The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office this morning released the transcripts from the grand jury hearing into the March 22 fatal shooting of Jack Dale Collins. The 58-year-old homeless man emerged from a restroom at the Hoyt Arboretum with a knife and refused a police officer’s orders to drop it.
The case marks the second time in the county’s history that the transcripts of a grand jury hearing have been publicly released, at the request of Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman and District Attorney Michael Schrunk.
The grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing by Officer Jason Walters, a Central Precinct officer, who said he was startled to see a bloodied man gripping an X-acto knife in his left hand emerge from the restroom outside the visitor’s center.
Collins was struck four times. A bullet that entered above his hip struck a major artery and he bled to death at the scene.
The jury interviewed 28 witnesses over two days.
Here is a synopsis of the report:
Pages 3-16: Portland Police Detective Mark Slater said his sergeant on the homicide detail, Rich Austria, called him at his home around 3:30 p.m. March 22 and dispatched him to Hoyt Arboretum. Slater described for the grand jury some of the procedural tasks that officers accomplish at a shooting scene, including a “round count” to determine how many shots had been fired. The answer, he said, was four. Slater described the contents of a series of still photographs from the scene, including the blood-spattered restroom where Collins apparently had been cutting himself with a knife before he was confronted by police. Slater held up one photo showing Collins’ body on the ground, in a fetal position, with plastic restraints around his wrists, and said that securing someone in that way was standard protocol in officer-involved shootings. One juror asked about that procedure, and the detective replied, “By the time the officers were able to approach him, take him into custody, at that point, they did not know if he was deceased or not.”
Pages 17-27: Ernest Todd Tumbleston, a reserve police officer in Oroville, Wash., told the grand jury that he and his wife, Sandra, had just arrived at the arboretum for a visit when he heard another visitor, a woman, complaining about something. Tumbleston said he and his wife paid no mind to the woman. They bought a map and went on a hike for about 45 minutes. As they were coming back on the Redwood Trail to the visitors center, they heard a vague commotion, then the air cracked with two gunshots. He ordered his wife to stand behind a big tree and, “I heard a lot of yelling after the first two shots. At that point, it sounded to me like a police officer giving commands. I thought I heard something like ‘Drop something.’ I couldn’t tell what else.” Then he heard two more shots. Leaving his wife behind, he approached the visitors center and spotted Walters. Tumbleston identified himself, “and that’s when I noticed he was standing there. He had his weapon trained on the individual on the ground.” Walters acknowledged Tumbleston’s presence by asking the reserve officer to flag down the officers who were coming to the scene. Tumbleston said he was a bit nervous because as a Washington reserve officer, he’s not permitted to carry a gun in Oregon, so, “it’s like going to a gun battle without a weapon.”
Pages 27-32: Sandra Tumbleston, the wife of Ernest Tumbleston, repeated for the grand jury many of the same details as her husband, a Oroville, Wash., reserve officer, about their March 22 visit to Hoyt Arboretum. She recalled a woman complaining about something at the start of their visit, and the hike she and her husband took for about 45 minutes. She said that after she heard the first two shots fired, she said one voice clearly said the words “stay” and “down.”
Pages 33-40: Travis Rogers, a volunteer at the arboretum, was working the reception desk on the afternoon of March 22. He said he took two complaints from visitors about a threatening person outside. Rogers testified that one woman told him that she has said hello to a man on the trail near the water tower, and the man made her feel uncomfortable. Rogers said he took a few notes then another woman complained that a man had threatened to kill her. Rogers said he later saw a “very typical homeless” man come into the visitors center and then into the restroom. At that point, a police officer — Walters — arrived, and Rogers saw him go to the restroom door: “And I heard the officer knock and then step away from the door, pull out his weapon, ‘Drop your weapon, drop your weapon,’ as he pointed his gun. I saw the other man walk out of the bathroom.” Rogers said the man was holding up his left hand, in which he held a small knife. As the man approached “zombie-like,” Rogers said, the police officer kept stepping backward. “The officer told him to drop his weapon, drop his weapon. I don’t know how many times he said it, but it seemed pretty forceful and repeated. He fired two shots. Then he told him again, ‘Drop your weapon, drop your weapon,’ at which point I kind of started heading away, and then fired two more shots.”
Pages 40-46: April Hill, a full-time executive assistant at the arboretum, was at her desk inside the visitors center that afternoon. She knew police had been summoned, and she saw her boss outside the visitors center awaiting the arrival. Suddenly, through her office window, she saw a police officer, gun drawn and aimed, walking backwards away from her. She walked toward the window, but when she heard two gunshots, she ducked behind a filing cabinet. From there, she heard another two shots fired, and she estimated that 20 seconds had passed between the first two shots and the second two. She waited a while longer, then returned to her desk. After police arrived, she said she drew the window blinds and went back to work.
Page 49: Dan Moeller, Natural Area Supervisor for City Parks and Recreation, was working at Hoyt Arboretum that day. A volunteer had relayed a complaint from a woman about someone near the water towers, but the volunteer had few details. They didn’t do anything at that point. About 10 or 20 minutes later, he said, the volunteer received a complaint from a second woman who said she felt threatened by a person near the water tower. She went out to her car and Moeller and Hoyt Arboretum executive director Mathew Sinclair went to the parking lot. While Sinclair spoke with her, Moeller saw the man walking down the hill toward the parking lot. He appeared “a little out of place,” seemed to be a transient and was “acting a little suspiciously walking down the hill, just looking side to side.” He was also carrying a bag.
