What happened to John Elifritz

John Elifritz was shot and killed by Portland Police officer Richard Bailey, officer Justin Damerville, officer Kameron Fender, officer Alexandru Martiniuc, officer Bradley Nutting, officer Chad Phifer, officer Andrew Polas, and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Sieczkowski on April 7, 2018. Elifritz was in an addiction and mental health crisis. He is the first person killed by Portland Police in 2018, the 13th since the signing of the Settlement Agreement to US DOJ v City of Portland.

Articles below are listed chronologically, with the most recent on top. Only a portion of the article is shown; click on the link for full articles. Most videos and photos are at the bottom of this post.

Note, from past experience many facts and positions published in the media and by police subsequently are found to be inaccurate or propaganda. Take this into account as you read.


Ted Wheeler Describes Conflict Between Mayor, Police Commissioner Roles – KUOW.org, April 13, 2018

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, the sole possessor of bureau assignment powers on City Council, said Portland doesn’t have a governance system where the mayor is in a position to hold a police commissioner accountable.

Wheeler, who is mayor and the Portland Police Bureau commissioner, said there are conflicts between his two jobs.

“With the officer involved shooting, people are out in front of my office with signs saying, ‘Why aren’t you speaking out on this? Why aren’t you telling us more?,'” Wheeler said, speaking at the second of two state of the city addresses Friday.

“And the answer is: I’m the police commissioner and I have an obligation to the integrity of those investigations as well as setting the vision for the city, so sometimes there is that conflict.”


Elifritz Family Hires National Civil Rights Attorney to Investigate Portland Police Shooting – Mercury, April 12, 2018

A Chicago-based civil rights attorney known for representing victims of police brutality has begun an investigation into the death of John Elifritz, the 48-year-old man fatally shot by Portland officers Saturday.

“We believe the narrative the police are putting out there is not consistent with what we think the truth is,” Attorney Andrew M. Stroth, who is representing the Elifritz family, told the Mercury. “Our view is that they used excessive and lethal force based on what’s clearly a mental health issue. What police did to John was unconstitutional.”


Wheeler wants to wait for all the facts on deadly police shooting – KATU.com, April 12, 2018

Mayor Ted Wheeler is asking for patience as two investigations are launched into last weekend’s police shooting.

Wheeler says he’s worried people don’t have all the facts at this point.

The mayor says he wants to wait for all the facts before he comes to any conclusions.


Police shooting at shelter draws deep concerns from reform advocates – Oregonian, April 12, 2018

A social justice watchdog group on Thursday questioned the effectiveness of a federal settlement to reduce excessive force by Portland police against people with mental illness in the wake of Saturday night’s fatal police shooting of a man with a knife inside a homeless shelter.

Based on a video taken by a witness and released the morning after the shooting, the coalition of area ministers and advocates for police reform said its members were deeply concerned that officers didn’t appear to try to de-escalate the encounter.

“It was not clear whether the officers had a tactical plan or whether a sergeant or other on-scene supervisor authorized the use of deadly force,” the Albina Ministerial Alliance’s Coalition for Justice and Police Reform said in a statement.

The group also noted that the shelter is run by a ministry, “which should be a sacred space.”

“Although all the facts of this deadly force shooting are not in and the investigation is not complete, this case could possibly be a major step backward for the Portland Police Bureau” in its effort to change the way officers deal with people in mental health crisis, the coalition said.


Portlanders protest police in wake of officer-involved shooting – KPTV.com, April 12, 2018

Several dozen people gathered in front of Portland City Hall Wednesday afternoon to support the homeless and rally against police brutality.

KPTV – FOX 12

It comes in the wake of a police shooting – officers shot and killed 48-year-old John Elifritz Saturday night in a homeless shelter in southeast Portland.

“I’m horrified by the shooting and police brutality,” said protester April Burris.

Attendees said they are particularly troubled by a video showing the final moments of Elifritz’s life.


Rally for homeless held at City Hall after man shot by officer at shelter – KATU.com, April 12, 2018

A rally organized by activist group Portland’s Resistance took place outside Portland City Hall Wednesday afternoon.

Event organizers say the rally is in response to an officer-involved shooting Saturday night, in which a man was shot an killed by police in a homeless shelter.


