Police: Man displayed knife before he was shot and killed by officer

Terrell Kyreem Johnson (Portland Police photo).jpg

The man shot and killed by a Portland Police Bureau officer assigned to the transit division Wednesday evening has been identified as 24-year-old Terrell Kyreem Johnson.

READ MORE: Portland transit officer shoots, kills man near SE 92nd and Flavel Street

Police were called to the Flavel Street Transit Station Wednesday night for a report of a man acting erratically and threatening people.

The first officer to respond was Jacob Howell of the West Linn Police Department, who was assigned to the Transit Police Division. When he arrived on scene, Howell spoke with Johnson who was non-compliant and would not sit down, officials said.

Portland Police Officer Samson Ajir and Clackamas County Sheriff's Deputy AJ Ajir responded to the scene next. They are brothers.

Officials say Johnson then took off, first running westbound on Flavel and then eastbound, before getting on the MAX tracks and running over Johnson Creek.

Steve Alexander who lives nearby and witnessed it all said Johnson was crouching on the MAX tracks about 7 to 10 feet from the officer when he pulled out a knife.

Officer Ajir was closing in on Johnson when the man displayed a utility knife, police said. Officer Ajir fired his handgun several times, hitting Johnson. Additional officers arrived, bringing a shield for officer-safety. The group then attempted medical aid until paramedics arrived.

"There's no doubt in my mind what that guy was going to do. At first I had to digest what had just happened in front of me cause I really didn't know if the guy who was running that pulled out and shot or if it was the officer. It was that fast," Alexander said.

Johnson was pronounced dead shortly after. A utility knife was found at the scene, police said.

Johnson's family told police he had been struggling with drug addiction, which may have affected his mental health.

"All of it's been applied and we'll see, but I don't see a justification in shooting an unarmed citizen, especially if they're in mental distress," Teressa Raiford, an organizer with Don't Shoot PDX, said.

Officer Ajir is an 8-year veteran of the PPB. He has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office. Deputy Ajir and Officer Howell were placed on 3-day administrative leave.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Mike Marshman both responded to the shooting Wednesday evening. They've released the following statements:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Johnson family and the families of Officer and Deputy Ajir during this difficult time," said Marshman. "This is not the outcome anyone desires and it's distressing for all involved. We remain committed to full transparency and upon completion of the grand jury, we will ensure the entire investigation is released in a timely manner."

"I have been in regular communication with Chief Marshman about these events, and we agree that information should be provided to the public in a timely and transparent manner," said Wheeler. "As facts become available, we must acknowledge that this is a difficult time for the Johnson family and for the officers involved. My thoughts are with them."

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