Friend of woman shot by police: ‘We did not want to lose her’
The father of that woman’s children said it wasn’t a suicide attempt. He said Chelsea Fresh was going through a mental health crisis and needed help.
“My daughters love her so much. They love her so much,” Michael Garza said. “They’ll always remember the good things.”
But, it was at one of Fresh’s low points that things took a deadly turn.
Thursday night police responded to a home on Conestoga Drive in Beaverton. They said Fresh’s boyfriend dialed 911 to report she was suicidal and that there were guns and other weapons in the home.
Beaverton police said she came out with one of those rifles in hand, pointed at officers. They opened fire.
Fresh died on scene.
“I knew that cops were involved. I thought maybe she’ll get tased or bean-bagged or thrown in jail, and then they can really make an effort to help her,” Garza said. “And, it didn’t turn out that way.”
Garza said he was Fresh’s go-to person. She called him that day during a rough patch in her battle with bipolar disorder.
He said she just needed help.
“There was a peaceful way to this. I don’t care if she had broken bones or was in intensive care,” he said. “The fact is that she didn’t get a chance.”
It’s a chance Garza said officers should have given her by using less than lethal force.
“I would have congratulated them, and I would have thanked them for saving her life because we did not want to lose her, and she did not want to be lost,” he said.
Police said a negotiator trained in mental health issues talked to Fresh over the phone. But in the end, it came down to a split-second decision when she pointed a gun at officers.
Garza said it’s the last thing the mother of three would have wanted.
“She was a very dedicated and loving mother,” he said. “It’s just sometimes those mental things – you can’t stop them without help.”
Garza has set up a fund to benefit Fresh’s children: http://www.gofundme.com/hoj81s
Police ID 29-year-old woman killed in officer-involved shooting
Police have identified the 29-year-old woman who was killed in an officer-involved shooting Thursday in Beaverton.
Officers were called out to a home on the 12000 block of Southwest Conestoga Drive at 3:50 p.m. on reports of a disturbance.
A man called 911 to report his girlfriend, identified as 29-year-old Chelsea Fresh, was possibly suicidal with access to two rifles, knives and other weapons.
The man told investigators she pushed him and went toward knives in the kitchen, so he left the house to call police.
Crisis negotiators were at the scene and contacted the woman on the phone. During that time, police said Fresh exited the home several times with a rifle in her hands. After about an hour, police said, she came out of the home and pointed the rifle at officers.
That is when she was shot, according to police. Fresh was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said no officers were injured. The names of the officers involved are not expected to be released until at least Tuesday, according to a Beaverton Police Department spokesperson.
The officers are currently on paid administrative leave, per department policy.
The Washington County Major Crimes Team is investigating the shooting.
Southridge High School was put in a temporary lockout during the police activity on Thursday.
Investigation finds two officers fired at woman who aimed rifle in standoff
Investigators say a woman fatally shot by Beaverton police officers on Thursday, Nov. 20, had threatened officers and pointed a rifle at them after they responded to a domestic disturbance call on Southwest Conestoga Drive.
Chelsea B. Fresh, 29, a resident in the 12000 block of Conestoga Drive, was shot at 4:41 p.m. and pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators learned the rifle Fresh pointed at officers was not loaded.
Beaverton officers Dan Coulson and James Beane fired AR-15s, and one officer fired a less-lethal 0-millimeter projectile. Eight lethal rounds were fired, and Fresh was struck four times, said Sgt. Jim Shumway, a Beaverton Police Department spokesman, on Tuesday afternoon.
Following a 911 call from Fresh’s boyfriend Michael Blaurock, Beaverton police were dispatched on Nov. 20 at 3:51 p.m. to a disturbance involving a weapon at a house in the residence, located just south of the Conestoga Aquatic and Recreation Center.
When officers arrived, Blaurock told them Fresh, his girlfriend, was in the house armed with a knife, had threatened him and was suicidal. Shumway said probable cause existed to arrest Fresh for menacing Blaurock with a knife while threatening to kill him.
Blaurock left the house to call police.
An officer with the Washington County Crisis Negotiation Unit made phone contact with Fresh inside the house in an attempt to defuse the situation.
The negotiator spoke with Fresh multiple times on the phone over the next 30 minutes in 19 calls. During the short phone calls, Fresh, who police suspect may have been intoxicated, was extremely agitated, threatening to “shoot it out” with the police and making other threats before hanging up on the negotiator, Shumway said. The threats were heard by officers posted around the house and officers near the phone call as well as by three neighbors who were outside at the time of the incident.
Fresh told the negotiator she had ammunition, and the gun was loaded, a statement that was broadcast to officers via police radio. She exited the residence several times with a rifle in her hands, each time returning inside, police said.
Approximately an hour after officers arrived, Fresh exited the residence, lifted and aimed the rifle toward officers. To defend themselves, the two officers shot Fresh, Shumway said. No officers were injured during the standoff.
Police radio dispatches on Thursday included the boyfriend’s claim that there was no ammunition in the house for the rifles. The victim, however, told the crisis negotiation officer she had ammunition for the two rifles, said Officer Mike Rowe, a Beaverton police spokesman. Investigators learned the rifle Fresh pointed at officers was not loaded.
“It is important to remember that a police officer or citizen placed in a life-or-death situation has but a fraction of a second to make the right decision,” Rowe said.
Coulson is a 20-year veteran of the Beaverton Police Department, and Beane has served 15 years as a police officer, the past three with the Beaverton Police Department. Neither officer has been involved in a shooting before, nor has either officer sustained complaints involving use of force, Shumway said.
As a matter of policy, the officers were placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigation.