A man was fatally shot by a Portland State University campus police officer early this morning.
According to a witness who spoke with KGW, the man was shot after trying to intervene in a fight that had broken out on the sidewalk outside of the Cheerful Tortoise bar. The man fell over while trying to stop the fight, and a gun allegedly fell out of his holster onto the sidewalk. When he reached to pick it up, the witness says, he was shot by a PSU officer.
Neither PSU or Portland Police Bureau (PPB), the agency investigating the shooting, has confirmed this narrative.
According to PSU spokesperson Kenny Ma, the two PSU officers involved in the shooting—Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey—have been placed on paid administrative leave. This is the first officer-involved shooting at PSU.
"Campus safety is our top priority at PSU," said PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi in a statement. "As you know, we are an urban campus, and that presents challenges. We work hard to provide an environment at PSU that is safe and welcoming."
PPB has only acknowledged that "shots had been fired" after PSU officers encountered a "disturbance" around 1:30 am.
It's unknown if the deceased man had a registered license to carry a firearm. According to the PSU policy, only law enforcement officers are allowed to carry a firearm on campus. While the Cheerful Tortoise sits in the middle of PSU campus, it is in a privately-owned building.
PSU's armed campus police force is only three years old. The university's 2015 decision to arm officers —PSU's response to an uptick in sexual assaults on campus—wasn't well-received by a number of student and faculty groups, especially students of color. This morning's shooting has reignited the community's opposition to this policy.
I hate, hate, hate that PSU security are armed, esp when our campus is minutes away from city police central precinct.
This realizes my greatest fears, goddammit, goddammit, goddammit #BlackLivesMatter #HandsUpDontShoot cc @DontShootPdx https://t.co/TcDKgrfmLP
— sarah iannarone (@sarahforpdx) June 29, 2018
Students have been trying to get PSU police disarmed for years. Could've saved this man's life. https://t.co/i3RLRK9Crc
— #August21 🇵🇸 (@jaybeware) June 29, 2018
PSU staff and faculty worked so hard to block the arming of campus police, warning of just this kind of brutal outcome https://t.co/0cTX8k7eDF
— Kaia Sand (@mkaiasand) June 29, 2018
5th Avenue Cinema does not support armed campus police. DISARM PSU @Portland_State let student voices be heard!!!! https://t.co/mpSGJyxC1H
— 5th Avenue Cinema (@5thavecinema) June 29, 2018
The @Portland_Sate campus police have shot and killed their first person on campus. This should be a huge story at #PSU.
— Randall Blazak, PhD. (@rblazak) June 29, 2018