Man Shot By Portland Police Was At Hospital Hours Before He Was Killed

Jan 10, 2019
Originally published on January 10, 2019 8:37 am

The man shot by Portland Police on Sunday struggled with mental health problems and was seen at the emergency room at Adventist Medical Center in Southeast Portland before he was killed, according to family members.

Police shot Andre Gladen, 36, inside an apartment less than a mile from the front doors of the hospital's emergency room.

Exactly why he was at the hospital remains unclear.

"We didn't even know that he had went to the hospital," said Rukenya Gladen, Andre's sister. "We don't know what he went to the hospital for."

Gladen was an African-American man from Sacramento who was in Portland visiting his cousin.

Gladen struggled with schizophrenia and took medication for bipolar disorder, family members told OPB.

While it's still unclear why Gladen was at the hospital, the fact that he was there at all raises questions about his well-being — and his mental state — the day police shot and killed him.

Portland Police Officer Consider Vosu fired three times, hitting Gladen twice in the lungs at point blank range, the medical examiner told Gladen's family.

Portland Police continue to investigate the shooting. Police Chief Danielle Outlaw has asked for the public's patience as the investigation unfolds. The family has said they plan to sue the bureau.

The city of Portland came under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice after a 2012 review found police engaged in a pattern and practice of excessive use of force against people suffering from mental health problems.

The hospital has repeatedly declined to comment about why Gladen was at the hospital and the circumstances around how he ended up at a stranger's apartment down the street without shoes.

Advocates say there's still a lot unknown about the circumstances surrounding the final hours of Gladen's life.

Chris Bouneff, executive director of the Oregon chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a nonprofit that provides educational support programs to people with mental illness and their family members, said emergency rooms are ill-equipped to deal with people suffering from mental health crises.

"Emergency rooms in the Portland metropolitan area are known in the advocacy world to do this work terribly, period," Bouneff said. "We don't train people to do this work, we don't resource emergency rooms in terms of creating a physical plan to be able to do this work. Emergency medicine has not caught up to the modern needs of behavioral health crises."

Bouneff said when an incident like this happens, "it is time for examination."

Family members say they were told by Adventist that it would take up to a month before they could obtain records that would show why Gladen was at the hospital, citing patient confidentiality and an ongoing police investigation, family members said Wednesday. 

A spokesperson with Adventist said its medical records department is “always willing to release information to next of kin in a timely manner upon receiving proof of familial relationship.” The family has to provide a death certificate or prove that they’re next of kin in order to obtain patient information from the hospital. 

About a 10-minute walk from Adventist Medical Center, Desmond Pescaia was at home on Sunday when Gladen knocked on his apartment door around 2 p.m.

Pescaia said Gladen looked lost and appeared to be acting erratically. Gladen told Pescaia he came from Adventist, but Pescaia didn't believe him.

Pescaia described a man who was disheveled — not someone who had just come from a hospital.

"The hospital would not have released him being dressed that way," Pescaia said. "He said he was at Adventist and they released him, but his pants were dirty, I knew he was soiled."

Gladen wore socks, but no shoes. Family members told OPB Gladen left his cousin's house Sunday morning wearing shoes and was fully dressed.

Adventist confirmed to the family Wednesday that Gladen was at the hospital before he was shot inside Pescaia's apartment.

Police say they recovered a knife at the scene, but Pescaia said he didn't see it until after Gladen was shot.

"From the point to where he was dressed and to the point where he left the hospital and to when he passed, we don't know what happened in between that time," said Rukenya Gladen, Andre's sister.

After he was shot Sunday, Gladen was taken back to a Portland area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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