Portland police papers reveal Sery nearly shot someone else
05:43 PM PDT on Tuesday, May 4, 2004
By KYLE IBOSHI and ABE ESTIMADA, KGW Staff
Officer Jason Sery nearly shot a suspect on April 10, 2001 because he thought the suspect was reaching for a weapon.
Officer Jason Sery. (KGW Photo)
Sery's gun jammed, and the suspect escaped, according to a confidential police interview contained among hundreds of pages of police papers made available to Northwest NewsChannel 8 on Tuesday.
Northwest NewsChannel 8 made a public records request of interviews and papers related to the shooting of James Jahar Perez. Sery, 29, shot and killed Perez on March 28. Sery told a public inquest jury last week that he thought Perez was about to pull a gun from his right pants pocket.
Investigators later found no weapon on Perez or in his car, but a Multnomah County grand jury two weeks ago didn't find enough evidence to indict Sery.
The April 10, 2001 incident bears some resemblances to the March 28, 2004 shooting of Perez. The 2001 case occurred blocks from the Perez shooting on N. Burr and N. Fessenden streets.
Sery said during an interview he was chasing a suspect. Once they got to a fenceline near N. Columbia and N. Fessenden, the suspect was reaching toward his waistband.
"I was shouting, 'Show me your hand, show me your hand,'" Sery said.
As the suspect reached for his waistband, Sery said, "I remember I made the decision to fire believing he was pulling out a gun."
As Sery was about to fire, his gun malfunctioned. The suspect ran away but was later captured. The next day, a neighbor found a gun that may have belonged to the suspect.
When detectives asked if the 2001 case affected Sery's decision to shoot Perez, he told them, "When I was in the Perez case, I didn't ever think about this case."
Sery didn't discuss the 2001 incident during his testimony before the public inquest jury. Sery also told Portland police detectives he wouldn't change anything about how he handled the shooting that led to Perez's death. Sery talked to detectives on March 29 - the day after the shooting.
Officer Sean Macomber, Sery's partner on the day of the March 28 shooting, told detectives he's never been so scared in that type of situation and felt there was an "impending sense of doom."
Sery's and Macomber's talks with detectives seem to match the testimony they gave before a six-member public inquest jury.
Sery told the inquest he was certain that Perez, 28, was about to pull a weapon from his pocket when he made the decision to shoot. Macomber, 30, testified before the inquest jury that he felt like a target as he and Perez fought inside Perez's driver seat.
After the grand jury cleared Sery of criminal wrongdoing in the Perez shooting, attorney Michael Schrunk convened an inquest into the shooting to share as much information as possible on the shooting to the public.
After hearing three days of testimony, the inquest jury ruled last Friday that Perez died of homicide. The inquest jury wasn't supposed to give a verdict on whether Sery's actions were criminal or justified.
Portland police chief Derrick Foxworth is leading an internal review of the Perez shooting, while the Federal Bureu of Investigation in Portland has also launched a civil rights probe of the shooting.