PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Saturday, dozens of people marched through the streets of Northeast Portland demanding justice for Andre Gladen, a blind, mentally ill man fatally shot by police in January.
The man who saw Gladen get shot told KOIN 6 News he’s still haunted by what happened that day.
There’s still a bullet hole in the wall inside Desmond Pescaia’s bedroom and the trauma is still there for Pescaia too.
“I want to move forward. I want to help. I want to be a voice that is heard,” he said. “Knowing that man died in my bedroom. And I see that bullet hole in my wall every day and have nightmares. I’m still not sleeping at night because of it.”
Gladen’s family held their rally on Saturday because they feel Gladen what murdered. His sister believes the knife he was accused of wielding belonged to the officer who shot Gladen and that it was planted to justify the shooting.
“All this, the information they provided, everything points back to them. But they’re the only ones who can’t see it,” Donna Martin said.
But Pescaia said the shooting happened in front of him and that’s not what happened. He told KOIN 6 News Gladen had already been tased and pulled the knife out of his pocket. He said the officer warned Gladen 6 or 7 times that he would shoot if Gladen didn’t stop.
“Just before Gladen could get the knife to him — they’re like inches apart and that’s when he had no choice but to fire,” Pescaia said.
Pescaia told KOIN 6 New she feels for the family but he doesn’t know how to move forward.
“You guys lost a son, a father, a friend, an ex-husband– I understand that,” he said. “Please understand I did everything I could to try to save his life.”
He said he told the grand jury that if he could have, he would have taken a bullet for Gladen.
The grand jury found the officer acted in self-defense and was cleared of wrongdoing.