PORTLAND, Ore. – Police involved in the Friday night shooting death of a man off Northeast Sandy Boulevard have admitted one of their own fired the fatal shot.
Meanwhile, KATU has learned that the man who died was suicidal after seeing his brother die just hours before in a Portland hospital.
"They always had each others' back," said sister Lashell Douglass. "They were two peas in a pod."
Twenty-five-year-old Aaron Marcell Campbell died Friday night after police responded to a call – from a friend of Campbell's girlfriend – saying he was suicidal. Police then shot Campbell with an assault rifle outside the Sandy Terrace Apartments.
Now the family is struggling with losing both young men, saying Campbell was obviously distraught because of his brother's death.
Behind the scenes
Campbell died around 6 p.m. after a Portland "lethal cover" officers fired an AR-15 rifle shot, killing him outside his Northeast 128th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard area apartment. An autopsy performed by the Multnomah County Medical Examiner's Office on Saturday confirmed cause of death as a single gunshot wound.
Family said Campbell had spent the past few weeks watching over the hospital bed of his brother, 23-year-old Timothy Douglass. Douglass passed away Friday morning after battling a heart condition.
Portland police said an officer shot Campbell when he did not respond to police commands.
The police respond
On Saturday, in response to KATU requests on the matter, the Portland Police Bureau released the police's case in a press release:
"On Friday, Jan. 29, at 4:22 p.m., Portland police officers responded to a 9-1-1 call regarding a suicidal man who was armed with a gun at an apartment complex in the 12800 block of Northeast Sandy Boulevard ... The caller told 9-1-1 that she thought the man possibly wanted to commit suicide by having the police shoot him. The caller said that she was concerned about her friend and her friend's children who were possibly with him because she had not been able to contact her.
"The first officer arrived at 4:30 p.m., quickly followed by additional officers. They made contact with a woman in the parking lot of the apartment complex. She told officers her boyfriend was inside the apartment with their children and had been despondent over the past few days, threatening suicide with a gun. She said her boyfriend had been carrying the gun with him and she had seen him put it the pocket of his black coat. While talking to the police, the woman sent a text message to her boyfriend asking him to come out. A short time after that, she received a text back from him that made comments about him bringing his gun out with him.
"Officers initiated communications with the man via text and cellular telephone. At 5:33 p.m., the three children came out of the apartment and police were able to reunite them with their mother.
"At 6:03 p.m., officers observed the man looking out from the back of the apartment. At 6:07 p.m., the man abruptly came out the front door of the apartment and officers began giving him directions in order to take him safely into custody. Initially, it appeared that the man was being compliant but then his actions suddenly changed. The man began making statements to the officers that they were going to have to shoot him.
"Due to the man's actions, one officer at the scene deployed a less-lethal bean bag round. The man continued to not comply with the officer's directions and, in response, the officer fired more bean bag rounds. The lethal cover officer fired his AR-15 rifle in response to perceived threatening actions. The actions of the man that was shot will be fully released to the public after all officers and witnesses have been interviewed."
Police say medical treatment was given
The press release argues that officers at the scene "immediately called for medical assistance but were not able to safely approach the man because they believed that he was still armed with a gun."
Police then called in the Special Emergency Reaction Team, which arrived 23 minutes later. The press release contends that SERT medics attended to the man and pronounced him deceased at the scene.
The officer who fired the AR-15 is an eight-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau and is assigned to East Precinct. All officers and witnesses at the scene are being interviewed by investigators.
Police contend that Campbell had a history of violent criminal behavior including weapons charges, resisting arrest and an active restraining order that prohibited him from carrying a firearm.