Portland Police Shoot and Kill Man at Homeless Shelter – The Skanner, April 12, 2018

Several of the officers involved have use-of-force incidents in their past: Polas was involved in the 2010 shooting of Keaton Otis, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot 23 times after being stopped for unsignaled lane changes and shooting an officer in the groin. Phifer was cited in the Department of Justice’s investigation of Portland police as an example of PPB’s use of excessive force against people with mental illness, after an incident where he fired a Taser repeatedly and punched a man with mental illness multiple times. In 2014 Nutting used a stun gun in 2014 against Portland bicyclist Matthew Klug.

In the hours leading up to his death Elifritz suffered an apparent mental health crisis, and a video of the shooting shows him more than 20 feet away from the officers in the building. He entered CityTeam Ministries homeless shelter as an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting was about to start; friends of Elifritz’s say he had graduated six months before from an addiction recovery program at Central City Concern. Police and witness accounts say Elifritz held a knife to his own throat during an earlier police encounter in Southeast Portland after calling 911, and later crashed a stolen car near the shelter.


Demonstrators rally at Portland City Hall in response to homeless shelter shooting (29 photos) – Oregonian, April 11, 2018


Protesters Demand Answers in the Shooting Death of John Elifritz – Mercury, April 11, 2018

Around 75 people met in front of City Hall this afternoon to protest the death of John Elifritz, a 48-year-old man who was reportedly in the midst of a mental health crisis when a group of Portland officers shot him to death Saturday, April 7. Elifritz died inside the Cityteam Ministries homeless shelter after he allegedly swung a knife at a police dog, but we’re still waiting for an official investigation report from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) of what caused officers to open fire.

“There is no reasonable explanation how a dozen well-trained professional police officers, who have all been trained in mental health intervention, would have made the decision that they made on Saturday,” said Portland City Council candidate JoAnn Hardesty, addressing the crowd. Many in the group held handmade signs with messages like “Police the Police” and “Disarm Cops.”


Elifritz, police began crossing paths in 1991 – KOIN.com, April 10, 2018

The man who was shot to death inside the Portland City Team Ministries Shelter in Southeast Portland on Saturday had a lengthy criminal record — beginning nearly 3 decades ago.

Forty-eight-year-old John Elifritz was first arrested, according to court documents, in 1991, but the most notable arrest — the one that sent him to prison for a year — occurred several years later.


Unique look inside job of Portland officers who were involved in deadly shooting – KPTV.com, April 11, 2018

KPTV – FOX 12

Two of the officers involved in the shooting that killed a 48-year-old man in southeast Portland were interviewed the night before by FOX 12 Investigators working on an unrelated story.

Officers Kameron Fender and Andy Polas are experienced members of the Portland Police Bureau’s Gang Enforcement Team. Polas has been an officer for 14 years, and Fender has 12 years of experience.


‘Beds not bullets’ rally against PPB, Wheeler planned – KOIN.com, April 11, 2018

A rally against Portland Police, as well as a resource drive for the homeless, will take place in front of Portland City Hall on Wednesday afternoon, four days after John Elifritz, a suspect in a carjacking on Saturday, was killed at a shelter in Southeast Portland.

The “Beds Not Bullets” rally, organized by PDX Resistance, has been planned since Sunday. It”ll began at 4 p.m.

“We are encouraging people to attend the rally to hear about our brutal police department, the police union contract and how we plan to change it in the upcoming negotiations, Ted Wheeler’s proposed plan to further oppress marginalized groups, and to support our houseless community members,” the Facebook event page said.


Man killed by police at homeless shelter was once part of white supremacist group – KATU.com, April 10, 2018

John Elifritz was featured in a 2007 Portland Monthly article as a member of European Kindred, a white supremacist gang formed in Oregon prisons in the 1990s.


Officers in deadly SE Portland shooting identified; subsequent threats deemed not credible – KPTV.com, April 10, 2018

The Portland Police Bureau delayed the release of those names to assess threats made regarding their safety. Investigators ultimately could not locate any credible information in connection with those threats.

The Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office “take threats to officer safety very seriously and would ask the public to share any threat information with law enforcement,” according to a statement.


Portland Police Release the Names of Officers Who Fired on Man in Southeast Homeless Shelter – Willamette Week, April 10, 2018

The officers and a sheriff’s deputy opened fire on a man apparently in the midst of a mental health crisis, after he refused to drop a knife.