Page 51: Moeller could hear Sinclair asking the woman if the man coming down the hill was the same man who threatened her, and she confirmed it. At that point, Moeller went in to call 9-1-1. “I just knew he was coming down to the parking lot. There were family, kids, you know, regular users parking there. So my concern was that there would be some kind of interaction at that point. Since it had been reportedly negative at the top, I was worried in a larger setting there could be more problems.” After calling 9-1-1, he went into the open area by the visitors center and found out the man had gone into the restroom. He then met up with Sinclair and waited in the parking lot for police and to watch for visitors. Officer Walters called Moeller on his cell phone, Moeller said, adding that Walters often works with him on issues in west side parks. He gave him more information, adding that the man had locked himself in the restroom and that “this looks like it’s a pretty serious situation to me.”
Page 54: Walters arrived a short time later and spoke with the two men. They gave him a little more information as Walters donned gloves. Conversation was very calm, Moeller said, as he asked for a description of what the man looked like. Walters told them he had called for a wagon to take him if he were drunk. Then he approached the restroom while Moeller and Sinclair went into the visitors center. From his vantage point, he didn’t have clear view of Walters at the restroom until he realized that the restroom door must have opened and Walters was quickly backing up. “He looked started to me, and he backed up really quickly from the door.” Moeller heard him telling the man to “drop that, drop your weapon.” Moeller said there were two women and a small child in the visitors center at the time and “at that point, I had a feeling that something was going terribly wrong.” He escorted them to a lunch room area in the back. “It was clear to all of us this was very serious. We’re almost frozen at that point.” He, the visitors and another employee, April Hill, were in the lunch room when he heard shots fired. Moeller said he returned to the visitors center area and heard more shots. He looked out the door and saw Walters “back kind of right against the stairway” in front of the center’s classroom. His gun was drawn and the suspect was laying on the ground.
Page 58: After receiving one complaint about a man bothering hikers, Mathew Ryan Sinclair, executive director of Hoyt Arboretum Friends, said a second woman came into the visitors center and complained to a volunteer. As she went out to her car, Sinclair went with her and they saw the man coming down the hill. The woman confirmed it was the same man. Sinclair said he went back into the visitors center to pass along the suspect description to Moeller, but Moeller had already called police.
Page 59: The man looked like a homeless person, Sinclair said. Sinclair saw Collins as he walked into one of the two restrooms immediately outside the center. Sinclair and Moeller went outside to shoo away visitors and wait for Walters, whom Sinclair had not previously met.
Page 60: Sinclair recalled Walters was calm as he talked with them and put on protective gloves. Sinclair and Moeller then went into the visitors center and locked the door.
Page 61: Sinclair said he thought the suspect was drunk, based on descriptions from the visitors and because he “looked to be staggering a bit.” From inside the center, he next saw Walters retreating from the restroom as he heard the officer shout.
Page 62: Sinclair said the officer, who was backing up quickly, was shouting. “My memory is that he was shouting very distinctly to ‘Get down.’ ” He then saw the suspect, mostly from the back, who was moving toward Walters with a knife in his left hand. His hand, Sinclair said, “was clearly covered in what I assumed to be blood.”
Page 63: The officer stopped walking backward, Sinclair said, but the man continued to advance. The next thing he saw was Officer Walters firing his weapon twice at the man. “I can vividly remember seeing the man be shot.” He believed the man had been shot diagonally, in the upper torso and then another shot in the lower torso.
Page 64: Sinclair noticed the man’s layers of clothing and was wearing a heavy camping type jacket. “And what I remember is sort of seeing a puff of smoke or like an explosion, I assume, as the bullet exited in the back of the jacket, like down or some of the coat material actually coming out.” But the man remained standing, which “shocked” him. The man then either grabbed one of the arboretum’s interpretive panels or a tree to “sort of brace himself, kind of get his bearings and then sort of reoriented himself to Officer Walters’ location.”
Page 65-66: Sinclair said he recalled Walters saying three times, “Get down,” but the man continued to advance. He did not remember whether Collins still held the knife. About 10 seconds later, Walters shot him twice more, Sinclair said. Sinclair said the first two shots turned the man enough so that he got a face-to-face view of the suspect. After the second set of shots, the man fell to the ground, moved slightly and then stopped moving.
Page 68: Sinclair did not have details about the first complaint, except that a woman said the man was following her and made her feel uncomfortable. The second woman told him that she thought the man was high or drunk and that he had threatened to kill her and her son. “And she reported to us that she — her son had thought that the man had blood on his hands and/or shirt.”
Page 69: Sinclair said he did not share the information about the witness seeing blood on the man with Officer Walters, but thought Moeller relayed that to police. He said he and Moeller did not talk with Walters about his appearance or anything.
Page 72: Robert Burr, a seasonal maintenance worker for the city, was working at Hoyt Arboretum on March 22. He walked inside the visitor’s center after Officer Walters arrived and into the gift shop area where a volunteer and some visitors were. The executive director, Sinclair, joined them shortly after. He could see the officer as he walked towards the center.
Page 74: The officer approached the restrooms holding the keys. Burr lost sight of him as he got to the restrooms. After about 20 or 30 seconds, he saw him again, backing away from the restrooms.
Page 75: Burr said Walters did not have a weapon drawn. Then he saw the suspect enter his line of vision. “And the first thing I really remember, the image I have is of him covered with blood on his face and neck and torso.” He could not see his hands. Burr continued to watch him, but believed the officer was continuing to back up.
