PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Tigard police officer who shot and killed a man in January has been hired by the Port of Portland Police Department while a criminal investigation continues.
Gabriel Maldonado started working at the agency April 19, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on Tuesday.
According to the Tigard Police Department, Maldonado fatally shot Jacob MacDuff, 26, while responding to a domestic violence call. The department said MacDuff was in his car with a knife when officers tried to arrest him. MacDuff refused to surrender and an officer shot him during a struggle, Tigard police said at the time.
Maldonado resigned from the Tigard police department April 15 after nearly 15 years. According to Tigard police spokesperson Kelsey Anderson, Maldonado started the hiring process with the Port before the shooting.
Maldonado was placed on paid critical incident leave after Jan. 6, pending an investigation, according to Tigard police. Tigard Police Chief Kathy McAlpine had already allowed Maldonado to return to his regular duty before he resigned, Anderson said.
McAlpine didn’t immediately respond to questions, but a spokesperson for the Washington County district attorney’s office confirmed that Maldonado has not been cleared.
“We have not yet determined if criminal charges will be filed as the investigation is ongoing,” district attorney’s office spokesperson Stephen Mayer said.
Port of Portland initially declined to comment when asked why Maldonado was hired amidst an ongoing criminal investigation. On Wednesday, Port of Portland spokesperson Kama Simonds said in an emailed statement that the Port believed Maldonado had been cleared of any wrongful actions and now understands that the district attorney’s investigation has not been completed.
“Officer Maldonado has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the Washington County District Attorney’s investigation,” the statement said. “Our hiring process was not as complete as it should have been in this case and we’re working together to improve it going forward.”
MacDuff’s mother, Maria MacDuff, contests the police account of the shooting. In an April 22 statement, she said her son was in a mental health crisis and that neighbors called police because of the noise he was making.
She said he became scared when officers arrived and hid in his truck, which was registered to her. When police called and asked her for permission to break the window, she cautioned them that he was in a fragile mental state.