Two Officers Suspended After Shooting Due To Improperly Secured Firearm

If you’re going to carry a gun, you owe it to yourself to have a good quality holster that will retain your firearm. While I’m not a fan of retention straps, I’ll admit that they’re far preferable to losing your gun in some altercation.

That’s what seems to have happened at Portland State University recently. Check on the news report.

Now, the two officers have been suspended while investigators look into the case.

Two Portland State University officers have been placed on paid administrative leave following a shooting Friday morning that left one person dead.

The university identified those officers as Shawn McKenzie and James Dewey. McKenzie has worked in public safety for the university since 2002, and Dewey since 2014. Both became sworn campus police officers in 2016. Sworn officers are armed.

The Portland Police Bureau said the two officers were involved in the shooting death of a man near Southwest 6th Avenue and Southwest College street in downtown Portland early Friday. It’s the first officer-involved shooting at Portland State.

Multiple agencies, including the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office and the Portland Police Bureau Homicide Detail, are conducting an investigation into the incident.

Unsurprisingly, some seem to feel the officers overreacted to the presence of a firearm.

“The gun slipped out of the holster when he had fallen, and I think he may have tried to retrieve it,” Smith said. “Then they said ‘gun.’”

That’s when police fired, she said.

“There was absolutely no hesitation at all,” she said. “[The officer] went straight for his gun.”

In fairness, the officer should have gone straight for his weapon. There was a firearm present in a violent altercation. What was the officer supposed to do? Wait? Give a written invitation?

Of course not.

Now, I’m not saying the officer was justified in firing. The mere presence of a firearm isn’t a justifiable use of force unless it was pointed at either the officers or someone else, and that appears to be unclear.

Based on the video, though, I can tell you that it looks like the gun was stuck in the guy’s pocket or something. I’m not the only one who thinks that, either. If it was a holster, I’m willing to bet it was a crap holster. Why would I bet that way? Because a good holster won’t spill your gun out on the street if you get knocked down. I also kind of wonder if open carrying like that may have contributed to the weapon retention issues, though I’m skeptical.

Do yourself a favor. Make sure your holsters will retain a weapon. I tend to test mine by placing an unloaded weapon in the holster, then holding it upside down over a cushioned surface and shaking it to see how much it will take before the weapon falls free. If it can take a vigorous shake or two, it should withstand you being knocked on your butt.

Someone else didn’t worry about that, and now a person is dead. Is it their fault? No clue. But lives are ruined, and the catalyst was someone losing their firearm. I am sure about that.