The man shot to death by Portland police during a traffic stop two days ago suffered from a ‘mood disorder’, according to his parents who released a statement Friday night about their son’s death.
Keaton Dupree Otis, 25, was diagnosed with the disorder in 2004, his parents Felesia [Otis] and Joseph Otis wrote in the statement.
They said they wanted the public to know about “the limited options and restrictive laws preventing families from intervening”. They said they want to change the law to expand the “definition of harm to self or others for a civil commitment to include additional significant symptoms.”
His parents said their son told them he loved them every day and had many friends as a boy from many different walks of life. They said he went to Benson High School and majored in Architectural Graphic Design.
His parents said their thoughts and prayers are with Officer Chris Burley who was wounded in the exchange of gunfire between Otis and police.
Otis died after police officers said he pulled out a gun and shot at them, hitting one officer twice. Members of HEAT, a team that deals with gangs, had been following Otis for traffic violations with lights flashing from the Lloyd Center area to NE 6th near Halsey Street.
Once Otis finally pulled over officers said he was combative. Police tried twice to subdue him with stun weapons before they say Otis began shooting.
A witness to the incident who recorded the confrontation on her cell phone recorded 40 gunshots in total over just a few seconds.
According to the medical examiner, Otis died from multiple gunshots to his chest.
Otis’ death is the latest high-profile officer-involved shooting by the Portland Police Bureau this year. The officer who was shot, Chris Burley, was released from the hospital Friday afternoon.
The incident came just hours after Portland Mayor Sam Adams took control of the bureau and shuffled staff including firing Chief Rosie Sizer and appointing veteran Mike Reese as the new chief.
The investigation into the shooting incident is continuing. Records show Otis was charged with a traffic violation in Oregon in 2007. He also has a robbery conviction from 2003 which may have been when he was still in high school.
Otis was the only occupant of the vehicle.
One person who knew him said he was stunned because Otis was a role model who told him to stay away from guns.
“He always told me to do good,” said Jimmy Jimenez, who said Otis told him that he didn’t want to see him get into trouble. “I just found out last night. We got out of the movies, me and my brother, and we were just talking about him. … Then the next thing you know, here’s this phone call: Keaton’s dead.”
“It’s just absolutely a shame that things have come to that in today’s society,” said Carl Strong, a neighbor.
“When I got the call, I was shocked,” said Brandon Cabine, a friend of Otis. “Of all people in Portland, Ore. – him? With the police? For what? For nothing? The man has no record. I’m not mad at the police at all, but on the same token, it becomes that psyche. That young black males get that psyche that they feel like they have to defend themselves.”
Friends and neighbors said they had no reason to believe Otis was in a gang. They said he seemed like a nice kid who comes from a good family who was an artist who designed T-shirts.
READ – Parents of Keaton Otis release statement about their son’s death: Read the statement.