Suspect in auto shop standoff indicted on 20 charges

Robert Connelly fled from police and barricaded himself in an auto shop. A hostage, customer Miguel Sanchez, eventually convinced Connelly to surrender.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The suspect in a standoff with police at a Portland auto repair shop last week has been indicted on 20 charges, according to a news release from the office of District Attorney Mike Schmidt.

Robert Connelly, 49, faces three counts of attempted aggravated murder with a firearm, three counts of first degree attempted assault, three counts of unlawful use of a weapon with a firearm, three counts of menacing, one count of first degree escape, one count of second degree escape, one count of third degree escape, one count of first degree kidnapping, two counts of first degree burglary with a criminal, one count of first degree mischief and one count of first degree felon in possession of a criminal.

The charges all stem from a confrontation with police and subsequent standoff at the repair shop on Aug. 16.

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Officers located Connelly near Southeast 82nd Avenue and attempted to arrest him on existing warrants for a federal drug charge, a felon in possession of a different charge and a charge for failure to register as a sex offender in Washington.

Connelly saw the officers and ran toward the auto repair shop, according to the news release. The officers followed and Connelly pointed a gun at them, prompting them to fire at him, although they did not hit him. He then went into the shop and barricaded himself inside.

Shop owner Alonso Rodriguez and a friend were able to escape, but a third person in the building, customer Miguel Sanchez, became trapped in the shop with Connelly.

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Sanchez later told KGW that he initially hid under a counter and believed he would be forced to kill Connelly or else Connelly would kill him, but when they met, Connelly said he wouldn’t hurt him.

They talked for several hours, according to Sanchez, while police crisis negotiators and a police tactical team responded outside. Eventually, he was able to convince Connelly to leave the building and surrender to police. Police said no one was injured during the incident.

Connelly’s prior criminal record includes a rape conviction in Columbia County and a robbery conviction in Cowlitz County, according to the news release.