PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Grand jury transcripts about the shooting death of Jason Washington by armed PSU campus police reveal a “stupid drunk street brawl” that escalated quickly once Washington had a gun in his hand.
Officer James Dewey, one of the 2 PSU officers involved in the June 29, 2018 shooting outside the Cheerful Tortoise, told the grand jury he and Officer Shawn McKenzie arrived in together in a car.
“My priority was seeing if it was like 9 people beating up one person or 5 people beating up 5 people…to see if anybody needed immediate help,” Dewey told the grand jury.
“As I start assessing what’s going on, seeing if I can identify a victim or a, like a bad guy, just like one person who’s starting the fight, someone comes up on my left and says, ‘this guy has a gun, this guy pulled a gun on us earlier’…he pointed out, the subject,” Jason Washington.
Dewey said he saw “on his right hip, a black, it looked like a semi-automatic firearm, um, in a holster of some kind, um, which is, uh, shocking to say the least in downtown Portland.”
Dewey continued. “The guy with a gun on his hip was in the fight. Um, hadn’t quite picked up his role in that yet. Um, as soon as I heard gun and saw a gun, I don’t know if you’ve had that like adrenalized tunnel vision where you kinda like laser in on one thing, like you’re about to have a car accident, you feel like all you can see is the car that’s about to hit you? Um, so I, I could see the gun and I could see it’s in the fight.”
Dewey: “somebody hit somebody, somebody pulled somebody down and the whole group…went to the sidewalk. Um, and as we’re still shouting and trying to figure out what’s goin’ on, um, the guy with the gun stands up and it’s no
longer holstered.” pic.twitter.com/aL6NSU2iOU— Dan Tilkin (@DanTilkinKOIN6) October 9, 2018
The prosecutor asked Dewey how that changes things in a situation like that.
“It turns a stupid drunk street brawl into something that can be deadly very quickly,” Dewey said. “….If you’re carrying concealed, um, I would never teach anyone to car-, carry openly in downtown Portland.”
The group of fighters fell on the ground and as they got back up, Dewey said “the guy with the gun comes up with the gun in his hand. When the group went down, for whatever reason the guy drew the gun, stood up with the gun in his hand, um, I think it was at a low, kinda by his, by his thigh.”
Dewey said he knew things changed immediately.
“At this point, like it’s, kind a felt like that like twisting, like nauseous adrenalized feeling in your gut, that this is now, it’s no longer in the holster, it’s not safe anymore, it’s now in a fight and in his hand.”
“There’s still a ton of people, behind us yelling around him, kind of like just in a mob, essentially, around us…and that we’re now giving commands to drop the gun..that’s like, that’s your only option.”
Moments later, Dewey and McKenzie fired 17 shots, 9 of which hit Washington.
The medical examiner’s report said Washington, 45, died from multiple gunshots to his torso. He was hit in the chest, lower abdomen, thighs and back. Two of the gunshots grazed his head and lower back.
The gunshot wounds damaged his heart, aorta, lungs, liver, spleen, stomach and colon. Bullets also caused fractures of his collar bone and ribs.
After the shooting, both Dewey and McKenzie told officers that Washington pointed a gun at them.
PSU students are now engaging in an ongoing protest to disarm the campus police.