A man who was killed during an officer-involved shooting in north Portland on Saturday was also a suspect in an armed robbery at a marijuana grow house last week, police said.
Investigators said 28-year-old Billy Wayne Simms was one of three suspects who stole marijuana plants from a house in southwest Portland on July 23 and fired a gun inside before leaving.
The victim in that robbery case gave officers the suspect's license plate number, which matched the car Simms was driving when he allegedly shot at a car full of innocent people in southeast Portland on Saturday afternoon.
Police said Simms also menaced people with the gun before that.
Officers tracked the car Simms was driving to a convenience store in north Portland and confronted Simms as he and another man walked out.
"One suspect complied and was taken into custody, and one man got in the car, started it and drove out of the lot. In the course of the encounter, one officer fired his weapon," said Lt. Robert King in a news release.
The car ended up crossing the street and crashing into an unoccupied unit in an apartment building.
Police said they found a handgun in the car but it remains unclear if Simms fired at the officers.
"He was decent. He had a good heart. Billy was a good guy," said Sheila Fitch, who visited a memorial set up by friends and loved ones Sunday.
Fitch and her son, Sean Keele, knew Simms since he was a boy and said he was distraught over the recent death of his mother. Keele said Simms was on parole and probably tried to drive off because he didn't want to go to jail.
"Why would the police shoot somebody who's taking off in a car?" said Keele. "They could have done something differently."
The officer who shot Simms has been identified as Justin Clary, who is a 10-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau.
Police are still investigating the case.
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