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What Happened To Fouad Kaady: Family disputes police account of shooting

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Family disputes police account of shooting

from the Oregonian

GRESHAM -- The family of a 27-year-old Gresham man shot and killed by police last week in Sandy said his bizarre behavior was the result of injuries received in a fire that engulfed the inside of his car and a subsequent crash.

Fouad Kaady died Thursday afternoon of multiple gunshot wounds on a highway north of Sandy. The officers involved in the shooting were identified as Sandy police Officer William J. Bergin and Clackamas County sheriff's Deputy David E. Willard.

Both officers fired shortly after Kaady climbed on top of a patrol car, said Detective Jim Strovink, a spokesman for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. It's unclear which officer's bullet struck Kaady, he said.

Kaady, who was a suspected in at least three hit-and-run crashes, was bloody, naked and combative, Strovink said. One witness said Kaady had burns to his body and blood running down his torso from an apparent head wound.

A man who talked with Kaady shortly before police arrived said Kaady kicked him in the chest when he asked if he was all right. Another witness told police Kaady was sitting quietly in the middle of the road before police arrived.

Official explains actions

In an attempt to subdue him, Strovink said, the officers shot Kaady several times with a Taser -- a stun gun that delivers 50,000 volts of electricity through barbs fired into the skin -- with little effect.

"The officers felt threatened and perceived him to be a threat to others, as well," Strovink said, explaining why police used lethal force.

But Kaady's sister, Andrea Kaady, called his death "a travesty, a tragedy . . . it was an unlawful death."

She said her brother, a 1996 graduate of Gresham High School, had no history of mental illness and did not take hard drugs. "Why did they shoot him?" she asked. "Maybe if someone had tried to help him, this wouldn't have happened."

Kaady said her brother, a smoker, was driving with a gasoline can from the duplex owned by his parents in Sandy to his Toyota pickup, which ran out of gas earlier in the day in Gresham.

"He lit a cigarette and the gas caught fire," Andrea Kaady said. "He was trying to put himself out when he rear-ended another car. He was in shock."

Alice Lasher, spokeswoman for the Sandy Fire Department, said firefighters were first dispatched to Southeast Bluff Road on a hit-and-run accident with injuries. En route, firefighters were also dispatched to several brush fires, and at least two additional hit-and-run accidents.

"The brush fires were on the side of the road he traveled down and where a car went into the woods," Lasher said.

Witnesses told police Kaady was running naked through the woods and appeared to be painted red. Lasher confirmed Monday that Kaady suffered from burns, probably from the fire that engulfed the car he drove.

If Kaady hit his head in the crash, Lasher said, the injuries could have made him combative. "Head injuries can cause bizarre behavior," she said.

But Strovink said Kaady was exhibiting bizarre behavior before the shooting. He was reportedly seen driving erratically near Mt. Hood Community College.

He also was seen leaving his pickup in the parking lot of Rick's Custom Fencing, 20132 S.E. Stark St. in Gresham about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. James Blankenship, a worker there, said a man parked a truck in the store's parking lot, and after rummaging around inside, jumped from the cab.

"The door flew open and he jumped out and starting running across the field," Blankenship said. "All he had on were boxer shorts."

According to DMV records, Kaady's parents live a short distance away, on Southeast 207th Avenue.

It was about an hour later that the events preceding Kaady's death occurred.

Investigation continues

Strovink said that the case remains under investigation and that anyone with information can call the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office tips line at 503-723-4949. When the investigation is complete, the results go to a grand jury to determine if the shooting was justified.

Bergin, 24, was hired as a Sandy police officer in May, having previously worked as a Lincoln City police officer for about 11/2 years. Willard, 44, has been a Clackamas County deputy since 1994. He previously worked for the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Willamina police and Portland Public Schools police. Both men are on paid administrative leave.

Albert Kaady, a cousin, said Fouad didn't do anything to deserve "this fate."

"If he was naked, how much of a threat is he to two or three or four police officers? He didn't deserve to die like this," he said.

A memorial service for Fouad Kaady will be at 11 a.m. today at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, 2101 N.E. 162nd Ave., Portland.

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