Portland Police Chief Larry O'Dea to retire amidst investigation - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland Police Chief Larry O'Dea to retire amidst investigation

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Portland Police Bureau Chief Larry O'Dea (KPTV file image) Portland Police Bureau Chief Larry O'Dea (KPTV file image)

Portland Police Chief Larry O'Dea has decided to retire. 

It comes in the wake of an investigation where he is accused of accidentally shooting his friend and lying about it when questioned.

Attorney Derek Ashton, who represents O'Dea, sent the following statement to Fox 12.

"Larry O'Dea did not have alcohol on his breath nor was he was impaired or intoxicated.  He did not purposely point his gun at any person and did not knowingly discharge a firearm in the direction of his lifelong friend. His thoughts and prayers have been with his friend from the moment the accident occurred. Larry has always placed the security, health and wellbeing of others above himself while focusing on the greater good for the citizens he served and the Portland Police Bureau. With those priorities in mind, he has decided to retire. Looking forward, he is confident that the Oregon State Police and State Department of Justice will very soon conclude a professional and competent investigation of this camping accident that will clear up gross misstatements of facts contained in early reports."

According to a law enforcement summary of the incident, O'Dea was drinking and shooting at squirrels with a group of friends in Harney County on April 21, when one of the men yelled out in pain. 

According to law enforcement, Robert Dempsey, 54, had been shot in the lower back. O'Dea told a deputy investigating the incident that it appeared his friend was trying to holster a pistol and accidentally shot himself.

Weeks later, Dempsey told investigators that O'Dea had shot him.

The Portland Police Bureau first released information to the media about the incident on May 20, saying the shooting was the result of a "negligent discharge" from a .22 caliber rifle and O'Dea was "tremendously upset" about it.

O'Dea was put on administrative leave by Mayor Charlie Hales as multiple agencies, including the Independent Police Review Board, Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Justice, investigated the April 21 shooting.

He was also given a communication restriction order by the Independent Police Review Board which prevented him from discussing the case.

Assistant Chief Donna Henderson was named acting chief while O'Dea is on leave.

Mayor Hales is expected to announce O'Dea's retirement Monday morning. 

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