DeNorris McClendon, 27
  • DeNorris McClendon, 27
The Portland Police Bureau this morning has confirmed TV reports, citing relatives, that the man shot by an officer along Interstate 84 yesterday was deep in a mental health crisis when he reportedly waved a replica handgun at drivers on a freeway ramp and then again at responding cops.

DeNorris Laron McClendon, 27, had been taken to a hospital and placed on a police mental health hold the night before his encounter on I-84, police said in a statement. His grandmother called because he was having delusions, swinging a stick at the bushes in her yard and looking for the FBI. In between his release from the hospital and his shooting, police say, McClendon got his hands on an undetermined amount of methamphetamine.

While investigating the circumstances of the shooting and McClendon's background, detectives learned that 27-year-old Denorris Laron McClendon had contact with Portland Police officers on Sunday August 31, 2014, at approximately 8:00 p.m., the night before the incident on I-84.

The police contact was the result of a call from McClendon's grandmother, who told police that McClendon was suffering from a paranoid delusion and was in the backyard of her home swinging a wooden dowel at shrubbery, looking for the FBI. McClendon's grandmother told officers that McClendon had been doing this for a good part of the day. Additionally, she told officers that McClendon had broken both arms approximately 4 days earlier and had removed both casts himself.

Officers spoke with McClendon and noted the apparent injuries to his arms and he agreed to go a Portland hospital by ambulance, where he was placed on a police hold for a mental health evaluation and medical treatment.

McClendon, as the Mercury seemed first to note yesterday, was involved in another high-profile encounter with police back when he was 15. Officer Paul Ware fired a Taser at McClendon in McClendon's own home. McClendon had been trying to lock up his family's house in preparation for a trip to the hospital with his brother. Ware, responding to the family's call for help, came inside the house with his gun drawn and though McClendon meant to attack him.

His mother, who appealed a police decision to clear Ware a decade ago and described McClendon as a "special needs" child, died this summer. Relatives told KOIN that McClendon suffered a breakdown after his mother passed.

The bureau also identified the officer who shot McClendon: Michael Honl, an East Precinct cop who's worked in Portland for 10 years. Honl, in 2011, was given an award after helping two other officers save a woman trying to jump onto Interstate 205. Honl was one of two officers involved in a 2005 nonfatal shooting, according to Portland Copwatch's archives.

The third incident, which happened most recently, was the March 28 shooting of Gilbert Thomas King, 35. King allegedly put the pickup he was driving into reverse as officers approached him, and rammed the police car. The officers, Michael Honl (#33525) and Dell Stroh (#39607) shot nine bullets, missing both King and his passenger. King received a head wound from the crash (Oregonian, March 30-31 & April 12 and PPB). It is unclear why King is being charged with attempted aggravated murder, since the officers were not in their car at the time. It is similarly unclear whether these officers' actions would violate the new policy proposed by Chief Foxworth restricting shooting at vehicles