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Grand Jury Says Officers Use of Deadly Force in February Shooting was Justified

Friday, March 17, 2017
GoLocalPDX News Team

A Multnomah County Grand Jury determined that two Portland Police Bureau officers were justified in their use of deadly force in the February 2017 shooting of 56-year-old Don Perkins. 

Perkins recovered from his injuries and was committed for mental health treatment. 

The officers involved in the shooting were Officer Roger Walsh and Officer Bradley Clark, both 11-year-veterans assigned to Central Precinct. 

The jury made the ruling on Wednesday. 

The Investigation 

The investigation started on February 9, 2017, at 6:31 p.m., when Central Precinct officers responded to a 9-1-1 call regarding Perkins, who was threatening to commit suicide. Information gathered by the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) suggested that Perkins was near the 2100 block of Southeast Lafayette Street. 

Officers arrived in the area and began to search for Perkins. At approximately 7:15 p.m., BOEC obtained information of a more specific location for Perkins. Officers used the information to locate Perkins in a van in the 3300 block of Southeast 22nd Avenue. 

Police, including an Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT) officer, contacted Perkins and began to communicate with him. During the contact with Perkins, the officers developed information that he had a handgun. 

As police were attempting to continue communication, Perkins dropped something out of the van that officers believed was a handgun. Perkins exited the van then reached for the item which resulted in an officer firing a single shot at him. 

Perkins told the police they were going to have to shoot him and he moved back towards the item, resulting in officers firing additional shots that struck Perkins. Officers made a plan to safely approach Perkins and get him medical attention. Perkins was transported by ambulance to a Portland hospital for treatment to his injuries. The item Perkins dropped was later determined to be a realistic-looking replica firearm (photo released). A second replica handgun was seized as evidence from Perkins' van. 

Detectives learned that Perkins was under the influence of prescription narcotics and when police arrived, he attempted to force the officers to shoot and kill him as a method of suicide commonly known as "suicide by cop." 

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