John Elifritz inside the Cityteam shelter, shortly before being fatally shot by police. Still from video caught on the shelter's surveillance camera. Portland Police Bureau
Newly released evidence from the Portland Police Bureau has shed more light on the fatal police shooting of John Elifritz the evening of April 7.
This evening, PPB released nearly 700 pages of investigative material related to the Elifritz shooting—including interviews with witnesses, interviews with officers at the scene, autopsy notes, and evidence descriptions—including a photo of the bloody knife Elifritz used on his own neck.
A quick refresher on what the public already knew before this evening's data dump: On a rainy Saturday evening, Elifritz, 48, was shot at the Cityteam Ministries homeless shelter by a number of Portland police officers and one Multnomah County deputy. He had entered the SE Grand Ave. shelter shortly after crashing a stolen car on SE Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave., interrupting an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting being held inside.
Elifritz first entered the shelter around 7:30 pm, shirtless. A staff member offered him a jacket and he left. At around 7:55 pm, Elifritz returned, appearing suicidal. By 8 pm, Elifritz had been fatally shot by police officers inside the shelter.
A month after this shooting, a Multnomah County grand jury ruled that all law enforcement officials involved in the shooting—one county deputy and seven Portland police officers—were justified in their deadly use of force. The transcript of that grand jury has yet to be made public. This Wednesday, Elifritz's ex-wife filed a civil rights federal lawsuit against the PPB for his death.
Until this evening, the public has only seen clips from one shaky cellphone video that captured the chaos and heard varied witness testimony of the incident, leaving dozens of unanswered questions. Videos released through public records requests today, captured by Cityteam Ministries' surveillance cameras and police car dashcams, help fill in some of the missing gaps.
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