PORTLAND, Ore. — A Transit Division police officer shot and killed a knife-wielding man who reportedly threatened people near a light-rail station in Portland, Oregon, authorities said Thursday.

Investigators recovered a knife from the scene of the shooting, which occurred Wednesday evening, said Sgt. Pete Simpson, Portland Police Bureau spokesman.

Police identified the man as Terrell Johnson, 24, a longtime Portland resident who had recently been homeless.

The officer who fired the shots is Samson Ajir, an eight-year veteran of the Portland Police Bureau.

Johnson’s death came three months after a black teenager was fatally shot by Portland police. A grand jury found no criminal wrongdoing on the part of officers, but the incident led protesters to repeatedly disrupt Portland City Council meetings.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was communicating with police Chief Mike Marshman about the events on Wednesday.

“We agree that information should be provided to the public in a timely and transparent manner,” Wheeler said in a statement. “As facts become available, we must acknowledge that this is a difficult time for the Johnson family and for the officers involved.”

The shooting happened after a 9-1-1 caller reported that a man was acting erratically and threatening people at a transit station, Simpson said. The caller described Johnson as a white male, though he’s listed as black in court records from an April arrest for bicycle theft.

Simpson said Ajir chased Johnson and was in close proximity when he fired the shots after seeing the knife.

Court records from the bicycle-theft arrest show Johnson’s mother lives in Portland and had an active restraining order against her son.

Johnson had no prior arrests in Oregon.

According to Simpson, Johnson’s family told investigators he struggled with drug addiction and that may have affected his mental health.

Johnson said in an interview at his April jail booking that he was unemployed and likes to use drugs and drink alcohol, court records show. He reported having no mental health issues.

This investigation remains active. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office will later present the case to a grand jury, which is standard procedure in all Portland police shootings.

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STEVEN DUBOIS
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