According to The Oregonian, Portland Police Chief Larry O’Dea failed to tell a responding officer he accidentally fired the shot that hit a friend in the back, instead suggesting the victim shot himself:
O’Dea didn’t identify himself as Portland’s chief or even as a police officer when he was questioned by the deputy who responded April 21 to a 911 call outside Fields, [Harney County] Sheriff Dave Ward said in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive.
O’Dea and some of his companions at the scene steered the deputy into believing the shooting was a “self-inflicted’’ accident, Ward said.
“I do know it didn’t happen the way it was originally portrayed,” he said.
According to Sheriff Ward, investigators only learned O’Dea was involved when they interviewed the victim almost a month later.
“The victim made it pretty clear he didn’t shoot himself,’’ said Ward. “The victim knew who shot him.’’
While the shooting occurred in April, O’Dea did not inform the public about the incident until reporters asked him about it last week. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales—who was out of town attending a White House conference on gun violence prevention—announced O’Dea’s leave of absence in a prepared statement.
“We need our Police Bureau operating at its best, and our officers can’t do that when there’s turmoil and confusion surrounding their leader,” wrote Hales. “I am awaiting the outcome of internal and external investigations before commenting about the incident, and urge all Portlanders to do the same.”