Police Shoot And Kill A Navy Veteran Who Was Trying To Stop A Fight

Portland is mourning the loss of Jason Washington, whom community members have described as an “upstanding man” and a “hero” to his five-year-old granddaughter.


A 45-year-old father of three was shot in Portland University by campus police after he attempted to break off a fight.

On Friday night, Jason E. Washington from Oregon was with a friend at the Cheerful Tortoise bar on Southwest Sixth Avenue. This is when a scuffle broke out between two other people present in the bar. One man stood up and used a racial slur to address a patron of the bar.

Soon, the two men had pounced on each other. As fighting ensued, a 25-year-old employee of the bar, Donald Dietz, called the police.

When police arrived, Washington was trying to pry one man off the other. In the attempt to do so, his concealed firearm fell from his holster and onto the floor. As he tried to pick it up, he was shot.

Keyaira Smith, who filmed the encounter, said Washington was just "trying to be a good Samaritan."

“The gun slipped out of the holster when he had fallen, and I think he may have tried to retrieve it,” Smith said.

However, she also said the officers began firing as soon as they saw the firearm.

However, Dietz, who is also an eyewitness of the incident, has a different account of the story. He said Washington was instructed multiple times to not pick up his firearm. He also said that he does not want people to think that officers present on the scene were "trigger-happy."

Other people, however, have different opinions. Washington’s friend said that he was a navy veteran and had a concealed carry permit for his gun.

“I saw the video, and there is no way he should have been shot,” said his friend Mike Joseph. “I wish he didn't have a gun on him, because this probably wouldn't have happened if he didn't.” 

Portland is mourning the loss of Jason Washington, whom community members have described as an “upstanding man” and a “hero” to his five-year-old granddaughter. The community is all the more enraged because Jason was shot without any strong reason as he tried to break off a fight.

Portland State University President Rahman Shoureshi has now asked campus security officials to conduct an internal review of the incident. Campus police officers Shawn McKenzie, and James Dewey have been placed paid administrative leave in the aftermath of the incident.

The incident also serves to highlight the fact that guns do not save lives. As Washington's friend pointed out, the tragedy probably would not have happened if he were not carrying the gun. In this instant, police officers probably mistook Washington as a dangerous assailant. The misunderstanding was further perpetuated by the fact Washington was at that time seemed to be involved in a scuffle with another man.

The police department has not yet determined exactly what caused the cops to shoot. But the terrible reality remains: a good and brave person is now dead. 

Banner Cred: Reuters/Stephen Lam

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