The mother and other relatives of Andrew James “A.J.” Hanlon [pictured right], the Irishman fatally shot by a Silverton police officer June 30, met with the Marion County district attorney’s staff for two hours Friday to discuss the investigation into the incident.
But the family members, their attorneys and the district attorney’s staff had little to say afterward.
Meanwhile, at Oak and Mill streets in this town of 9,000 about 17 miles east of Salem, more people placed flowers and candles on the sidewalk where he died. And some began to prepare for a memorial service here today.
But answers about what happened when Officer Tony Gonzalez [pictured below] shot and killed Hanlon about 11 p.m. that Monday were still hard to come by.
Nathan Heise, Hanlon’s brother-in-law, said after Friday’s meeting that his family will not talk about what occurred. He referred all questions to the Portland law firm of O’Donnell Clark & Crew. The family did release a statement:
“We are greatly saddened by AJ’s death. We hope and expect that the authorities in Silverton and Marion County will conduct their inquiry with integrity and diligence. We trust that this process will result in justice and accountability for what seems to us to be a clear case of unreasonable and excessive force.
“While we mourn our loss and await the outcome of the process, we ask for respect and privacy, and will be referring all media inquiries to our lawyers.”
Hanlon’s mother, Dorothea Carroll, arrived from Ireland on Thursday to collect her son’s remains and details about the case. She hopes to take the body back to Dublin early next week, said Danny Hannon, her brother and Hanlon’s godfather.
“This is such a terrible thing that has happened,” Hannon said after putting Carroll on a plane from Los Angeles to Portland. “She wants to take her boy home.”
Deputy District Attorney Matt Kemmy also declined to discuss specifics of the meeting. He said his office will prepare the case and present the evidence to a grand jury, probably within two weeks.
Hanlon, described as mentally disturbed by his family, was shot as Gonzalez responded to a reported burglary in progress. Hanlon had stayed in Silverton for about a year, according to his sister and brother-in-law, who also live here.
Before the shooting, Nathan Heise said earlier, Silverton police had been aware of Hanlon’s mental struggles and had been helpful to the family.
Heise also said that Hanlon had a habit of banging on their door when he wanted to be let in. He and his wife believe that on the night Hanlon was killed, he mistakenly went to the wrong house, startling the residents and prompting the call to police.
They said he was shot several times. Attorneys for the family said Hanlon suffered gunshot wounds to the abdomen, arm, thigh and back.
In a news release Friday, a spokeswoman for the law firm said, “The family, as well as the Irish government, is awaiting the release of the investigative report examining the shooting, hoping that it will provide answers as to why this tragedy occurred.”
Tuesday, the Silverton Police Officers’ Association released a statement supporting Gonzalez. The e-mail from Rich Budry, the association’s president, said Gonzalez did nothing wrong.
“The Silverton Police Officers’ Association has heard and read a lot of misinformation in the media regarding the recent officer-involved shooting in our city,” Budry wrote. “It has been difficult to listen to these comments when we know that all of the actions by Officer Gonzalez were justified. . . . We strongly believe the District Attorney’s Office and Grand Jury investigation will prove the use of force was justified under the statute.”
The district attorney’s office quickly responded to the e-mail, saying it was “extremely disappointed” that the police association had spoken out during the inquiry.
“The Association’s comments and conclusions are inappropriate at this time,” Kemmy wrote. “Such conclusions could mislead the public into believing that the Silverton Police Department is in some way involved in the investigation, and therefore, undermine the public’s faith in the process.”
EXTRA – Officer in Silverton shooting accused of sex abuse, KGW.com, July 14, 2008
EXTRA – Officer in fatal shooting linked to sex abuse, [see video below] KATU.com, July 14, 2008
EXTRA – Silverton officer faces sex-abuse allegations, Oregonian, July 14, 2008
EXTRA – Silverton police officer allegedly molested teen at least 60 times, KGW.com, July 15 2008
EXTRA – Silverton officer to be arraigned on sex-abuse charges, Salem Statesman Journal, July 15, 2008
EXTRA – Behind the badge: A closer look at Tony Gonzalez, Salem Statesman Journal, July 15 2008
EXTRA – Profile of Tony Gonzalez by Silverton Appeal Tribune, February 2007 via the Statesman Journal, July 15 2008
EXTRA – Silverton officer denied bail in sex case, Oregonian, July 23, 2008