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News Release
Burned car
Burned car
Woman Facing Charges After Stabbing Cars with Knife, Igniting Car Fire (Photo) - 05/09/24

A woman is facing arson and menacing charges after stabbing two occupied cars with a knife, then igniting an unoccupied car on fire.

On Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 12:14p.m., Portland Police officers from Central Precinct responded to the area of Southwest Barbur Boulevard at Southwest 26th Avenue on a report of a woman running in traffic with a knife.

Officers arrived and located the suspect on Southwest Spring Garden Street at Southwest Barbur Boulevard. She was walking away from officers, and there were indications that she was in mental health crisis. An Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT) officer responded to assist with communication. The officers were able to convince her to toss away the knife and surrender.

Meanwhile, officers were alerted to a car fully engulfed in fire around the corner on the 8700 block of Southwest 26th Way, just south of Southwest Spring Garden Street. Portland Fire & Rescue responded and extinguished the flames.

Officers investigated and determined that the suspect, Elishama M. Mathews, 42, had used the knife to stab two passing vehicles, causing dents and scratches. She then lit the parked vehicle on fire shortly before police arrived. No one was injured.

The Portland Fire Investigations Unit responded to the scene to investigate. Mathews was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Arson in the Second Degree, Menacing (2 counts), and Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree (2 counts).

The Portland Fire Investigations Unit comprises fire investigators with Portland Fire & Rescue, who are sworn law enforcement officers, and a detective with the Portland Police Bureau. The collaboration leverages the specialized training and skills needed to investigate fires, including analysis equipment and accelerant detecting dogs.

As primary responders to crisis calls, all Portland Police Bureau officers receive basic Crisis Intervention Training as well as annual CIT refresher training. In addition, the Bureau has volunteer officers from a variety of patrol assignments on the Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT). These officers will be the first responders dispatched by 9-1-1 to crisis calls that are determined to be related to an individual in crisis. ECIT officers receive additional training in order to identify risks during a behavioral crisis, utilize crisis communication techniques to help deescalate a person in crisis, and have knowledge of available community resources.

1-White sedan with doors and hood open, badly charred by fire
2-Orange flames shoot from a parked car on the curb of SW 26th Way, Portland Fire & Rescue spraying the fire
3-Several white scratches on the hood of a blue car
4-Open folding knife, silver colored blade with black handle, with broken blade tip


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