The two Portland State University officers feared for their lives when they fatally shot 43-year-old Jason Washington last summer.

In their interviews before a Multnomah County grand jury, PSU officers Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey said Washington had directly pointed a gun at them on the sidewalk outside of the Cheerful Tortoise bar in the early hours of June 29.

“[A gun] can turn a stupid drunk street brawl into something that can be deadly very quickly,” Dewey told deputy district attorney Brian Davidson, according to court transcripts released by the Multnomah County District Attorney's office this afternoon.

The 415-page grand jury transcript details the hours leading up to Washington’s death, from the perspective of at least six witnesses, not including Dewey and McKenzie. The lengthy investigation ended with the grand jury clearing both officers last month, but the transcript was only made public today.

Those interviewed corroborate the public’s general understanding of the incident, based on unofficial witness testimony and officer body camera footage released by PSU in mid-September: Washington was shot and killed outside the Cheerful Tortoise while he was trying to break up a fight involving his highly inebriated friend, Jeremy Wilkinson. Officers McKenzie and Dewey, who were driving by at the time, pulled over to break up the fight. They were told someone had a gun. When Washington fell over while trying to separate Wilkinson from the man he was fighting, a gun fell out of a holster attached to Washington’s hip. Washington reached for the gun. It’s unclear what, exactly, happens next. But, seconds later, McKenzie and Dewey fired a total of nine bullets into Washington’s body. He died at the scene. Although Washington did have a state license to carry a concealed weapon, it wasn’t his gun that fell onto the sidewalk that morning—it belonged Wilkinson. Washington had taken the weapon away from Wilkinson earlier that night out of precaution.

Despite many of the witnesses admitting to being drunk or stoned during the time of the incident, most of their testimony before the grand jury support this narrative.

What wasn’t clear until these transcripts were made public, however, was the officers’ firm belief that Washington had aimed the gun directly at them.

“For whatever reason [Washington] drew the gun, stood up with the gun in his hand,” Dewey explained. “I knew it was pointed at us. There was probably a dozen people involved or spectating. There's no reason to be pointing a gun at somebody on a city street in the middle of the night so my thought was he's gonna start shooting people.”

Dewey recalled yelling at Washington to drop the gun, but claims he did not.

“Every time you give a command like ‘drop the gun’ and it doesn't happen... and there's already a fight going on... it's an escalation,” Dewey said. “It's like a twisting of that knot in your stomach that this is getting much, much worse.”

McKenzie’s retelling was more straightforward.

“In what direction is he extending the gun?” DA Davidson asked McKenzie, according to the court transcript.

“Towards us,” McKenzie responded.

“And, um, what happened next?” Davidson asked.

“In my mind I'm like thinkin' I'm gonna be shot right there,” McKenzie said. “And I fire a couple rounds.”

McKenzie has since resigned from the PSU force, while Dewey returned to work after the grand jury ruled in his favor.

It’s not obvious in the police body cam footage that Washington pointed his gun at the officers. But Portland Police Officer Anthony Eugenio, who said he’s trained in analyzing and restoring crime scene video to “find the truth,” told the grand jury he was certain after viewing the videos that Washington had picked up and aimed the gun at the officers.

The transcript also reveals the kind of training the officers received prior to joining the PSU force—training that informed their independent decisions to fire their guns at Washington.

Dewey and McKenzie’s bullets mostly hit Washington in his torso and chest. According to Scott Willadsen, a firearm trainer at the Oregon State Public Safety Academy, all officers employed in Oregon are trained to shoot at the “center mass” at a threatening person because “it’s the biggest target and moves the least amount.”

“I sometimes get questions like why don't we shoot 'em in the legs to stop them from charging at me,” Willadsen told the grand jury. “Number one, that doesn't make them put down the gun. Number two, we've got some pretty big blood vessels and veins that run through the leg, and even if I shoot them in the leg, that doesn't mean they won't die.”

“We don't shoot to the hands to try to make 'em drop the gun because, quite frankly, it's really, really hard,” Willadsen continued. “Shooting a small target like that… is nearly impossible.”

But, Willadsen stressed, officers are no trained to “shoot to kill.” Instead, Willadsen said he trains officers to shoot until the suspect “stops being a bad guy,” or until “that threat stops being a threat.” That call is solely up to the officer.

“Once the threat has stopped, you have to stop shooting. Sometimes that takes a moment or two for [the officer] to recognize, so there might be an extra round or two fired, but still… they're supposed to stop,” Willadsen said. “The flip side of that is, sometimes the subject dies and, you know, I can't predict when that's gonna happen.”

PSU's decision to arm its officers in 2015 has long been a point of contention among PSU students and faculty members. Last week, hundreds attended a PSU Board of Trustees meeting to stress their opposition to this policy in light of Washington's death.

PSU has promised two thorough investigations into Washington's death—one that specifically evaluates the need to arm its officers.

The grand jury testimony reflects grief and outrage from witnesses who watched Washington die at the hands of armed campus police—even from those who didn’t know him personally.

Others shared contradicting stories about when Washington’s gun first made an appearance and blamed their imperfect memory on the traumatic experience. But one fact remained unrefuted throughout the testimony: Washington was a good man.

“He was a good guy. We were talking. He [said] something about his kids I remember,” said Mohamed Tuffa, one of the men who talked to Washington at the Cheerful Tortoise that night.

Zachary Walker also described joking around with Washington at the Cheerful Tortoise about different generations of Black people. “He's giving me a little hard time type of stuff,” Walker recalled. “He was a cool dude. He even bought me a drink in there too.”

Neither Tuffa or Walker knew Washington before that night, and both ended up fighting with Washington’s friend Wilkinson less than an hour later, claiming Wilkinson called them the N-word.

Derrial Peterson, a security guard at the Rialto, fondly recalled chatting with Washington earlier in the day, before Washington and his friends went to the Cheerful Tortoise.

“We had just start talking and he was talking about his wife, his daughter who just graduated from college... he talked about being a grandfather, how he was excited about [it]... the upcoming year and how things were really looking up for him,” Peterson said. “It was good stuff.”

Washington’s demeanor is why ultimately why Wilkinson decided to give up his gun and allow Washington to carry it for safekeeping that night.

During Wilkinson's testimony before the grand jury, Davidson asks why he let Washington take his firearm.

Wilkinson’s response: “Because...I know Jason would never fight, ever.”