PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland police officer was justified in his use of deadly force that led to the death of 17-year-old Quanice Hayes in February, a Multnomah County Grand Jury ruled on Tuesday.
Officer Andrew Hearst shot and killed Hayes following a series of events that began with a report of an armed robbery at the Portland Value Inn Hotel.
The victim told officers on the scene Hayes put a gun to his head and held him hostage in his car for nearly 30 minutes before stealing his Oregon Trail EBT card and some clothes, according to Portland Police Bureau.
A short time later, police received a report of a car prowl at Banfied Pet Hospital nearby. The victim’s description of the suspect matched the one provided by the victim of the initial robbery. Police also said an item of clothing found in the second victim’s car was linked to the first victim, PPB said.
Then someone reportedly called 911 to report someone in their yard on NE Tillamook Street. Police said the description of the suspect was consistent with the others.
Officers searched the area and found Hayes in a side yard. He allegedly told police he lived in the home. But as officers checked with the homeowner, Hayes fled. Police said they noticed Hayes was holding his waistband as he ran away.
A perimeter was set up around the neighborhood and police said they found items Hayes left behind that allegedly connected him to all of the crime scenes.
Officers later found a home with a broken window on NE Hancock Street. Hayes was found crouching in an alcove between the garage and the home.
Police said they believed he was armed with a handgun when they ordered him to keep his hands up and crawl out of the alcove.
He started to get up, police said, but got upright on his knees and made “repeated and deliberate motions with his hands to the area of his waistband and pockets.”
That’s when Officer Hearst fired 3 shots at Hayes, striking him twice in the torso and once in the head. Hayes died at the scene, and toxicology tests showed he had cocaine, benzodiazepine and hydrocodone in his blood at the time, police said.
It was later determined Hayes had a realistic-looking replica firearm.
Loved ones said they couldn’t make sense of the allegations against Hayes. In the wake of his death, protesters marched to demand justice and confront police.
Some who admitted Hayes may have made mistakes said he didn’t deserve to die.
Police released this statement in response to Tuesday’s grand jury ruling:
“The Portland Police Bureau respects the value and sanctity of human life and recognizes the inherent dignity of every person. The Bureau understands that investing officers with the authority to use force to protect the public welfare creates a solemn obligation to guide members as they balance the important social and individual interests involved. The Bureau recognizes that duty may require members to use force. The Bureau also recognizes that the use of deadly physical force will emotionally, physically, and psychologically impact the member involved, the subject of the deadly physical force, and the family and friends of both and can impact the community as well.”