Man shot by transit police was armed with knife


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Portland police officer with the Transit Division shot and killed a young man in Southeast Portland following a disturbance and foot chase that evolved quickly.

An April 29, 2017 booking photo of 24-year-old Terrell Kyreem Johnson, who was shot to death by a transit officer on May 10, 2017. (PPB)

Just after 7 p.m. Wednesday, police were called over a disturbance in the area. According to Portland police, witnesses said 24-year-old Terrell Kyreem Johnson was acting erratically and threatening people at the Flavel Street Transit Station.

Jacob Howell, a transit officer from the West Linn Police Department, was the first to arrive at the station but Johnson did not listen to him and ran away when Officer Samson Ajir and his partner and brother Deputy AJ Ajir arrived.

Officer Ajir and Deputy Ajir followed Johnson on foot to the north side of Flavel Street at SE 92nd along the MAX tracks. Johnson was armed with a utility knife and when he got close, Officer Ajir fired multiple shots at Johnson.

Officers and paramedics immediately provided care, but Johnson died at the scene. The Oregon State Medical Examiner’s autopsy determined Johnson died from multiple gunshot wounds. Results from the toxicology are pending.

None of the transit police involved were injured and all are on standard administrative leave during the investigation. Officer Ajir will be on leave until the grand jury determines whether his use of deadly force was legal, but the others will be on leave for 3 days.

“We’ve been in contact with the victim’s family and certainly our thoughts and prayers go out to them,” Sgt. Pete Simpson said. “This is an incredibly difficult time for them. He, according to them, has been struggling with drug addiction which they believe has led to a decline in his mental health.”

According to police, Johnson was homeless and his mother had a restraining order against him.

Both Mayor Ted Wheeler and PPB Chief Mike Marshman went to the scene during the initial investigation along with representatives from the district attorney’s office and the police union.

One person died in an officer involved shooting at SE 92nd and Flavel Street on May 10, 2017. (KOIN)

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Johnson family and the families of Officer and Deputy Ajir during this difficult time,” Marshman said in a statment. “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,” Wheeler said in a statement. “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.”

The Green Line MAX was disrupted due to the police activity but is now open.

Police are asking any witnesses who saw, heard or captured video of the incident to contact authorities at 503.823.3333 as the investigation is ongoing.

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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