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Portland Police Shoot Homeless Man

A Portland police officer fatally shot a man Sunday at a Southeast Portland home after the landlord reported a stranger who appeared to be homeless and suffering from a mental illness lying on a tenant’s door stoop.

An East Precinct Officer responded about 2 p.m. to a report of an “unwanted person” at the home in the 9600 block of Southeast Market Street, said police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley. The man allegedly wouldn’t leave the property.

Lidiya Omelchenko Omelchenko told OPB she called police after her neighbor told her there was a man who appeared to be sleeping directly outside his home.

“[My neighbor] came and talked to me, somebody sleeping on his porch, steps,” Omelchenko said in an interview. “I told him, ‘call the police.’ After this, I went to see this man and I called [the police] too.” She then waited for an officer to arrive, pointed to the man, then went into her nearby house.

“I thought I should call the police, they could help him, find him an apartment, a place to sleep,” she said. She also said the man appeared to be African American.

About 10 minutes later, she heard a single “pop,” Omelchenko said.

When she came out, the man was being carried out of the house with a sheet over him, she said.

The man was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was declared dead, Burley said.

Burley didn’t identify the man or the officer involved. The officer has been placed on administrative leave under standard police policy and will be identified within 24 hours, Burley said. Police will identify the dead man after an autopsy is completed and relatives are notified, he said.

Omlechenko expressed dismay at the man’s death.

Portland police have faced criticism in the last two years for officer shootings of black men, including Patrick Kimmons, 27, last year in downtown Portland and Quanice Hayes, 17, in Northeast Portland in 2017. Grand juries ruled both police shootings justified. The Police Bureau also is under a federal settlement reached after an U.S. Justice Department investigation found officers often used excessive force against people with mental illness.

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