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Regional Interests

Mother demands answers after fatal police shooting in Tigard

The mother of the man Tigard police shot and killed Jan. 6 said officers called her during the standoff and asked her to talk to her son. After a brief wait, she was disconnected and not contacted again for two hours.

“So I waited and waited and the phone went dead,” recalled Maria Macduff, Jacob Macduff’s mother. “I was hoping they had taken him to the hospital and then, about two hours later, I got a call telling me that they had shot him – that they had killed him.”

It’s been 131 days since Tigard police officer Gabriel Maldonado shot and killed 26-year-old Jacob Macduff, during what family and friends say was a mental health crisis.

According to the Tigard Police Department, Maldonado shot and killed Macduff while responding to a domestic violence call. The department said Macduff was in his car when officers tried to arrest him.

A lawyer for the Macduff family said they have been given very few details about the Jan. 6 incident. The Washington County District Attorney told the family no details would be released until a charging decision is made.

“We simply don’t know a lot of the facts,” said Scott Levin, the family’s attorney. “The key question is, ‘Why did this mental health crisis escalate to the point of using deadly force?’”

In a press conference Monday morning, Maria Macduff said her son was bipolar. In the days leading up to the fatal shooting, Macduff, who is also a doctor, said her son was sending her bizarre texts, “almost like he was in another universe,” she said.

“He was progressing into an acute psychotic state,” she said, channeling her medical expertise through a mother’s tears.

Macduff said she received a phone call from Tigard police on Jan. 6 saying they were responding to a 911 call related to Jacob’s behavior. The officer told Dr. Macduff that her son was locked in his parked truck and refused to come out. Jacob’s truck was registered in her name and Macduff said an officer asked permission to break the truck window.

“They had responded to calls about his behavior that previous week,” Macduff said. “I told them also that he had a mental illness. I made sure they knew that he was confused and probably terrified.”

The officer also asked her if she could talk to Jacob and get him to comply with police.

In previous instances, Macduff said she was able talk to her son, tell him she was concerned about him and get him help.

“They would treat him and then he did well after that,” she said.

She said she doesn’t know what happened while she was on hold waiting to talk to her son.

After the shooting, Officer Maldonado was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. Police Chief Kathy McAlpine allowed Maldonado to return to work before that investigation concluded.

Despite the ongoing investigation, Maldonado resigned on April 15 and started as a Port of Portland police officer four days later.

After OPB reported that Maldonado was still under investigation, the Port of Portland put him back on administrative leave and said their hiring process was not as complete as it should have been.

Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton announced earlier this month that he was turning the investigation over to the Oregon Department of Justice to determine if criminal charges against Maldonado will be pursued.

That decision has not yet been made.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting