Portland police shot and killed a man inside a homeless shelter Saturday night, after he allegedly stole and crashed a vehicle in Southeast Portland, then burst into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting wielding a knife.
The man, who has yet to be identified by officials, was allegedly involved in a carjacking. Police say he crashed the stolen vehicle and fled on foot. He tried to hide inside the Cityteam Ministries Portland Shelter on Southeast Grand Avenue.
A graphic video captured by a witness shows a gaggle of Portland police officers entering the shelter as people ran to the back corner of an open room. Officers shouted for the man to drop a weapon, though it is unclear if the man was armed at the time of the shooting.
Officers fired on the man after less than a minute in the room.
On Sunday morning, three witnesses told The Oregonian that the man killed by police had rushed into the shelter shirtless during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, waving a knife and cutting himself. "It was horrific," the man who took the video told The Oregonian. "We were all scared for our lives."
The videographer, Morgan Pickering, told The Oregonian he felt the shooting was justified. "I applaud their actions," he said. "They actually saved lives."
That is unlikely to quash controversy in a city where police have fatally shot three people in the past 16 months.
The shooting has already sparked outrage among activists and observers who have been objecting to excessive use of force and the criminalization of homelessness in recent months. It is unclear whether the man shot and killed by officers was homeless or had any association with the shelter.
The Portland Police Bureau says it will release the identities of the officers involved in the shooting Sunday. The officers will be placed on paid administrative leave pending a grand jury decision on whether the fatal shooting was legally justified.