Who Was Johnny George?

From The Oregonian, December 17, 1991 – not available elsewhere online.

To his friends at Roosevelt High School, Johnny Lozano George was a happy student who pulled down passing grades and was interested in basketball and track.

But to police , he was a young man with a history of arrests dating back to 1987 for crimes including assault, larceny, auto theft, robbery and marijuana possession.

Sunday night, George, 18, died after being shot six times in the chest at close range by a Portland policeman.

Sunday’s shooting was the fifth time this year that Portland police or Multnomah County sheriff’s deputies have shot and killed a suspect.

Officer Robert King stopped a car with George and two men inside at about 10 p.m. Sunday near the intersection of North Interstate Avenue and Skidmore Street.

While details about the shooting remain sketchy, police said the car was seen leaving a 7-Eleven store at 2815 N. Killingsworth about 7:15 p.m. after a store clerk reported someone had taken three cases of beer.

Police said George, along with Pete R. Aguilar, 23, and Anthony Aguilar, 22, of Portland, also were suspects in an incident 30 minutes later in which spectators were attacked as they left a Christmas light display at North Broadacre and Force streets.

After King stopped the car and asked George to get out, George pulled a knife and stabbed him in the left arm, said police spokesman Derrick Foxworth.

King drew his 9mm Glock, an imported Austrian pistol that can hold up to 18 rounds, and fired seven times, striking George six times in the chest.

King was treated at Emanuel Hospital & Health Center for a stab wound to his upper arm and released. He will remain on administrative leave until a grand jury investigates the shooting.

King joined the Portland Police Bureau in April 1990. From May 1989 to April 1990, he worked for the Portland School Police . He was an officer for the Lake Oswego Police Department from November 1987 to April 1990.

Foxworth said George’s record was unusually long for someone so young.

In September 1987, he was charged with robbery. In February 1989, he was allegedly involved in an assault that occurred at a Tri-Met bus stop in downtown Portland.

Later that year, he was arrested as a suspect in an automobile theft. George also was arrested for aggravated assault in September and again in October as a suspect in a larceny case involving a Starter sports jacket stolen from a locker at Roosevelt High School.

The outcomes of the charges is not available because they are part of juvenile records.

“He had his problems, just like everybody,” said George’s best friend, Woody Evans.

Evans, 17, met George in second grade when the two attended Kenton Grade School in North Portland. They later attended Ockley Green Middle School.

George moved to Idaho for his junior year in high school to live with his father on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation until returning to Roosevelt for the beginning of the 1991-92 school year.

Bill Garbett, spokesman for the Portland School District, said teachers and counselors were not ready to comment on George’s performance at the school.

Evans said George hardly ever missed school and as far as he knew received pretty good grades.

“He was happy, but he had some problems at home,” Evans said.“The last thing I heard was that he got in a fight with his mom’s boyfriend.”

Evans said George lived with his mother, and a younger brother and sister in North Portland.

Evans said there was talk at the school of George’s death following Sunday night’s shooting.

“Everyone was shocked,” Evans said. “Teachers were saying `That’s not the John we know.’ ”

The Evans family, with whom George lived from time to time since he was in fourth grade, remembered him as a kind and respectful teen-ager who planned to attend a training school for diesel mechanics.

Evans’ stepmother, Randy Evans, said the family also wondered why police shot “John John” — as he was known to friends and family — six times.

“He wasn’t a violent boy, he wasn’t a bad boy,” she said. “I just don’t understand the force they used to take him out that way.”

Foxworth said the Portland Police Bureau has a very restrictive policy on the use of deadly force and takes it very seriously. Police officers are trained to shoot until the threat of violence no longer exists and that often means the officer will keep firing until the person either drops the weapon, falls to the ground or ceases the violent behavior, he said.

George’s 15-year-old sister, Angel, said news accounts of her brother’s criminal past didn’t reflect who he truly was and that he was turning his life around.