to make a bomb. Schaefer was known to federal investigators after an April 2017 incident where he threatened to kill his landlords and used mercury to deter people from entering an apartment garage he rented in Beaverton. The incident led to Schaefer being arrested and prosecuted for illegally possessing body armor.

On October 11, 2017, federal agents and task force officers executed a search warrant on Schaefer’s Beaverton apartment. Schaefer arrived that morning at a meeting with his probation officer to find two federal agents there to meet him. They notified Schaefer of the warrant and asked if his property was booby trapped. Schaeffer told the agents that it was not and the search commenced.

After a brief conversation with the agents, Schaefer departed in a white sport utility vehicle. The agents followed Schaefer, but lost him. Meanwhile, agents searching Schaefer’s apartment found several explosive precursors and electronic matches. While the search was ongoing, Schaefer returned to the apartment and threatened a task force officer before fleeing.

Two task force officers pursued Schaefer who soon got stuck in traffic. The officers approached Schaefer on foot and ordered him out of the vehicle. Schaefer did not comply, threatened to kill the officers and ignited an explosive device concealed in a cigarette pack. The blast caused significant injury to Schaefer’s hand and sent debris flying into one of the officers, who suffered bodily injury. Following the explosion, Schaefer was arrested and officers found a second cigarette pack containing explosives in his vehicle.

Schaefer faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with a 30-year mandatory minimum. He will be sentenced on August 13, 2019, before U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez.

This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon. It was investigated by the Portland JTTF. The Portland JTTF includes FBI special agents and more than a dozen state and local law enforcement officers.
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