Page 76: The man “was walking forward slowly in an almost stumbling like motion in the direction of the officer.” He did not see the man’s hands and heard the officer yell “Drop” several times.
Page 77: The man would not comply with the officer’s orders and Walters apparently had run out of space, Burr said. Walters then pulled his gun, shouted at him, but the man was not responding and continued to advance, Burr said. He then heard two shots. After that, he turned his attention to the visitors, thinking they should get them out of the area. As he walked down a corridor, he heard two more shots. He then returned to his original spot and saw the man down on the ground. He believed about a minute or less than a minute elapsed between the two sets of shots.
Pages 80-81: Kendra Petersen-Morgan, an ecologist for Portland Parks and Recreation, was working at Hoyt Arboretum on March 22. Petersen-Morgan did not have a view of what happened from her office near the visitors center. She had just returned to her office when she heard two gunshots. She got under her desk, tried to call 9-1-1 from her desk phone, but it wasn’t working. She then moved to a kitchen area to call 9-1-1 from her cell phone when she heard two more shots.
Page 82: In the kitchen area, she met up with her co-worker, April Hill, who told her the police were outside, so Petersen-Morgan stopped trying to call 9-1-1. Then, Dan Moeller brought three visitors, two women and a child, back into the lunch room area where she and April also went.
Page 83: Portland police officer Christopher Burley testifies he heard an officer request Code 3 cover, which means an officer needs assistance immediately. He fought congestion and arrived after other officers.
Page 85: Burley tells grand jurors he followed a sergeant, who asked officers to put latex gloves on. He is asked if Officer Walters was still in the area and answers that he heard he was going to be but never saw him. Burley says he was asked by the sergeant to be part of the “custody team” to go and take control of the suspect who had been shot.
Page 87: Burley says he was asked to be a person who “would be going hands-on with the person and putting that person into custody, into handcuffs.” When he approached, he says, he never saw the man move, although he recalled another officer saying he moved.
Page 88: Burley tells grand jurors officers gained control of Collins’ hands and he crossed his feet and applied pressure so Collins would not be able to kick the officers. He said handcuffing someone in situations like that is standard procedure because police don’t know if they are still armed. He said police already had requested medical assistance. Police started asking, “Where is the knife?” And someone pointed out to Burley that he was standing on the knife.
Page 90: Matthew Engen, a sergeant with the Portland Police Bureau, testified he was in his downtown office when he also heard Walters radio for Code 3 cover and then updated that shots had been fired. Once he heard that shots had been fired, he and another officer “ran immediately to my car at that point.”
Page 92: Engen says he took control of the scene upon arrival. He was drawn to a group of officers, some of whom had weapons drawn. “My first question was where was the involved officer.” He was told he was removed from the scene.
Page 93: He told grand jurors he inquired about any known weapons because he had heard Walters’ radio reports that the “subject had been armed with a razor knife or words to that effect.” Police showed him and he “saw a small hobby knife” near Collins’ feet. “I knew obviously the suspect had very vividly suffered numerous gun shot wounds, medical was already en route. And I believe it imperative we approach, place him in custody as soon as possible to allow medical to come in.”
Page 94: Engen said an ambulance arrived and the medical crew determined the suspect was dead. Engen looked at photos of Collins’ body on its side and said he was placed in that position by police. “We refer to that as post-shooting position. Number one, it secures the person in order for EMS to approach and not be concerned about weapons or other issues.” It also does not inhibit breathing, he said.
Pages 96-98: Deputy District Attorney Heidi Moawad calls Daniel Simon after a break. Simon is a Lewis and Clark law student who was driving up to Hoyt Arboretum on the day of the shooting. After he parked, he heard “some people saying, ‘Drop it, drop it,’ and then we heard another distinct voice saying, ‘No, no, I’m not going to drop it. I’m not going to drop it.’ ” Then he heard screaming and “initially two gun shots.” He testified that he could not see what was going on.
Page 99: Simon testifies after the two gunshots there was a pause of about 30 seconds. “Then we heard another two gun shots.” He said there was incoherent yelling between the shots but he couldn’t make out the words. Shortly, “a lot more police officers showed up with bigger guns. One had a shotgun.”
Page 100: Simon says he told police what he heard. A grand juror asks to confirm that Simon heard “I’m not going to drop it.” Simon confirms that is what he heard, in a different voice from the officer’s. He notes he went for a hike and was questioned by police three or four hours after the incident.
Pages 102-105:: Anne Julene Beeson, another witness, describes driving up to Hoyt Arboretum with Simon, seeing a police car and the back of an officer. Then she heard “strong voices.” She testified she heard: “Drop your weapon, drop your weapon.” Then she heard two gunshots. Beeson says she got in the car and plugged her ears. She did not hear two distinct voices, she said, and she also was not able to see anything.
Page 106: Beeson heard the second two shots but the sound was “muffled.” She says more police arrived and everything seemed under control so she and Simon went on their hike.
