Two Portland State University police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave after a man was shot to death Friday outside a sports bar in Portland, Ore.
The Portland Oregonian reports that officers Shawn McKenzie, a campus public safety officer since 2002, and James Dewey, who has been on the force since 2014, had responded to a fight outside The Cheerful Tortoise bar in downtown Portland when the shooting occurred.
Witnesses say at least one of the officers opened fire after a man trying to break up the fight tried to pick up a gun that had fallen out of his holster.
"The unfortunate situation is he was trying to help and break things up," said Donald Dietz, 25, an employee at The Cheerful Tortoise who witnessed the shooting. "They warned him multiple times not to reach for it, but he did," Dietz said. "I don't want the message out there that the cops were trigger-happy."
Friends identified the shooting victim as Jason E. Washington, 45. He was a postal worker and father of three daughters who served in the Navy. They said Washington had a concealed-carry permit for his weapon.
Witnesses say the fight started after a man used racial slurs when speaking to another man.
Portland State University President Rahman Shoureshi has asked the campus public safety chief to conduct an internal review of the shooting, as well as the school's policy and procedures.
He said the school tries to provide a "safe and welcoming" environment on campus.
Students at the university staged a protest rally Sunday night to voice their opposition to having armed campus police officers. The university's board of trustees voted in 2014 to allow campus police to carry firearms.
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