Oregon is an open carry state so it’s not illegal for a person to openly wear a pistol on their belt as they go about their business in public.
But it is led to police shooting and killing a man Friday night.
Jason E. Washington, 45, was open carrying a pistol when he was trying to break up a fight outside a bar in Portland. At one point, the gun fell out of its holster and landed on the sidewalk.
Washington went to pick it up as a Portland State University police officer yelled “drop the gun, drop the gun” before shooting and killing within three seconds.
Smartphone video recorded by a witness shows Washington trying to pull people away from the fight as at least Portland State University police officers yelled at people to “get back.”
According to the Oregonian:
A Portland man fatally shot early Friday outside a sports bar near Portland State University by campus police officers was a U.S. postal worker and father of three daughters who served in the Navy and married his high school sweetheart, friends say.
They identified the man as Jason E. Washington, 45. Friend Alyssa LeCesne said Washington was also a grandfather to a 5-year-old girl who “hero worshipped the ground he walked on.” She described him as a Franklin High School graduate and an upstanding man who was proud to have helped raise a household full of women.
Two Portland State University police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave after at least one of them opened fire near The Cheerful Tortoise along Southwest Sixth Avenue around 1:30 a.m.
The officers have been identified as Officer Shawn McKenzie, who has been with the campus public safety office since 2002, and Officer James Dewey, who’s been there since 2014. Both became armed sworn officers in 2016. The school’s board of trustees voted to allow their campus officers to carry firearms two years earlier.
A bar employee interviewed by the Oregonian said police had no choice but to kill Washington because he would not comply with their orders
“It’s just a really unfortunate situation,” said Donald Dietz, 25, an employee at the Cheerful Tortoise who witnessed the shooting. He had asked a co-worker to call the police when he saw a conflict inside the bar escalate and move outside. He was only a few feet away when the man was shot.
“The unfortunate situation is he was trying to help and break things up,” Dietz said of the man who was shot.
Dietz recalled the man reaching for his gun after police told him three or four times not to.
“They warned him multiple times not to reach for it, but he did,” Dietz said. “I don’t want the message out there that the cops were trigger-happy.” Dietz said employees at the Cheerful Tortoise did everything they could to stop the situation from escalating like it did. “It’s just that people got drunk and stubborn,” he added. “They had to do it,” he said of the officers involved. “People think they were overzealous, but they had to do it.”
But others are not seeing it that way, including more than 100 protesters who marched to Portland State University on Sunday wearing black and carrying signs demanding justice.
The fight began around 1:30 a.m. Friday over somebody using a racial slur on somebody else. The two cops, Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey, have been placed on administrative leave.
Washington, a navy veteran who worked for the United States Postal Service, married his high school sweetheart and leaves behind three daughters and a granddaughter.