Page 107: State Medical Examiner Dr. Karen Gunson told jurors that Collins bled to death from a gunshot wound to the left hip. She described the four bullet wounds he suffered and self-inflicted cuts to his neck. She also said she detected no odor of alcohol on Collins’ breath or body during the autopsy. The fatal bullet passed through his pelvis, and passed into the abdominal cavity. As it passed through the abdominal cavity, it severed the larger artery called the “left iliac artery.” That artery comes right off the aorta, which runs down the backbone, and “then it splits into the two iliac arteries that go down your legs.” The bullet exited his lower abdomen. There were 1,100 cc’s of blood present in Collin’s abdominal cavity, and down the back of his pevic fossa, the lower part of the cavity, Gunson testified. That would translate into a quart of blood. (250 cc’s is about one cup). “Now generally speaking, adult males have about 5,000 cc’s of blood in their body. And when you lose about a quarter of that or around a quarter of that acutely, you will die from bleeding to death … He bled to death internally into his abdominal cavity.” A juror asked how long that would have taken. Gunson replied that it’s generally ” somewhere between 30 seconds or a minute or so.” Another bullet entered the middle part of his upper right arm, which fractured the humerus, or large bone in the upper arm. The bullet exited the arm. A third bullet struck his left arm, fractured the humerus, or large bone in the upper arm, and exited out the left upper arm. It was recovered in Collin’s sweatshirt. Another bullet struck just below his rib cage, but did not damage any internal structures, and exited out. The bullet apparently passed through the zipper of his coat and it struck, “and that made it wobble in its flight.” Gunson said she couldn’t tell which were the first two wounds, and which two followed. Collins had fresh, self-inflicted cuts to the left side and right side of his neck. The cuts on the left side she described as “hesitation cuts,” shallow cuts that don’t go all the way through the skin. On the right side, the cuts were deeper, but he did not cut any of his major blood vessels, Gunson said. From her examination of Collins’ body, she said she could tell he had a mild heart attack in the past, noting a scar on his heart muscle, and possibly emphysema, which could have impaired his ability to move around. Toxicology test results were not available at the time the grand jury heard testimony. Gunson said that takes three to six weeks to obtain.
PAGE 125: Lillian Boynton, who was hiking in Hoyt Arboretum with her son, Charlie, described her encounter with Collins. She had been hiking less than 10 minutes when she saw a man she assumed to be a vagrant who kind of alarmed her. “He was walking toward me very stiff. And his arms were very stiff, made me think of a zombie. And he said, ‘I’m going to kill you.’ And I thought he’s messing with me, you know. But I didn’t want to take it lightly.” She said she turned and began to walk quickly back the way she had come because she knew there were other people below. “I started walking a little faster. And he continued to walk after me. And he said it again. ‘I’m going to kill you.’ ”
Page 128: Lillian Boynton meets her son, who had circled around the water tower, and they return to their car in the parking lot. Boynton tells her husband about what had happened and he told her to tell the folks in the visitor center. She does so, but apparently only says a vagrant alarmed her or threatened her, because later in her testimony she makes it clear that she didn’t immediately relate the death threat. She returns to talk to her husband and then goes back to speak to Hoyt Arboretum employees or volunteers who have already called a park ranger. “I went to the car to tell my husband what was going on because at that point, they hadn’t asked me what he had said. And it was happening so fast, that I was walking out, I said that he said he was going to kill me. They said. ‘Oh.’ And they both looked really shocked.” At that point the man who had threatened her was spotted walking through the parking lot. Boynton positively identifies him as the man who said he was going to kill her. The park employee says: “Okay. That’s all we need. I’ve already called the police.”
Page 130: Boynton and her family leave the park. They didn’t hear sirens as they drove away and weren’t aware of the shooting until later when they saw something on the television at their motel. She said she then called the police to report what had happened. She explained that during her encounter with Collins she had tried not to appear scared, but she was scared. Juror: Did you indicate to any of the police that he appeared drunk? Boynton: No.
Pages 131-133: Charlie Boynton walked ahead of his mother, taking a gravel path leading around the water tower, looking for a viewpoint. He saw a man sitting next to the water tower, with his back to him. The man was on his knees. Boynton couldn’t see what he was doing. He walked quietly down the path as not to bother the man. Just as he got to the other side of the tower, the man said, “Hey you,” or something to that effect. Boynton replied: “Hmmm, what?” “And he gets up and he looks all disheveled and I don’t know, just tired and all shaking and he walked up to me and as he walked down to me, he was walking slowly… I could see red on his hand… red all smeared on his shirt.” When the man was about 10 feet from Boynton, he said: “I am going to kill you.” Boynton said the man looked right in his eyes as he said it. “And I said, ‘Why would you kill me? I haven’t done anything to you.’ And he looked kind of angry and confused. I didn’t know what to think so I was kind of inching away. I said: ‘Sorry. I haven’t done anything to you.’ ”
Page 133: Charlie Boynton kept walking until he realized his mom was following him around the tower. He sprinted around the tower and could see the man “creeping behind the bushes.” He met his mother, asked if she was OK and the two of them returned to the parking lot. At this point, the district attorney stopped him to ask some questions. She said the witness is often using his hands to gesture and she needed more specific detail for the written record. She said, when you say he was walking like this, you held your arms stiff and took deliberate, short, maybe staggering steps. Answer: “Yes, kind of staggering, lurching … like a zombie in a movie.” Question: “And you said there was blood there and you grasped at the collar of your shirt.” Answer: “Yeah, it looked like a finger … I don’t know for sure it was blood. It was just red on his shirt. It looked like hand marks — I don’t know how to describe it.”
Page 135: Charlie Boynton got in the van and remained there talking to his father as his mother went to report the incident. He never talked to anyone at the visitors center. “She told my dad she was going to tell the person in the visitors center that there was some crazy guy telling people he was going to kill them.” He saw the man walking through the parking lot and said it was definitely the same man who they had encountered near the water tower.
