What happened to Michael Justin Evans

Summary: On August 15, 2012 Michael Justin Evans was shot and killed by Gladstone police officers in front of his home. Police knew Evans was a person with a mental illness.

Man dead in officer-involved shooting in Gladstone

From the Oregonian, August 15, 2012

The incident took place about 10:30 p.m. in the 300 block of West Fairfield Street.

Gladstone police have said little about the shooting so far. Officers were responding to a report of a domestic disturbance when the shooting took place.

The department asked the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team to investigate the shooting.


Gladstone man killed by police had mental health problem, friend says

From the Oregonian, August 15, 2012

The man fatally shot by police late Tuesday has been identified by a family friend as Michael Justin Evans.

Evans had mental health and substance abuse problems, said Michelle Darnell, 46, the longtime girlfriend of Evans’ father. Darnell lives in Gladstone, not far from where Evans was shot in an encounter with police.

Darnell said Evans’ father, Dean Evans, left home late Tuesday to smoke a cigarette with his son. When he arrived, she said, “all that commotion was going on.”

“The cops shot my son!” he told her in a phone call from the scene on West Fairfield Street. “The cops shot my son.”

Said Darnell: “He was freaking out, which is understandable.”

She said Michael Evans lived with his maternal grandmother. She said he was out of work.

Darnell and Dean Evans were smoking cigarettes about 10:30 p.m. when they heard what sounded like four gunshots in the neighborhood.

Jennifer Lee, Michael Evans’ next-door neighbor, thought she heard three gunshots from her living room, where she sleeps with her son. She said police later told her it was four.

“I thought he was a nice kid,” she said. “My husband would loan him tools when he needed it.”

The neighborhood was quiet early this morning. An orange outline of a body was spray-painted on the front lawn of the house where Evans lived.

Another longtime friend said Evans joined AA at age 14, and had a long list of arrests. Jim Reynolds, 22, said police had been to Evans’ house dozens of times.

“They all knew his first, middle and last name,” Reynolds said. “They knew he was a mentally ill kid.”

Reynolds said Evans’ confrontations are usually “intense,” but not violent.

“I don’t know why they had to shoot him four times,” Reynolds said.


1 dead after Gladstone police respond to domestic disturbance

From KGW.com, August 15, 2012

A man was shot and died after police officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Officers were dispatched to the 300 block of W. Fairfield. The name of the dead man, 23, was not released because relatives have not been notified.

Gladstone police asked the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team to investigate the shooting. No other information was released.

A neighbor who lives a few houses down from the shooting scene said he heard five shots fired. A second heard four shots.

A man who said he was the father of the deceased told KGW that he had some issues but should not have been shot dead by police.


Father of man killed by police: ‘He had some problems’

From KATU.com, August 15, 2012

A 23-year-old man is dead after an officer-involved shooting Tuesday night, according to the Gladstone Police Department.

Police said they responded to the 300 block of West Fairfield by Beatrice on a domestic disturbance call just after 10:30 p.m. They said shortly after their arrival shots were fired and the man was killed.

Dean Michael Evans, who identified himself as the victim’s father, told KATU News shortly after the shooting that his son was depressed and talked of dying by suicide-by-cop prior to the shooting.

“He had depression. He had some problems. But he didn’t deserve this,” Evans said. “I just don’t see my son causing this kind of a problem, where they had to shoot him.”

Evans said his son had a knife and was just looking for his phone when he was shot.

He said he didn’t think police had to shoot and kill his son and said they could have just shot him in the leg or some other non-vital area. Evans said he did not know specifically what led to the shooting when he spoke to KATU News.

He said he was on his way over to visit his son before the shooting.

One neighbor, Liz Nass, told KATU News “we heard four loud bangs” and a friend said it sounded like gunshots. Moments later, she said they saw several cars rushing to the sxcene.

Deputies with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office and the Gladstone Police Department were on scene investigating the shooting Wednesday morning but cleared the scene at about 6 a.m.


Friends and neighbors, police records of Gladstone man shot by police paint conflicting pictures

From the Oregonian, August 15, 2012

Jim Reynolds showed up just after 7 a.m. to examine the orange spray-painted outline of the body of his lifelong friend Michael Justin Evans of Gladstone.

He parked at the end of the quiet block, filled with families and vacant homes, and walked to the house Evans shared with his maternal grandmother.

Reynolds looked calm, staring at the outline in the front yard, but his voice sounded angry when he saw the bloody patch of grass in the neck area of the outline.

“I don’t know why they had to shoot him four times,” Reynolds said, bitterly.

Gladstone Police responded to a domestic disturbance call before 11 p.m. Tuesday. Evans, 23, confronted officers with a knife, said Gladstone Police Chief Jim Pryde.

Two police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is under investigation by the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team. The officers’ names were not released.

Reynolds, 22, said he and Evans became friends at the age of 6. Evans struggled with mental illness and addiction his whole life, according to friends and neighbors. Reynolds said he joined Alcoholics Anonymous at 14.

“He’s been begging for help for many, many years,” Reynolds said.

Evans has a long list of run-ins and police often showed up at the house on the 300 block of West Fairfield Street in Gladstone. Reynolds said police were there just a couple of days ago because Evans was suspected of drug possession.

But Reynolds refused to believe Evans was a threat.

“Of course he’d come out screaming and yelling, but he’s harmless,” Reynolds said.

Next-door neighbor Jennifer Lee said Evans was a nice kid, and she was surprised by what happened.

“My husband would loan him tools when he needed it,” she said.

The porch light of the house was still on as the sun rose, illuminating Reynolds’ hat lightly as he stared at orange-and-blood-stained grass.

“It’s so young,” Reynolds said. “And (he’s) been begging for help for 10 years.”

