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Previous story Tualatin gunman kills wife, injures two, kills himself Next story

Story by Larry Fitzpatrick - The Oregon Herald
Published on Wednesday November 11, 2009 - 12:09 PM
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TUALATIN -- In Tualatin a man with a rifle opened fire, killing his wife and injuring two of her co-workers.

The gunman fired multiple shots inside Legacy MetroLab-Tualatin shortly before noon, said Tualatin Police Chief Kent Barker.

The shooter was found dead at the scene, apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Barker said.

A 63-year-old man with multiple gunshot wounds was flown by air ambulance to OHSU Hospital in Portland while a 20-year-old woman was sent by ground ambulance to Legacy Emanuel Hospital after fleeing to a nearby Subway restaurant. The woman was aided by Subway patrons before the ambulance arrived.

The dead woman was identified as Teresa Beiser, 36, of Gladstone. Last week the gunman's wife filed for divorce. She had been married to Robert Beiser, 39 for 15 years. He worked as a car appraiser for Property Damage Appraisers in Lake Oswego.

They had two children, a 14-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son.

About two or three weeks ago, Robert Beiser told his daughter's tae kwon do coach that he had purchased several firearms. The coach, Al Dorsey, said Robert Beiser invited him and some customers at Tae Kwon Do 2 in Clackamas to go target shooting. Dorsey declined.

"I thought it was a little strange," Dorsey said. "He bought more than three, at least that's what I understand from what he told me."

Patrick Clark, a friend of Teresa Beiser's, arrived at the scene late Tuesday afternoon, pacing and asking police if his friend was the victim.

"My friends starting calling this morning when it happened," he said. "I didn't take it very seriously." Clark said he called her many times and couldn't get her on the phone.

"It might not be her," he said, prior to authorities confirming her identity. "I might be going home a little bit happy, and somebody else might have a bad day."

The shooting was the first killing in this city of 26,000 since August 2001 and just its sixth since 1987. Witnesses said they heard as many as a dozen gunshots in rapid succession about 11:45 a.m., but police did not say how many rounds the shooter fired.

The shots echoed throughout the town, drawing alarmed residents to the scene. Bill Phillips was walking his dog in a Tualatin park when he heard three shots -- "Pop, pop, pop," he said -- followed by a pause and then six more shots. "I said, 'Man, that's a gunshot,'" Phillips said.

"It just sounded like fireworks to me," said Belinda Yankey, who works in a building in the same complex as the lab and was driving to lunch when she heard five shots.

Tualatin City Manager Sherilyn Lombos said she got the news of the shooting while in a staff meeting. She said it was the worst tragedy in the town since she became city manager three years ago.

"It can happen anywhere," Lombos said. "I don't think you can make any generalities about what it means for Tualatin."

She said she received calls of support, including one from Democratic U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden's office. "It's just a sad day," she said.

Barker said that police were on the scene within two minutes of the first 9-1-1 call and that they found the shooter's body shortly after entering the lab.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue first responders waited at nearby Tualatin Elementary School. Administrators locked doors at five Tualatin schools for about an hour, and the nearby Horizon Christian Elementary, with about 230 students, was also put on lockdown.

Southwest Martinazzi Avenue near Tualatin Square was clogged with dozens of law enforcement vehicles responding from about a dozen agencies. The intersection of Southwest Martinazzi and Southwest Warm Springs Street was shut down throughout the day, and Barker said the streets would likely be closed into todaywhile investigators tried to piece together the course of events.

The female employee who fled the scene of the shooting ran to the Subway as Mike McNeel, who works in Tualatin, was pulling in for lunch. He said that she was bleeding, her white lab coat and hair covered with shards of glass, and that she did not appear to be shot. He said he wrapped her in his coat while they waited first at an outdoor picnic table and then inside the sandwich shop for an ambulance.

"All that Boy Scout first-aid stuff finally paid off," said McNeel, his hands still shaking nearly an hour after the incident.

Bob Murtha and co-worker Kyle Stone were driving down Southwest Martinazzi when they heard five or six shots. They stood along Martinazzi, waiting for police to let them go back to work and staring at yellow crime scene tape and police cars.