Pages 135 to 144: Andrea Leckey was hiking with her 12- and 13-year-old children and the family dog when she heard loud talking followed by gunshots. She was asked how many shots. Answer: Two and two — so four altogether. She was asked how much time elapsed between the shots. Answer: Well not much, but it was like two, boom-boom, boom-boom. Question: In between the first boom-boom and the second boom-boom, did you hear any more loud talking? Answer: Um, I heard not yelling … but just loud talking. Leckey said since she had her children with her, she paused on the trail leading down to the parking lot, uncertain what to do. She waited to see if anyone was running but saw people just walking. She wondered if it was nothing. She encountered three other hikers and asked them if that had sounded like gunfire to them. They said, “Yes, something is going on. There is a police officer yelling for someone to put the knife down and we decided to walk away from it.” Leckey waited a few minutes more and began to hear police sirens so she decided it was safe to return to her car in the parking lot. She had parked near the visitor center so her children could use the restroom, so the path back to her car took her past the scene. They saw a body lying on the ground. She said she couldn’t see the front of the man because he was facing away. She said there were police officers there and she saw one officer hugging another officer. Before she drove away she spoke briefly to a park employee who told her the police wanted to clear the parking lot. She didn’t talk to police at the scene and was contacted later after police had seen her being interviewed on the news.
Pages 144-150: Nicholas Ciccotelli came down to the visitors center with two friends to pick up a map. They passed a police officer talking to two park rangers or employees. They overheard them talking about “the description matches.” They walking inside and grabbed a 4-mile walking pamphlet and together walked as far as the corner of the parking lot where the Japanese prickly ash is when he said he heard yelling. They heard a man yelling, “Put the knife down, put the knife down, put the knife down” and then heard two shots. Question: Did you turn around and take a look? Answer: We stopped moving and we looked back and we hard the yelling and then we heard the shooting. We didn’t really go back towards that because generally trying not to go toward the bullet shots. He estimated that there was a two to three minute span between the two sets of shots. Ciccotelli said he and his companions decided to hike away from the center when they ran into a woman with two children whom he later learned was Andrea Leckey. She asked about the gunfire and whether that’s what they thought they had heard. Ciccotelli recalled agreeing, but then adding that it couldn’t have been real. After some deliberation, they began to follow Leakey back toward the parking lot. “All I could see was lots of police cars.” Arboretum staff told the hikers that police officers wanted to close down the arboretum, so the three friends started down Fairview, where they counted 13 police cars, two ambulances, two fire trucks and three helicopters.
Pages 150-154: Leslie Hammond was walking her dog along the road that runs through the arboretum between Burnside at Fairview, heading toward Fairview, when she heard two loud noises. “So, I just kept walking, and thought, ‘Gosh, that sounds like gunshots.’ And then I heard some angry yelling. It sounded like just person. Then I heard two more shots. That’s all I heard.” Mowad: “When you heard the angry yelling, could you make out any of the words being said?” Hammond: “Not a word.” Mowad: “From the first two shots to the second two shots, about how long of a period of time do you think elapsed?” Mowad: “This is a guess, but probably no more than a minute.” Hammond said she got in her car and drove it to the center at the arboretum. She did not see the police officer or Collins’ body.
Page 156: Megan Worzalla testified she was walking in the arboretum when she reached the visitor’s center and saw two men, a police officer and another man covered in blood. “I stopped because I saw a police officer and a gentleman, who appeared to be bloody, from my perspective, that looked like he had blood on him.”
Page 160: The officer was to the right. The man — Collins — was to the left. She said they were about five to 10 feet from one another. Collins mostly had his back to her. “And what happened was the police officer was telling — the police officer with the gun — he had his gun pointed at him and he was telling him to put down the knife, put down the knife, which I never saw a knife. But, as I said, most of the time I saw the gentleman from his back.” “So I don’t know what was going on in the front. But also he kept telling him repeatedly. The man never responded to him at all at any time. The man never said a word, not even a noise.”
Page 161: Worzalla testified Collins acted in a confused manner — “stumbling and cowering” at the officer’s commands. “(H)e was almost stumbling and cowering away, what I mean, cowering, going like this, but yes he was also spinning up like this. So it was like he didn’t know what to do, it appeared to me, or he couldn’t walk straight, either/or.”
Page 162: Worzalla said the office kept backing away to keep distance between himself and the man. The officer kept shouting commands, perhaps five or six times. “Like I said, he never responded at all. So the police officer shot him. … At that point, the gentleman did not — he didn’t respond at all. He didn’t grab himself. He didn’t scream. He didn’t fall to the ground, anything. If anything, he just more or less stood there. It was very strange to me. I have never seen anyone get shot, but I would think you would react.”
Page 163: Worzalla walked away from the scene. “And I just kept walking, told myself, ‘Just, you know, go to your car, everything will be fine.’ ”
Page 164: Worzalla said she heard two more shots and saw hikers on the ground. Worzalla said she got in her car and decided to get out of the area so that she wouldn’t “interfere with anything that was going on.”
Page 170: Sara Clarke was walking in the arboretum when she saw man covered in what appeared to be blood. “He appeared to be covered in blood, although honestly, it seemed strange to us he would be walking around seemingly fine. So we thought it was paint or something.”
