PORTLAND – Family of the man shot and killed by police last weekend said they’re outraged over how officers dealt with the suspect and his relatives.
Police said Billy Simms, 28, was attempting to elude officers who were chasing him for allegedly firing a gun at a car with five occupants inside. An officer fired at Simms and he later died of gunshot wounds, according to Lt. Robert King of the Portland Police Bureau.
Family members said they sat at the scene and pleaded for information for seven hours, even watching a body bag taken away and wondering if it was Billy.
“During the seven hours we were not given any further information,” family members said in a written statement released to the media. “After demanding to speak to a sergeant or person in charge, a female officer approached our family still unable to inform us if in fact Billy was the involved party.”
Family members said they were finally informed that Billy was dead just before 1 a.m. They said he was a loving father of 4 who had recently completed rehabilitation, and did not deserve to be gunned down by police.
“Billy had been working hard to confront his demons and as recent as 6 months ago graduated from rehab, something we were all very proud of him for,” the family statement said. “Billy's life could have been saved if Portland police thought of him as a person, not a felon.”
Investigators said Simms was suspected of menacing with a gun at a Southeast Portland home just before the alleged shooting. He was also suspected of trying to use counterfeit money at a Portland McDonald's restaurant on July 20 and police believe he was involved in the robbery of a medical marijuana growing operation on July 23rd.