However, Evans had a history of domestic disturbances and several previous run-ins with the law.

A Clackamas County judge issued a restraining order against him in March after his girlfriend, Chelsey Lynn Stoughton, 22, of Gladstone petitioned the court.

Meanwhile, 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 contempt-of-court conviction last month.

Evans was cited for contempt of court in June, but the charge was dismissed.


Gladstone Police: Man killed by officer had knife

From KOIN.com, August 16, 2012

A 23-year-old man was killed late Tuesday night after police responded to a domestic disturbance. By Wednesday, Gladstone Police were saying the man who died was armed with a knife, which led to shots being fired by officers.

The timeline

The officer-involved shooting happened shortly after 10:30 p.m. in the 300 block of West Fairview in Gladstone, emergency dispatchers said.

Specific details of the shooting were not immediately released, but a spokesperson for the police department issued a statement early Wednesday morning that said:

“On 08/14/12 at about 10:31 pm officers responded to the 300 block of W. Fairfield for a domestic disturbance. Shortly thereafter shots were fired. A 23 year old male is deceased and his identification is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Clackamas County Major Crimes Team is conducting the investigation at the request of the Gladstone Police Department. No further details will be released at this time do to the nature of the ongoing investigation.”

A man who identified himself as the father of the young man shot and killed told a KOIN-TV his son was depressed and may have wanted to be killed by officers.

The man said that he was visiting his son to check on him.

Police said the case will eventually be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for review. This is standard procedure following an officer-involved shooting.

Around 11:40 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, the Gladstone Police Department released the following statement:

“The investigation by the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team continues regarding the officer-involved shooting in Gladstone last night around 10:35 p.m. in the 300 block of West Fairfield. Witness accounts report the decedent was armed with a knife.

“Two Gladstone police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave in accordance with department policy. As the investigation continues, we hope to have an updated press release this afternoon.”

By the time of KOIN’s noon newscast Aug. 15, the following information had become clear:

Family and friends of 23 year old Michael Justin Evans say he was a troubled young man with a) a history of mental health issues and b) run-ins with police. Evans was shot and killed by Gladstone police Tuesday night, after they responded to reports of a domestic disturbance. Police and witnesses say he had a knife in his hand.

“It’s very sad,” said his father Dean Evans. “He was my oldest son, [and I] didn’t get a chance to talk to him since Thursday.”

Police are still not saying much about the circumstances leading up to the shooting. However, friends of Evans wonder if shooting and killing his son was warranted.

“To me, there could have been another way to handle it,” said David LaFore, a friend of the victim. “You know, I don’t care whether he had a knife or not.”

Meanwhile, a next door neighbor — who didn’t want to be identified — says one of the bullets hit the wall of her home, on the other side of her daughter’s bedroom.

“That’s my five-year-old daughter,” she points out, “and there’s a bullet hole in the side of our house that could have easily hit her.”

A memorial grows outside the home as the investigation into what happened continues.

Again, both Gladstone officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave.


Gladstone man killed in police confrontation had history of addiction, mental illness, menacing behavior

From the Oregonian, August 15, 2012

The knife-wielding man shot and killed Tuesday in a confrontation with Gladstone police had a history of erratic, menacing behavior, addiction and attempted suicide.

Michael Justin Evans, 23, was fatally shot by one of two Gladstone police officers dispatched around 10:30 p.m. to investigate a report that Evans was tearing apart the home he shared with his grandmother, Judie K. Reich, in the 300 block of West Fairfield Street.

On Wednesday, the orange spray-paint outline of his body remained on the sun-burned front lawn where he died.

Gladstone Police Chief Jim Pryde said one of the officers “fired multiple rounds and Mr. Evans died at the scene.” No other details were released.

The two officers, Steve Mixson and Christopher Spore, have been placed on paid administrative leave while the case is investigated by the Clackamas County Major Crimes Team.

Those who know Evans said he led a troubled life gripped by mental illness and substance abuse, occasionally twisting him into someone 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 filed for a restraining order against Evans five months ago, describing him as emotionally unstable.

“He has mental problems and cannot control himself,” Chelsey Lynn Stoughton, 22, wrote in her petition. “I am very scared because he is so unpredictable.”

Stoughton alleged that at various times, beginning in the fall of 2011, Evans stalked her, punched her, pushed her against a wall, held her by the throat, threatened to rape her in her sleep and threatened to kill them both by crashing their car.

“Mike takes medication that alters his thinking and at the time (of an assault) was on methadone because of heroin addiction,” Stoughton wrote.

She said Evans attempted suicide several times.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Stoughton declined to comment.

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 conviction last month for contempt of court.

A neighbor said Evans often drove too fast through the neighborhood, tearing around sharp turns at 50 mph without checking for children, the elderly or pets.

“It was scary sometimes,” he said.

Michelle Darnell, 46, said she and Dean Evans — Michael Evans’ father — were smoking cigarettes at her nearby home about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when they heard what sounded like four gunshots. Dean Evans then went over to his son’s nearby home.

He arrived to find “all this commotion” and called Darnell, yelling, “The cops shot my son! The cops shot my son!”

“He was freaking out, which is understandable,” Darnell said.

Evans’ case is the latest in a growing number of incidents involving police and the mentally ill in recent years.

Officers dispatched to his home should have been advised of Evans’ history of attempted suicide and mental illness, but Gladstone police declined to provide a detailed accounting of events leading up to the shooting. They also declined to provide information about mental health protocols and training the department provides.

But in cases where an armed person confronts officers, force escalates quickly.

Sgt. Adam Phillips, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said officers’ first obligation is to prevent threats from getting out of hand.

“Our loose rule of thumb is that a person, from a dead stop, can cover 21 feet in about 1 1/2 seconds,” he said. “That doesn’t give you much time to react.”