Witness to deadly PSU officer-involved shooting: 'Good guy ended up getting shot'

In this still image from cellphone video, Portland State University campus police officers can be seen opening fire. The shooting killed a man. (Image: Keyaira Smith)

Multiple witnesses saw the deadly shooting of a man involving Portland State University campus police early Friday morning.

They said the man who was shot had a gun, but that he was trying to break up a fight.

The shooting happened around 1:30 a.m. near Southwest Broadway and College Street.

Based on information gathered during the investigation, Portland Police Bureau detectives believe Portland State University Police Department officers were nearby when they heard of a street fight near the Cheerful Tortoise, at 1939 S.W. 6th Ave.

PSU officers contacted the people believed to be involved in the disturbance. Shortly after, officers reported that shots had been fired.

Keyaira Smith captured the shooting on her cellphone. She said she just wanted to capture the fight, but it turned out to be a shooting.

“From there it just kind of took a turn for the worst, and the good guy ended up getting shot,” Smith said.

On the video, about 10 gunshots can be heard fired from the officers in just a couple of seconds.

“I was so distraught that I just saw what was on my phone and tried to keep the peace until it got out of hand, and then I went and hid because I didn’t know who was shooting,” said Smith. “I didn’t know if police were shooting, if he was shooting, and if he was shooting at what angle, and like, what directions it was going.”

Witnesses said a gun fell out of the man’s gun holster during the fight. They said the man who was shot reached for it and that’s when officers fired.

Witnesses told KATU that the man who was shot was in his late 30s or early 40s.

Zachary Walker said he saw the shooting. He said his friends were in a fight with another man and the man who was shot was trying to break up that fight. He said the shooting wasn't necessary. He said he didn't ever feel threatened by the man who was just trying to stop the fight.

"I understand the guy has a gun, and you didn't know, but still -- we didn't feel threatened with a guy with a gun," Walker said. "He was a cool guy and nothing was going to happen. We knew he had it, and nothing was going to happen that night."

Portland police responded to the shooting. It is the lead agency in the investigation.

PSU said it was the first officer-involved shooting on campus.

Two campus police officers were placed on paid administrative leave. PSU identified them as Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey. Both have been sworn officers since 2016. Before that, they were nonsworn officers. Sworn officers can carry guns.

The university said it is cooperating with investigators and plan on reviewing what happened internally.

In a statement, PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi said, “Campus safety is our top priority at PSU. As you know, we are an urban campus, and that presents challenges. We work hard to provide an environment at PSU that is safe and welcoming.”

There are security cameras in the area of the shooting. Portland police are asking people with any video of what happened to help them in the investigation.

The name of the person who was killed in the shooting hasn’t been released.

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