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May-13-2010 19:05printcomments

Traffic Stop Leads to Officer Being Shot and Officer-Involved Shooting

News release from Portland Police about Wednesday's fatal officer-involved shooting.

Police shooting

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Portland Police officers who attempted to stop a car yesterday, ended up in a pursuit and a major incident, which left a police officer shot through both legs, and a suspect dead.

This is an agency that just saw the dismissal of a police chief and the installment of a new one, yesterday. Chief Rosie Sizer was fired by Portland Mayor Sam Adams, who named Central Precinct commander Mike Reese.

According to the information they present, the officers went through numerous steps before firing their guns; they deployed tasers without being able to subdue the individual, and say they didn't shoot until one of their own was down from gunfire.

(Commentary: It is true that we are critical of police for their actions and believe questionable situations need to be examined closely. We also believe that there is a time when police officers have to use tasers and fire guns. Without knowing a great deal more about it, this sounds like a situation where the death was not easily avoidable - Tim King)

Below is the news release from Portland Police:

On Wednesday, May 12, 2010, at 6:21 p.m., Portland Police Officers James Defrain and Ryan Foote, both 6-year veterans and currently assigned to the Hotspot Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), attempted to stop a vehicle for traffic infractions in the area of N.E. Grand and Holladay.

The Officers activated their overhead lights, but the vehicle continued without stopping. The officers used their lights, siren and airhorn in an attempt to stop the vehicle, but the driver did not pull over. Eventually, the driver pulled the vehicle over to the curb on N.E. 6th Avenue, near Halsey.

As the officers approached the vehicle, the subject shouted profanities at the officers and was not complying with directions. Additional officers arrived and witnessed the subject reaching over toward the passenger area of the vehicle. A taser was deployed, but did not stop the subject's movements. Another taser was deployed, and again, did not have any effect on the subject's movements.

At some point, the subject pulled out a gun, shots were fired, and Officer Christopher Burley, a 5-year veteran assigned to HEAT, fell to the ground. HEAT Officers Cody Berne, a 5-year veteran, Andrew Polas, a 6-year veteran and Jim Defrain returned fire at the subject. Other Officers grabbed Officer Burley, took him to safety, and transported him to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in a police car. Emergency Medical Service was also dispatched to the scene to assist the subject.

Officers attempted to determine if the suspect was still a threat. A less lethal beanbag impact weapon was deployed. Officers immediately formed a team and approached the subject. They removed him from the vehicle and the subject began receiving medical assistance, but was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officer Christopher Burley was shot once in both legs and is expected to make a full recovery.

The Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy today on the deceased subject, and will confirm his identity and notify next of kin.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.