Page 171-172: The man walked toward the visitors center About 20 minutes later she heard shots. “There was screaming or noise, commotion, and then two more shots. … What I recall hearing was a woman’s voice scream, and then what I thought was man’s voice yell and then more noise.” Clarke said she then heard a second set of shots. She testified that the time between the sets of shot was “maybe four and seven seconds, maybe 10 at the most. I don’t know. But it was — I think 10 would actually be too much. It seemed as it if was like shot, shot, noise, shot, shot. So maybe closer to like four or five seconds.” Clarke says a friend called the police to report the shots was told to stay clear of the area.
Page 177: Alex Schuurmans describes being at Hoyt Arboretum with friends and hearing shots. “I did hear arguing and then shortly followed two gunshots, and then I heard an officer with a commanding sounding voice saying, ‘Put it down, put it down,’ and two more shots followed.”
Page 179: Shuurmans said there was “maybe six to ten seconds, a decent interval” between the two sets of gunshots. He called a friend and described what happened. They discussed calling 9-1-1 but by that time police were arriving.
Pages 180-183 Tracy Chamberlin, city of Portland police officer with the training division, describes his background and experience.
Page 184: Chamberlin describes firearms training and patrol tactics and training around transitioning from lethal force and non-lethal force — the legalities and “the decision-making process that cops have to go through when they are engaging a person.”
Page 185: Chamberlin describes the 21-foot rule, saying there is a misconception in police work that may be taught other places that Portland is very clear to articulate to new students. The misconception is that anyone within 21 feet with an edged weapon is considered a deadly threat. We don’t teach that as all encompassing. We teach the totality of the circumstances. The average time a person can cover in seven yards or 21 feet is in about 1.5 seconds.” Conversely, he said, “it’s going to take you 1.7 seconds to get your gun out of the holster and fire an accurate shot center mass at your threat…We teach officers when they are responding to a person with an edged weapon to evaluate their whole surroundings. We can step behind cover if there are trees, if there is a car. We can put a chair in front of us to give us some extra time to react…we can evaluate the threat’s physical appearance. Is the person 90 years old… it will probably take them longer to get there. Is the person 18, appearing fit? They can get to us a lot quicker.
Page 186: He talks about training around evaluating someone’s mental state: “Is the person acting aggressive? Does the person look like they are going to come at us any second?”
Page 187: Chamberlin testified that police training is to use less-lethal force only when lethal cover is available. “You put yourself in a huge disadvantage to go less lethal with a person, have it not be effective and then have to transition to your handgun or lethal. By that time, it might be too late.”
Page 188: Chamberlin describes the limitations of using a taser in close quarters or with people wearing heavy clothing. Also, “if I shoot a taser at a moving person, I have a very good chance of missing. They are not super-accurate guns.”
Page 189: The prosecutor asks Chamberlin if officers are trained to engage in hand-to-hand combat with someone carrying a sharp object. He answers, “No. We are taught to keep our distance.” Police are taught disarming techniques, he said, for use as a last resort when someone is on top of you.
Pages 190-191: Chamberlin gives the definition of a dangerous weapon and says an X-acto knife qualifies. He talks about the action-reaction concept officers are taught — that “your ability to react is always going to be slower than a person’s action.” He describes classroom training where the officer has a gun out and finger on the trigger but the “bad guy” with a gun tucked into a waistband or just held to the side always wins.
Page 192: Chamberlin says they just did the drill for the media, and “they were quite impressed.”
Page 193: He describes the “continuum of force” concept. “Knowing somebody has an edged weapon we have the right to pull our gun and point it at them because we’re behind, because of action-reaction we already talked about.”
Pages 194-195: The prosecutor asks, “So, if a situation warranted it, an officer could go immediately to deadly force?” Chamberlin answers, “Yes, absolutely.” Moawad asks what are the kind of circumstances that might lead to an officer using deadly force. Chamberlin says aggressive behavior, compliance, the suspect’s pose and demeanor, the officer’s environment, other potential victims.
Pages 196-197: Chamberlin says even if police are moving back away from the threat, they are trained never to turn their back on a threat. The retreat should be slow and deliberate, especially if the officer has a gun out. A grand juror asks Chamberlin if officers are trained specially to handle mentally ill people. Chamberlin says every officer has undergone mandatory Crisis Intervention Training.
Page 198: A juror asks Chamberlin about the X-acto knife. “I think the average lay person would not see that as a deadly — potential for causing death.” The juror asks: “What would make that in your mind a situation that would make it justified to hit somebody with a gun, if it’s an X-acto knife, that’s probably not going to cause death, or is that assumption wrong?” Chamberlin says, “Yeah, I would disagree with your assumption. A well-placed cut with an X-acto knife would absolutely be lethal.” He adds, “I’m not the knife guy, by any means, but I have read a lot about knives and knife attacks. And somebody who has an edged weapon and knows what he’s doing with it is a very, very dangerous person.”
Page 199: Body armor would protect only an officer’s torso, the prosecutor asks. Chamberlin says body armor will extend just above the navel to the throat and it will not stop a rifle round. “And interestingly enough, if somebody has a knife in their hand or an edged weapon, it will penetrate our bullet-proof vest just like a thick shirt. It is not going to have any kind of effect on stopping an edged weapon.”
