Grand jury to review bouncer's actions in strip-club shooting

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Updated: January 22, 2014, 12:14 PM

 

PORTLAND — A grand jury will meet next week to review whether a bouncer was justified in fatally shooting a masked gunman who shot his co-worker in the head at a Portland strip club.

Jonathan Baer, 31, followed the gunman after the Jan. 11 shooting and then fired, authorities said. The gunman — 43-year-old Thomas Hjelmeland — died five days later and an autopsy found he was killed by a single gunshot to the back.

Multnomah County Chief Deputy District Attorney Don Rees told The Oregonian (http://is.gd/YqTgb5 ) that the grand jury will start hearing testimony Jan. 30. He said the bouncer does not have the extra powers afforded peace officers in the state and will be viewed as a private person would be under state law.

According to the owners of the Mystic Gentlemen’s Club, bouncer Brian Rizzo denied Hjelmeland entry to the club Jan. 11 because he was making racial slurs and harassing other patrons waiting to get in.

Hjelmeland, who was on probation at the time of the incident, returned roughly 30 minutes later wearing a Halloween mask and shot Rizzo, who remains hospitalized in a medically induced coma.

Baer has a concealed handgun license but is licensed with the state as an unarmed private security officer. The Oregon Department of Public Safety, Standards and Training, which licenses private security guards, is expected to investigate whether Baer was licensed to carry a gun on the job.

In a Facebook post, Baer wrote, “I did what I felt was right to stop the shooter...I carry every day, and will continue to, and will so with the hope that I will NEVER have to pull it out again.”