A man fatally shot outside a sports bar by Portland State University campus police Friday night was a U.S. Navy veteran and father of three who was trying to break up a fight, reports said.
Jason E. Washington, 45, a U.S. Postal Service worker from Portland, Ore., was a licensed gun owner with a concealed carry permit, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.
But Washington’s gun dropped when he intervened in a fight that began inside the bar moved outside, witnesses told OPB.
The fight reportedly began over a racial slur.
Cellphone footage shows a gun slipping away from Washington in the middle of the scuffle. Officers can be heard shouting, “Drop the gun!” several times, before firing their weapons.
Witness accounts differed on how the scene unfolded.
Keyaira Smith, who filmed the encounter, told OPB that Washington was “trying to be a good Samaritan.”
“The gun slipped out of the holster when he had fallen, and I think he may have tried to retrieve it,” Smith said, adding that the officers began firing as soon as they saw the weapon.
“The gun slipped out of the holster when he had fallen, and I think he may have tried to retrieve it.”
“There was absolutely no hesitation at all,” she said.
But Donald Dietz, 25, an employee at the sports bar, claimed that the officers warned Washington first.
“They warned him multiple times not to reach for it, but he did,” Dietz said. “People think they were overzealous, but they had to do it.”
The two responding campus police officers were identified as Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey. Both men became sworn officers in 2016, two years after Portland State University began allowing campus police to carry firearms.
The officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, the Oregonian reported. Portland State University released a statement saying it would not be releasing further information for the time being.
Multiple agencies are investigating the fatal shooting.