The Tigard police officer who shot and killed Jacob Macduff on Jan. 6 has been hired by the Port of Portland Police Department despite an ongoing criminal investigation. He started work at the agency April 19, though the port placed him on leave this week after OPB published this story.
According to the Tigard Police Department, Officer Gabriel Maldonado shot and killed Jacob Macduff, 26, while responding to a domestic violence call. The department said Macduff was in his car when officers tried to arrest him.
“Officers confronted Mr. Macduff in his vehicle to effectuate their arrest and discovered that he was armed with a knife,” a Tigard police press release said at the time. “Mr. Macduff refused to surrender to police, and during the struggle to arrest Mr. Macduff, a Tigard Police Officer shot and killed Mr. Macduff.”
Maldonado resigned from the Tigard police department April 15 after almost 15 years with the agency. According to Tigard police spokesperson Kelsey Anderson, Maldonado began looking for a job with other agencies before the shooting.
After the Jan. 6 shooting, Maldonado was placed on paid critical incident leave, pending an investigation, according to an email sent by Tigard police at the time. The email said that was “standard protocol.”
In the weeks after the shooting, Officer Maldonado attended four sessions with a psychologist, requalified on his firearm and participated in a critical incident debriefing with a mental health clinician.
Tigard police Chief Kathy McAlpine allowed Maldonado to return to duty on February 23.
A spokesperson for the Washington County district attorney’s office confirmed that Maldonado still has not been cleared in the investigation.
“We have not yet determined if criminal charges will be filed as the investigation is ongoing,” said district attorney’s office spokesperson Stephen Mayer.
In a statement, the Port of Portland said Maldonado was offered a position in October 2020 and that the hiring process was paused after the shooting to allow for an investigation.
“Based on that background investigation, the Port believed that the officer had been cleared of any wrongful actions and had returned to duty,” Kama Simonds, the Port of Portland’s spokesperson, wrote on Wednesday. “The Port now understands that the Washington County DA has not completed their criminal investigation. Officer Maldonado has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the Washington County District Attorney’s investigation.”
Simonds said the hiring process was not as complete as it should have been and that they are working to improve it.
Macduff’s mother, Maria Macduff, contests the police account of the night Maldonado killed her son. In an April 22 statement, she said Jacob Macduff was in a mental health crisis and that neighbors called police because of the noise he was making. When police arrived, she said her son became scared and hid in his truck, which was registered to Maria Macduff. When police called and asked her for permission to break the window, she cautioned them that he was in a fragile mental state.
Since then, she said she hasn’t been given any additional information about the shooting or the status of the investigation.
“It’s been over 90 days since the police shot and killed my son while he was in mental health crisis,” she said in the press release. “No one has been able to tell me how or why. I think it’s reasonable – more than reasonable – to expect some answers after all this time.”
The family’s lawyer filed a tort claim notice with the City of Tigard and the Tigard Police Department in order to preserve the family’s right to a legal claim against the police.