Larry McKinney struggled with alcohol before his death, says girlfriend

Larry McKinney was scheduled to enter alcohol treatment in two weeks when he was shot and killed by police

Larry McKinney was scheduled to enter alcohol treatment in two weeks when he was shot and killed by police

By Anita Kissée, KATU News, Feb 2, 2012

FAIRVIEW, Ore. – Police say 37-year-old Larry McKinney attacked an officer with a knife last week and they were forced to shoot and kill him, but the family of the man say they don’t believe that’s what happened.

McKinney’s longtime girlfriend and mother of his children, Mindy Zarn, said he was trying to get help. She told KATU News that he struggled with alcohol. McKinney had also just gotten out of jail and wasn’t supposed to drink. He had agreed to go into treatment in two weeks.

Now Zarn is struggling to explain to their children why he’s dead.

“He was at my door, and he was knocking and he was saying, ‘Mamma, Mamma, let me in!’ And I said, ‘You know you’re drunk. You know I can’t let you in,” Zarn said Wednesday.

She keeps replaying the last moment she saw her boyfriend. It was Friday through her apartment door peephole.

“He wasn’t being mean,” Zarn said. “He wasn’t being verbal. He wasn’t in a bad mood.”

With three kids, Zarn couldn’t let McKinney in drunk. A cab took him to his mother’s apartment in Fairview. That’s where he was later shot and killed by police who say he attacked them with a knife.

“It is not accurate. It’s a lie, is exactly what it is,” McKinney’s mother, Sandra Kelley, said last weekend. “It’s a lie. My son did not make one move – backward, sideways, forward – he just stood there.”

“He was robbed, and my kids were robbed,” Zarn said.

She’s struggling with the guilt for not letting McKinney inside that day. And making it worse, she learned he was cremated Wednesday without her knowing.

“I gotta live with a little vial of my soul mate,” she said. “I just always figured we’d have a burial next to each other and our family and their kids and their kids. That’s what I figured. And certainly not at the age of 37.”

This is Fairview’s first fatal police shooting. Police won’t comment until the case goes to the grand jury. The two officers are on paid leave.