A Washington County man accused of igniting a bomb on 185th Avenue near Hillsboro in 2017 has been convicted by a federal jury.
Jason Paul Schaefer, 27, of Rock Creek, was convicted on Wednesday, May 15, on a host of federal charges, including two counts of assaulting a federal officer.
Schaefer detonated an improvised explosive device he was holding in his hand on Oct. 11, 2017, while he was being investigated by federal agents. The blast injured a Washington County deputy and another law enforcement agent attempting to arrest him.
Authorities said Schaefer had been buying stockpiles of explosive equipment in the weeks before his arrest. According to court documents, Schaefer had purchased an explosive liquid known as nitromethane, as well as 100 electric matches and several remotes that are intended to set off fireworks from a distance. Schaefer also allegedly purchased about one pound of hexamine, a compound which can be used to make home-made explosives and is frequently used in suicide bombings, according to court documents.
Five months earlier, Schaefer had threatened to kill his landlords and used mercury to stop people from entering an apartment garage he rented in Beaverton, according to authorities. At that time, Schaefer was arrested and charged with illegally possessing body armor.
Police searched Schaefer’s apartment at the Rock Creek 185 Apartments complex, 18840 N.W. Rock Creek Circle, on Oct. 11, 2017. There, investigators found several items used to make explosives, including electronic matches. When deputies told Schaefer he was under arrest he threatened them and fled the scene in a white SUV, according to court documents.
Schaefer reportedly drove south on 185th Avenue and crossed into Hillsboro, where his vehicle got stuck in afternoon traffic.
He was followed by a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy and another law enforcement agent. The two were investigating as part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes FBI special agents and more than a dozen state and local police departments and sheriff’s offices. The city of Portland voted to pull out of the JTTF earlier this year.
As the detective approached Schaefer’s driver’s side window Schaefer allegedly detonated a small, handheld explosive device.
“We’re all f-cking dying today,” Schaefer allegedly shouted at the deputy. The blast severed two of Schaeffer’s fingers. According to court documents, parts of Schaefer’s hand struck the deputy in the face during the explosion. The deputy also suffered some hearing loss.
Officers would later find a second explosive in his vehicle, according to prosecutors.
Schaefer’s trial began May 6. He represented himself in federal court.
Schaefer was convicted 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,” said Billy J. Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. “We are extremely fortunate that Mr. Schaefer did not succeed in his attempt to take the lives of two JTTF officers in October 2017. This case affirms the critical work of our law enforcement partners on the JTTF in keeping Oregon communities safe.”
Schaefer faces a minimum prison sentence of 30 years and could spend the rest of his life in prison. He will be sentenced on August 13, by U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez.
“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.”