McDowell family issues statement, saying dead man did not ‘confront’ Gresham police

Anthony McDowell

Anthony McDowell

From The Oregonian, February 7, 2011

The family of Sgt. Anthony McDowell, who was shot and killed by Gresham police on Jan. 31, has issued a statement saying McDowell did not know police were outside his home and was holding a rifle “up over his head with both hands” when he was shot.

Gresham police Sgt. Rick Wilson on Monday said the department would not be able to comment in response to the family’s statement. McDowell’s funeral was held Monday afternoon.

The case is under investigation and is expected to be presented to a Multnomah County grand jury.

McDowell was killed outside his home in the 24000 block of Southeast Oak Street in Gresham.

Police have said McDowell’s wife called police right before 7 p.m., saying her husband was suicidal. Police also learned that prior to their arrival, a family member had already taken a weapon away from him, but he rearmed himself with a rifle.

Police said McDowell was holding a scoped rifle outside his home when officers arrived at the scene.

Police have not detailed what happened next but the McDowell family e-mailed a statement to news media on Saturday, saying McDowell’s wife, sister-in-law and his 13-year-old daughter witnessed the shooting.

“Tony McDowell DID NOT ‘confront’ the police with a gun,” the statement reads. “He walked out of the house holding a rifle up over his head with both hands. Within seconds, he was shot and killed. He did not even know that police were outside. There were no marked cars, no flashing lights and no sirens.”

McDowell died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

McDowell was an active member of the U. S. Army Reserves and the founder of a nonprofit supporting veterans.

Gresham police spokesman Officer John Rasmussen later identified the officers involved as Matthew Galbreath, 29, and Jason Justus, 36, both of Sandy. Rasmussen said he was not sure which officer had fired, or whether both had.