The family of a man shot and killed by a Portland Police officer says confusion and blindness put him in harm's way.
Andre Gladen, 36, was killed Sunday afternoon at a stranger's home near Mall 205 in Southeast Portland.
"Andre was always smiling and laughing and talking. He was an awesome person. He was pained a lot but never showed his pain. If something was hurting him a lot, he would share it with me," said Gladen's cousin. She didn't want KGW to identify her publicly, but Gladen had been staying with her since November, she said.
Gladen had lost an eye and was declared legally blind after being shot in the head years ago in California. His cousin and friends told KGW that Gladen could only see shadows and shapes.
"He had to be very protective of himself and his surroundings because he didn't know who was who," his cousin said.
Gladen's twin brother in Arizona told The Oregonian/OregonLive that his brother he had been in and out of treatment for paranoid schizophrenia and hallucinations. But his cousin described it differently.
"If you have a regular mind and not a mind beyond the average, then you would think someone was crazy, but I would never say Andre was crazy because me and him were gifted with a lot of the same things," said Gladen's cousin.
She said Gladen was fine and acting normal when he left her place early Sunday morning, saying he'd be back soon. Six hours later, and three miles away, Gladen showed up at a stranger's house knocking on the door.
The homeowner told The Oregonian/OregonLive that Gladen was mumbling that he'd just been released from the hospital and someone told him to get help at this house. The police were called, and an officer showed up.
Gladen bolted through the front door when he saw the officer. There was a scuffle. The officer was pushed into a back bedroom. The witness said the officer used his Taser, but it had little effect on Gladen.
That's when the homeowner, who said he saw the whole thing, said Gladen pulled out a 7-inch knife and cornered the officer, who fired his gun three times, killing him.
"If he was sitting on someone's front porch he probably thought he was home, I guarantee you," said a neighbor named Allen who chatted with Gladen daily. Allen believes Gladen's mental issues and blindness sadly brought this on.
"He was probably discombobulated and then the cops come in and he felt like he was under attack," Allen said.
"I'm feeling horrible because I'm trying to believe this is a lie still," said Gladen's cousin.
Police and the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office are reviewing the case to decide if it will go to a grand jury.