Pages 200-203: Chamberlin notes an interesting statistic: Six of 10 people shot with a gun die, but eight of 10 people attacked with a knife die. A juror asks about police guns and is told they have either a Glock 17 or a Glock 19, both 9-millimeter weapons. The juror asks if the guns would just knock the person down. Chamberlin answers: “That’s totally a Hollywood misconception. Guns will never knock you backwards.” Could you keep walking after being shot, a juror asks. “Oh, absolutely, yeah. And many people do,” Chamberlin answers. Moawad paraphrases criticism around firearm use, with the question why didn’t the officer shoot to maim versus shooting to kill. Why aren’t officers trained to shoot the knife out of someone’s hand? Chamberlin: “Because that is an extremely difficult task to accomplish. To hit a moving target is hard enough.” A juror asks how police are trained to deal with someone who wants to commit “suicide by cop.” Chamberlin says if they know that is the type of call they are dealing with police would keep their distance and call in special units.
Page 204: A juror asks whether police are trained to de-escalate the situation. Chamberlin answers: “I think that’s always our number one goal in any situation. They got fancy words for it. Some people call it ‘verbal voodoo.’ Ideally, that’s the way we would like every single call we go on to be.” Police training emphasizes communication skills. “If we could talk every single person down that we encounter, whatever the situation, it would be fantastic.”
Pages 225-264: Portland police Officer Jason Walters told jurors his background before he described the March 22 shooting. He said he has a four-year degree from Western Washington University, with a major in sociology and minor in psychology. He joined the Oregon Police Corps Academy, and was there for 17 weeks, and then was hired as an officer. Walters said he volunteered to participate in the bureau’s Crisis Intervention Team just over 12 years ago, before it became mandatory. When he took the initial training, it lasted a week, with mental health professionals telling officers how to work with the mentally ill, and offer them services and resources. Walters told jurors he works day shift, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays off. He works what’s called District 860, which includes the Hoyt Arboretum, and has worked that the last five years.
He spent the morning of March 22 in a two-officer car, riding with Officer Robin Dunbar, to respond to particular problems in the Central Precinct area. At lunch time, the two officers split up, and Walters focused on his patrol district. Walters said he usually worked solo on patrol.
Before responding to the Hoyt Arboretum, Walters said he read this text on his mobile computer: “Drunk transient harassing, yelling at passersby. One female said he threatened them, but complainant did not have specifics. Not physically violent, last seen in parking lot, is a mle white, 50s, 5 foot 8, 180, green jacket, tan hooded sweater, jeans and has plastic bag.” He saw the dispatcher’s next entry, about 12 seconds later: “Advised to call back if becomes violent.”
Walters said he headed to the arboretum on his own, asked to have a CHIERS van sent in case the subject needed to be taken to detox and called Dan Moeller, the 9-1-1 caller. The only change in information: The suspect had moved from the arboretum to the visitors center restrooms. Walters drove westbound U.S. 26 towards the arboretum. He parked across the street on Southwest Fairview Boulevard, under a TriMet sign. The first thing he did, Walters said, was park and put on rubber gloves, and then talked to them two arboretum staff members who met him outside the visitors center: Moeller and Matthew Sinclair, the arboretum’s executive director. The staff told Walters the man had been in the restroom for 15 minutes.
“What I’m thinking, I’ll go contact the person in the bathroom, he’s probably somebody I know hopefully by first name. Most folks up there know me by last name. We have a good rapport.” Walters went to the restroom door, and didn’t hear anything inside. “I thought the best course would be just to knock,” Walters said. “I hoped if I knocked he would open it up. I thougt if I knocked and announced police, he would not, and then I would be forced to undo the door.” He knocked three times, waited a couple of seconds and knocked again. The door slowly opened up, Walters said.
“As he was coming out, I’m pretty close, as I was knocking on the door. It opened up, and the first thing I thought when I saw him, I could not compute quick enough in my mind, something was wrong with him,” Walters testified. He said he was struck by the color of his beard — it took him a few seconds to realize his beard and neck were covered in blood. There’s blood on his right hand, coat, some on the floor behind him. “I was really surprised, I didn’t think a bloody guy would open up the door.” Walters said he was getting concerned because of the nature of the call that the man was threatening people; he didn’t know whose blood it was. He said he asked the man, “What is wrong with you? What’s going on?”
Walters said he then looked down, and saw something shiny, an X-acto knife in the man’s left hand. But Walters said he couldn’t come up with a name for the knife. “I could not come up with the word for anything,” he said. Walters said he told the man to “Put that down,” and started taking a couple of steps back. The man didn’t respond verbally, but started moving toward Walters, the officer said. “He’s very methodically stepping — I remember thinking it was a very deliberate step,” Walters said. Walters described the man as crouched, holding the knife tipped up toward Walters, following his path. Walters said he was stepping back, telling the man to “Drop it . Drop it.”
He radioed for Code 3 cover. “Code 3 cover to us means an officer in peril,” Walters testified, saying it’s been about 5 years since he had to call for that level of response. “I’m at the park, it seemed foreign I would be calling for it. I called it out, and in all of the movement, I immediately came out — got him at gunpoint.” Walters said he was about 8 to 10 feet from the man. Walters said he backed up, but was feeling crowded, backing up toward the building into the courtyard. Walters said he didn’t want to swing too far out, then his gun would be pointed at the people inside the visitors center, where he knew staff members were inside. “And I have to start worrying about trying to keep the angle on the bathroom, assuming and hoping nobody else is inside, and there’s a door and a wall there also.’