Police: Suspect’s behavior escalated before fatal shooting – Portland Tribune, April 10, 2018

The release of the names was delayed while police investigated a threat against the officers and deputy. No viable threat was found.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner confirmed that Elifritz, 48, died of gunshot wounds. Toxicology results are pending.

Police say the bureau is continuing to investigate the in the Cityteam Ministries Portland Shelter, located at 526 Southeast Grand Avenue.

There were also 12 officer witnesses, all of whom have been interviewed by investigators. There were also numerous community members who have been interviewed.


Questions Remain After Deadly Shooting By Portland Police In Homeless Shelter – OPB.org, April 10, 2018

John Elifritz called 911 Saturday afternoon to report that his family was murdered. When Portland, Ore., police officers responded, Elifritz showed suicidal tendencies — holding a knife to his own throat — and eventually fleeing from the officers.

Hours later, Elifritz was dead, shot by police at the Cityteam Ministries Shelter.


Officers Involved in Elifritz Shooting Have History of Using “Excessive Force” Against Mentally Ill – Portland Mercury, April 10, 2018

Portland police have released the names of the seven police officers and one Multnomah County Sheriff’s Deputy involved in fatally shooting John Elifritz at a Southeast homeless shelter. Based on video of the Saturday, April 7 incident and witness testimony, it appears Elifritz was in the midst of a mental crisis when he was shot. PPB have yet to verify this claim. PPB initially refused to release the names, after claiming to have received threats on the officers’ lives.


Retired officer, mental health advocate offer opposing views of Portland police shooting – KGW.com, April 9, 2018

KGW took video from the Saturday night shooting and showed it to retired Portland Police Captain Scott Winegar and mental health advocate Jason Renaud.


‘So frustrated, so angry, so hurt, so mad’; family of man killed by police speak out – KATU.com, April 9, 2018

Family members of the man shot and killed by Portland police Saturday say officers used poor judgment when they shot and killed John Elifritz.

Barbara Pierce, Elifritz’s cousin, said officers “took the totally wrong approach” when they encountered Elifritz inside a Cityteam Ministries. She said family members are having a hard time with what happened.


Questions over deadly police shooting at Oregon homeless shelter – CBS News, April 9, 2018

Groups and family members are raising questions about whether officers resorted to deadly force too quickly when they shot and killed a man inside a Portland, Oregon, homeless shelter who was wanted for a carjacking. Bystander video posted on social media shows officers firing rounds not long after entering the shelter with guns drawn Saturday.

Witnesses said the suspect had a knife. The man appears to have his arms at his sides as almost a dozen officers stand with guns and rifles drawn. The video shows him across the room from officers before he appears to move closer to them, though it’s not clear why and a barrier partially obscures the view. They open fire, and the man falls to the floor.


Witness: Police shot bean bags before killing man at shelter – AP Wire, April 9, 2018

David Abbs was sitting in his wheelchair inside a Portland, Oregon, homeless shelter when a shirtless man burst in, grabbed a jacket from a donation bin and dashed outside.

The man ran back in and tried to cut himself with a knife on the neck and wrist before officers fired bean bag rounds at him, Abbs recalled Monday. Moments later, police shot John Elifritz dead near the shelter’s kitchen as stunned witnesses looked on.


Portland police, hours before killing suspect, encountered him with knife to throat – Oregonian, April 9, 2018

Hours before shooting a carjacking suspect Saturday night, Portland police officers responded to an earlier incident involving the same man, who appeared to be suicidal and holding a knife to this throat, but they decided to not engage with him and left the scene, according to police dispatch recordings.


Citing Threats, the Portland Police Bureau Isn’t Releasing the Names of Officers who Killed a Man in a Homeless Shelter – Willamette Week, April 9, 2018
Police say they encountered John Elifritz hours before he was shot, but did not pursue him at the time.


Investigation Continues Into Officer-Involved Shooting – Portland Police Bureau press release, April 9, 2018

Includes immediate timeline.


Police hold names of officers involved in deadly shooting, release timeline of events – KATU.com, April 9, 2018

Citing policy, the Portland Police Bureau said Monday that it is not immediately releasing the names of the officers involved in Saturday’s deadly shooting at a homeless shelter because threats are being made to their safety.

