Family of man killed in I-84 shootout left with questions

Family of man killed in I-84 shootout left with questions »Play Video
Kasmira Hamlet, the cousin of the man who police said opened fire on a state trooper on I-84 and then was shot dead by the trooper, said Friday she has no idea why her cousin, John Van Allen II, would have fired at police.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The family of a man who police say died in a shootout with a state trooper on Interstate 84 near The Dalles says there are still a lot of questions about how Thursday's shooting unfolded.

John Van Allen II, 34, was shot and killed by a trooper who pulled him over for speeding, according to Oregon State Police.

Allen's cousin, Kasmira Hamlet, who lives in Southeast Portland, said Friday she has no idea what may have led to the shootout. In fact, she doesn't know what he was doing on that section of I-84 with three children, apparently his own, after moving here about a year ago from Pennsylvania to start a new life.

Hamlet said she can't believe her cousin got into a shootout with a trooper. She had just seen him the day before the shooting.

"Everything was fine. He came over for my mom to do a little bit of paperwork for him," said Hamlet. "We didn't know where he was going or what he was doing, and so when the officer came by yesterday, you know, we were all just really, really shocked at what happened."

She has no idea why her cousin would have shot and wounded the state trooper who pulled him over.

Hamlet said she knows of no issues Allen had with police.

"Not since he's been out here, he hasn't been in any trouble," she said. "Like I said, we just don't know."

Oregon state police cruisers often record dash-cam video of traffic stops. Allen's friends in Pennsylvania hope there's video of what happened Thursday.

"He was extremely happy," said his friend Tiffany Haines. "He was never a violent person at all. I just can't see him doing that for no reason."

She said Allen was ordained when he was 22 and served as a pastor when he previously lived in Pittsburgh.

Hamlet said Allen left the Army to take care of his kids.

"And he's been trying to get back in ever since then," she said. "So, I don't know. He was just going through a lot. I'm sure he was going through a lot. Nobody knows what was going on in his head but him."

Allen's family said he had custody of his children, so that shouldn't have been a reason for any gunfire. They hope to talk to his children, but they remain in protective custody for now somewhere in The Dalles.