PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – A man was hospitalized after he was shot by an officer who responded to a scene involving an “unwanted person” at a convenience store in Portland’s Old Town Tuesday night, according to police.
The Portland Police Bureau said officers were called to a store in the 600 block of Northwest Naito Parkway at 9:36 p.m. and arrived at the scene at 9:44 p.m. Prior to arriving at the store, PPB said officers were told a white man had taken some food without paying, lay down on the floor and refused to leave the store. Once at the store, police tried to reach the man, who PPB said had moved farther into the business. After eight minutes at the store, an officer shot the man. Four minutes after the shooting, police said officers “reached him” for medical aid. He was then transported to a hospital with a non-life-threatening injury.
It is unclear if other customers were present at the time of the shooting. Police did not say if the man was armed and did not provide any other details about what led up to the shooting.
As per bureau policy, the officer who fired their weapon has been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting and use of force are investigated. PPB said no officers were hurt in the shooting. The name of the officer is expected to be released Wednesday. The man who was shot has been identified as 32-year-old Joshua Kyle Merritt.
"This is a situation that no officer wants to face. We are in the preliminary stages but will conduct a thorough investigation," said Chief Chuck Lovell in a statement provided by PPB. "I want to thank everyone who responded to the scene as well as those who were out taking emergency calls in the city." According to PPB, Chief Lovell personally notified Mayor Ted Wheeler of the shooting and the mayor’s chief of staff came to the scene. Wheeler is the commissioner of PPB.
Samuel Watkins, a man who lives in the area, told FOX 12 that this kind of shooting “is nothing new. I knew it was going to happen.” Watkins has lived in Portland since 1988 and believes the man who was shot is homeless. “The city needs to do something about this. This is ridiculous,” he said. “I've never seen the homeless problem like this at all.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact Detective Michael Greenlee at Michael.Greenlee@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-0871 or Detective Brad Clifton at Brad.Clifton@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-0696.