Family says Irish man was shot seven times


Relatives of an Irish man killed by police in the US state of Oregon viewed the body and said he was shot at least seven times.

Andrew Hanlon (20) died early on Tuesday after police in the small town of Silverton opened fire on him following a reported burglary.

Mr Hanlon’s brother-in-law Nathan Heise said today he had two gunshot wounds to his left arm, three wounds to his abdomen, one on his thigh and one in the back of his shoulder.

“It was definitely not grouped in one area,” Mr Heise said.

Viewing the body “offered some closure to the ongoing grieving process, but it was definitely very upsetting to both of us,” said Mr Heise, who is married to Mr Hanlon’s sister Melanie.

Authorities have released few details pending the outcome of an investigation, but the police officer who fired the shots has been put on paid administrative leave.

Mr Heise told The Irish Timesyesterday that local authorities had given the family no details about Mr Hanlon's death beyond informing them that he was deceased.

"There's a lot of speculation and rumours so it's difficult to know what to believe," he said.

Mr Heise said Mr Hanlon had shown signs of mental disturbance in recent months but added that he would be "absolutely shocked" to learn that the dead man had been carrying a weapon.

"This woman said that AJ had come up and pounded at her door and said 'let me in, let me in' and it freaked the woman out.

"If that is the case, it kind of makes sense to me because over the last couple of weeks, AJ had got this habit of calling up when he was in a disturbed state and he'd actually come up to us in the middle of the night saying 'let me in, let me in'.

"And if you look at the layout of the town here, it almost looks like he was on the way up to our place and might have been confused and thought it was our house and was banging on the door there," Mr Heise said.

"She called the cops and she called her boyfriend who was just up the street. He came up with his friends and AJ ran down the hill. The police were at the bottom of the hill already and apparently AJ tripped when he got to the bottom of the hill and the police officer said 'stay down, stay down'.

"That's from an eyewitness on the scene. And AJ started to stand up and that's when the police officer shot him numerous times.”

Mr Heise said it was clear that the police officer had failed to follow standard procedures such as using a taser gun or mace spray before opening fire

Ireland's consul general in San Francisco travelled to Silverton in the northwest Pacific state yesterday to meet Mr Hanlon's family and local officials.

"The consul general has emphasised the Government's interest and deep concern about the case in her contacts with the district attorney and the chief of police of Silverton.

"The Minister has asked to be kept fully informed of developments," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.