The bureau also confirmed that the man officers shot at the Cityteam Ministries on Southeast Grand Avenue was 48-year-old John Andrew Elifritz.


ACLU of Oregon statement on the shooting death of John Elifritz – April 9, 2018


Vigil attendees upset over deadly police shooting, ACLU raises questions – KATU.com, April 9, 2018

Victoria Nevarez says she grew up with Elifritz in Portland. She and some other friends left a memorial for him outside Cityteam Ministries Portland Shelter, where he was shot and killed.

“Us as the community love him. He was an upstanding individual with a family, daughter, grandchildren,” said Nevarez. “John-John would give you the shirt off his back. He would’ve done anything in the world for anybody.”


Portland police got 911 calls before man was killed at homeless shelter – Salem Statesman Journal / AP Wire, April 9, 2018

David Abbs was sitting in his wheelchair inside a Portland homeless shelter when a shirtless man burst in, grabbed a jacket from a donation bin and dashed outside.

The man ran back in and tried to cut himself with a knife before officers fired bean bag rounds at him, Abbs recalled Monday. Moments later, police shot John Elifritz dead as stunned witnesses looked on.


Timeline: Carjacking suspect shot, killed by Portland police officers – KGW.com, April 9, 2018

A carjacking suspect was shot and killed by Portland Police Bureau officers inside a homeless shelter in southeast Portland on Saturday night.


David Elifritz identifies brother as man shot by Portland police, has many questions – Oregonian, April 8, 2018

David Elifritz was selling antique car parts Sunday at the Portland Expo Center when he got a call from a friend, alerting him that his younger brother was caught on video Saturday night getting shot by Portland police officers.

Elifritz was sent the link to the video and watched it for himself.

“I was shook up,” the elder Elifritz said, confirming Sunday afternoon to The Oregonian/OregonLive that the man in the video fatally shot by Portland police was his younger brother, John Andrew Elifritz, 48.


New Details of Shooting Raise More Questions About Police Decisions in a Portland Homeless Shelter – Willamette Week, April 8, 2018

John Andrew Elifritz, a 48-year-old shipyard worker, was fatally shot by Portland police Saturday. Social media posts indicate he had been suffering from a mental health crisis.


Portland police ID man killed in officer-involved shooting; timeline of events released – KPTV.com, April 8, 2018

Police have identified the suspect who was killed in an officer-involved shooting and investigators released a timeline of events that preceded the deadly shooting.

The Portland Police Bureau reported Monday that seven officers and one Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office deputy were involved in the shooting Saturday that killed 48-year-old John Andrew Elifritz. Another 12 officers were witnesses to the shooting.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner concluded Elifritz died of gunshot wounds. Toxicology results are pending.


PPB timeline, witnesses paint picture of shelter shooting – KOIN.com, April 8, 2018

Police, as well as witnesses, are providing more information to what led up to an officer-involved shooting in Southeast Portland on Saturday that left one man dead.

At 8 p.m. on Saturday, at Portland City Team Ministries Shelter, officers shot and killed 48-year-old John Elifritz.


Suspect dead in officer-involved shooting in SE Portland – KOIN.com, April 8, 2018

A man who is suspected of crashing a stolen car is dead after police found him and opened fire in SE Portland Saturday night, according to Portland Police.

Portland police said it all started with a carjacking on the east side earlier in the day. A silver Honda CRV was taken by force and turned up when the suspect crashed near SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and SE Stark.


Police identify officers, deputy involved in shooting of carjacking suspect – KGW.com, April 7, 2018
Portland police said the suspect was 48-year-old John Andrew Elifritz


Wife of man killed by police says he was likely having mental breakdown – KATU.com, April 9, 2018

The wife of a man shot and killed by police over the weekend wants answers. Officers say he was a threat to himself and others, but she says they had other options.

Police and family confirm the man officers shot at the Cityteam Ministries on Southeast Grand Avenue was 48-year-old John Andrew Elifritz.



VIDEOS

Inside the shelter – April 8, 2018

KOIN – April 9, 2018

KOIN – April 9, 2018

KOIN – April 9, 2018

KATU – April 10, 2018


PHOTOS

CITY HALL RALLY – April 11, 2018