A Clackamas County grand jury has declined to criminally charge a Gladstone police officer who shot and killed a 23-year-old Gladstone man in an armed confrontation at his home.
The grand jury met over two days, reviewing evidence presented by the Clackamas County District Attorney’s Office and returned its findings today.
The decision means that Gladstone Officer Steve Mixson will not face charges in the Aug. 14 death of Michael Justin Evans, who was “armed with a knife and threatened” him outside a home he shared with his grandmother, said Gregory D. Horner, chief deputy district attorney.
Mixson and fellow Officer Christopher Spore were dispatched around 10:30 p.m. to investigate a report by Evans’ grandmother, Judie K. Reich, that he was tearing up her house in the 300 block of West Fairfield Street. Details of the confrontation have not been released, but Mixson was identified as the officer who fired on Evans.
An orange spray-painted outline in the sunburned lawn indicated he died outside the house.
Gladstone Police Chief Jim Pryde said that since the grand jury has finished its work, he has called for an internal investigation to determine whether Mixson and Spore violated any department policies. He said the investigation would be headed by a Milwaukie police captain.
Meanwhile, Mixson and Spore will remain on paid administrative leave until they are certified by a physician that they are able to return to work.
“This has been a very difficult time for all of us,” Pryde said. “The officers were deeply impacted by it, and we are grieving for the family of Michael.”
At the same time, while calling Evans’ death a “tragedy,” Pryde said the grand jury’s finding affirmed that “Officer Mixson did his job a very, very difficult situation.”
Some who knew Evans said he said he was basically a sweet person who valued his friends and family. However, others said he led a troubled life gripped by mental illness and substance abuse, which occasionally made him almost unrecognizable.
According to Clackamas County 9-1-1 records, police were dispatched to his home 10 times in the past 20 months to investigate domestic disturbances, criminal mischief, noise complaints, suicide attempts and threats.
A former girlfriend obtained a restraining order against Evans five months ago after describing him as emotionally unstable, threatening and violent. She said he was in recovery from heroin addiction and that he had attempted suicide several times.
When he was killed, Evans still was on probation from 2011 convictions for attempting to elude a police officer, a Class C felony, and reckless driving, a Class A misdemeanor. Evans served seven days in jail as part of his sentence.
He also was on probation from a contempt of court citation he received last month.
Despite earlier reports, Evans’ father, Dean Michael Evans, said his son never talked about seeking “suicide by cop.”
Evans could not be reached. He is attending a celebration of life service for his son held today in Gresham.