Walters said he wondered if the man was having a medical episode or mental episode, because there was no verbal interaction. He kept telling the man to “Drop it. Drop it.” As he’s trying to piece together what’s going on, Walters says the man looked at him, and said clearly, “No, I”m not going to do that.” Now, Walters says he’s about 8 feet away from Collins. He’s going through his force options in his head. Pepper spray? Walters thought he’d have to get closer, and that wouldn’t be ideal. Baton? He’ d have to transition from his gun to the baton, which is on his left side; Walters said he’s right-handed. And, the man could get closer to him. Taser? Not appropriate when faced with lethal force. Could stick in the man’s thick coat. It works better at 15 feet or farther. Retreat back? “I didn’t think it was appropriate, for one reason, I have people here — people inside of the gift shop I know have just gone inside. I don’t want to move in a direction that’s going to put him closer to them, and he’s closer to me. That’s my job up there to make sure they are safe.”
Walters said he fired two shots, since the man was not obeying his verbal commands, and kept walking toward him, with the bloodied knife. Walters didn’t look through the sights of his gun and fired at Collin’s torso. “In 13 years here, I’ve never had a day where I have been more scared at work, where I thought somebody would try to kill me.”
Walters also said he had never fired his weapon on duty before March 22. Walters said he moved back farther, and was surprised Collins didn’t fall. He wondered if Collins was under the influence of drugs. He said Collins did a slow walk, “like a slow loop trying to get his bearings.” When he finished the loop, Walters said Collins was about 10 to 12 feet from him. Collins still was grasping the X-acto knife in a clenched fist. Walters said he started yelling, “Drop the knife. Drop the knife,” now able to think of the word. “It was almost a release on my part, because I could remember the name under stress.” Fearing Collins was going to continue to move toward him and stab him, Walters said he fired two more times. Collins then dropped to the ground. The knife fell by his feet.
Pages 247-260: Walters said he recalled that Officer Mike Bledsoe came up to him first after the shooting. Walters said he told them how the man had tried to stab him, and there was a knife now lying by his feet. “Mike, he came on to me with a knife,” Walters recalled saying. In response to questions, Walters said that he wasn’t sure someone might have been still in the bathroom: “It was in the back of my mind. But at this point, I have not had a point to look in there completely to see.”
Walters said he was familiar with the visitors center, goes there on his own time, and has bought his kids books in the gift shop. A juror asked Walters if he had been given any information from the medical examiner’s office or anyone else about the scene since he left it. Walters replied that he’s been trying hard not to look at media reports, and “just to stay in a bubble.” “Nobody contacted me inside of the bureau or medical examiner with any information,” Walters testified. Walters said he did have a copy of the computer dispatch printout when homicide Det. Mike Slater interviewed him. He did not see any officers’ reports. Prosecutor Heidi Moawad asked, “To your knowledge, has your attorney, Mr. Boise, had the ability to review any of those reports? “As far as I know, no,” Walters said. Walters said he didn’t talk to any of the officers who had responded, but he did return to the Hoyt Arboretum on March 24, two days after the shooting, with his attorney “to rewalk the scene.”
Asked if there was anything else he wanted to share with jurors, Walters said: “I have to say in my 13 years, it’s the most scared I have been at work, and the most surprised just from location and circumstance, and the hardest day I have had at work over the years, it was difficult.”
A juror asked: “Did you have any expectation as you were getting ready to knock on the door, from the information you had gotten from the people who called — the people who were there talking to you, what you were going to find when you got in there?” Walters replied that he thought it would be one of the guys he knew who frequently stays in the park. Moawad followed up: “Even if it had not been one of the guys you know … are you able to generally establish a good rapport with a transient individual?” “Absolutely,” Walters said. “The park is my district. I take it very seriously.”
A juror had another follow-up question: “At any time, did you — do you remember thinking that your tactics would be different if this man was not drunk?” Walters said no.
Next juror’s question: “In your training if you had known ahead of time — if you were — if you had been called to an incident similar to this with different information that said bloody man with a knife, what would you have done differently?” Walters said had that information been given to dispatchers or him, it would have bumped the priority of the call up, warranting a quicker response — with a minimum of a two-car or three-car response. Walters said he would have waited for the additional officers to arrive before approaching, and would have carried his beanbag shotgun because he would have had lethal cover.
A juror asked if Walters was wearing a Kevlar vest? Walters said yes. A juror asked if Walters was sort of apologetic or maybe thought he could have done a little better when he explained to another officer that it happened so fast. “I was really hoping he would put the knife down. I was upset it didn’t work out smoothly,” Walters testified. A juror continued, “As you were walking away, were you kind of disappointed at yourself that maybe you could have done or handled the situation in a little bit different or better?” Walters said, “No. I felt like — I believe his name is Mr. Collins forced that scenario on me. I don’t think there’s anything I could have done else. I ran out of room trying to do everything I possibly could.” The juror pressed: “That was your only choice?” “That was my only choice,” Walters testified.
When a juror asked how far Walters ever got from Mr. Collins, the prosecutor interjected: “Not to put words in your mouth, also that is an area you mentinoed the planters, for example … were you concerned about, you know, running into some of the landscaping? There are rocks in that area, things of that nature?” Walters said he felt constricted by the visitors center building and shrubs on the southwest corner of the building.
A juror’s last question was about training, if Walters felt he used the training he received? Walters said he felt he drew from all his training of 13 years, all the in-service training scenarios and police academy work. “I felt like everything came to work that day, and it all came together at the time I needed it to.”
The grand jury adjourned at 12:20 p.m. Friday.