A man was shot by police and later died at the hospital in Portland on Thursday evening, June 24, officials say.
Dozens of protesters swarmed the area surrounding a Motel 6, 518 N.E. Holladay St., in the Lloyd District as news spread online of the fatal encounter even before authorities had confirmed basic details.
They soon squared off with a large contingent of Portland Police Bureau officers, who deployed pepper spray and fired crowd-control munitions as they pushed the crowd away from the active crime scene. The demonstration, including some people clad all in black, continued past midnight.
A woman who described herself as an eyewitness to the shooting told Pamplin Media Group she heard two shots and watched one officer fire on a man in the midst of a mental health crisis.
"The guy was having a psychotic break," said the witness, Kalli Temple. "You could tell he wasn't all there."
Temple said she heard a commotion from her apartment at the Louise Flowers building and grabbed a pair of binoculars to get a better view of the man who, she said, was being led back into a second-floor room at the motel when the incident escalated.
"Dude wouldn't come in there. He went into another hotel room on the bottom," Temple said. "Cops got him out of there, he booked it and that's when the cops shot his a—."
Temple said the man was taken away by ambulance soon thereafter.
Police did not immediately identify the dead man, describing him only as a white male wearing black clothing, and said the identity of the officers involved in the shooting would be released later.
"We are early in this investigation. Preliminary information suggests our officer encountered a very difficult and dynamic situation that no officer wants to face," Police Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement after visiting the scene. "I want to thank all our members who responded to the scene as well as those who were out taking emergency calls in the city. I'm thankful and proud of their efforts."
Police responded to the motel for a welfare check around 7:06 p.m. Thursday following reports that a man was suicidal and "high on meth," according to emergency service dispatch audio.
Portland police advanced just now on protesters outside a Motel 6 where police shot a man earlier today— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) June 25, 2021
Crowd control munitions in use at active crime scene pic.twitter.com/m4k0INNjwI
Videos posted on social media showed officers shoving demonstrators, who later pushed northward against the police line on Grand Avenue, exposing a patrol vehicle whose tires were quickly slashed. Authorities said protesters used pepper spray on police, grabbed an officer's baton and also broke a window.
This is the second fatal police shooting of 2021 following the death of Robert Delgado in Lents Park in April, which also drew protesters to the scene.
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