PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An officer-involved shooting that left a domestic violence suspect dead was caught on video by a man who said he believes the officers were justified.
The incident began just after midnight Sunday when police responded to a fight between a man and woman around SE 148th and Clinton in Portland. But when officers tried to arrest the man — whose name has not yet been publicly released — a struggle broke out followed by gunfire.
KOIN 6 News obtained video of the incident taken by Chris Ponte of Oregon Cop Watch, a group he said is designed to hold police accountable.
Just after the struggle begins, the suspect is on the ground with the officers on top and trying to control him. The video shows both officers have their guns holstered. It appears the suspect pulls out a gun and fires it into the air near the male officer.
About 15 seconds pass between that shot, which police said was fired by the suspect, and the 6 shots that follow.
Still photos from Ponte’s video shows the male officer taking hold of the suspect’s gun before the female officer takes her gun and shoots him on the ground from close range.
Ponte was only feet away from the gunfire. He said he understands what the police were doing.
“I believe the officers in their hearts were legit trying to defend themselves,” Ponte said. “But the pistol was not in the guy’s hand at the time when she shot him 6 times.”
Late Sunday, PPB identified the officer who shot the suspect as Officer Mina Cavalli-Singer, who has been with the bureau for nearly 5 years.
Neighbor Judi Christensen said she heard the gunfire and rushed out to see what happened.
“Oh my gosh, it was the most horrifying thing I saw. Because the girl was laying on top of him and she was just screaming ‘He’s dead! He’s dead!’ She must have said that 100 times. She kept lifting his arm and dropping it back down on the ground, trying to hold his face,” Christensen said.
What followed was hard to watch, she said.
“Putting him in a body bag was enough to make anybody just cringe, or cry. My older son was almost in tears, he was so upset about it. It was so emotional.”
Chief Chuck Lovell responded to the scene and said, “I’m glad our officers are OK, and this highlights how dangerous this job can be.”
“My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all who were impacted by last night’s officer-involved shooting,” tweeted Mayor Ted Wheeler. “This incident is being thoroughly investigated under the leadership of the DA’s office. I look forward to hearing their findings.”
PPB said it is conducting an internal review of the shooting before the case goes to the Police Review Board, a group of community members, law enforcement personnel and representatives of the Independent Police Review Division.