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Police identify victim in Thursday’s police shooting

Portland police investigate the scene at a Motel 6 where earlier an officer shot and killed a man on June 24, 2021 in Portland, Oregon.
Portland police investigate the scene at a Motel 6 where earlier an officer shot and killed a man on June 24, 2021 in Portland, Oregon.

The Portland Police Bureau identified the victim in Thursday’s police shooting as Michael Ray Townsend, 40. Portland police Officer Curtis Brown shot and killed Townsend in the parking lot of a Motel 6 during a welfare check.

A 45-second clip of security camera footage from the incident released by PPB shows Townsend sitting on the stairs outside the motel talking to two police officers and four paramedics and firefighters. In the first half of the video, the situation appears calm.

Twenty-five seconds in, the first responders quickly move away from Townsend and Brown draws his firearm. Townsend stands up from the stairs and is seen advancing toward Brown, appearing to hold a weapon in his hands.

As Brown was drawing his firearm, the other officer in the video, whom PPB has not identified, appears to reach for his firearm and then switches to his taser as he seeks cover behind a patrol car.

Townsend then drops to the ground grabbing his abdomen. The police said the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office determined Townsend died from a gunshot.

Seven seconds elapse from the time the first responders jumped back until the time the man was shot.

Police said Townsend was wielding a weapon at the time he was shot and released an image of what appears to be a sharp tool used for repairing tires.

Details about why police were called to the motel for the welfare check have not been released.

Townsend had a documented history of mental illness. In 2018, Townsend was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for an unarmed bank robbery in Portland. Townsend claimed to have been having a psychotic episode at the time.

“Defendant’s mental illness and heavy use of methamphetamine apparently contributed to his decision to rob the bank,” Hannah Horsely, the Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted the case, wrote in her sentencing memorandum at the time.

In December 2020, Townsend’s parole was revoked after he failed to participate in the mental health treatment program stipulated in the terms of his release.

Attempts to reach Townsend’s family were unsuccessful. Police said the family chose not to provide a photograph.

This is the second person who appeared to be in a mental health crisis killed by a Portland police officer this year.

In April, Officer Zachary DeLong shot and killed Robert Delgado in Lents Park. Delgado, who was holding a replica pistol at the time, was said by friends and family to have suffered from mental health issues for years.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting