UPDATE (Aug. 2, 12:31 p.m. PT) — The Portland Police Bureau has released the name of the man who was shot and killed by police in East Portland late Tuesday.
The police bureau says 31-year-old Lane Christopher Martin was killed after he displayed a weapon that witnesses described as similar to an ax or hatchet.
Starting last year, Martin was a student at Portland State University in the School of Art and Design, and was hired for a work-study position at the school.
Previously, he studied art and design at Portland Community College and at two community colleges in California.
Michelle Illuminato, an associate professor, taught Martin sculpture and got to know him well through his work-study. She was planning to work with him again this fall.
Illuminato said Martin liked fixing things and looked for ways to make her department run more smoothly.
“He was a hard worker, smiled easily, extremely kind and always helpful,” she said. “We all will miss him at PSU.”
Witnesses have told The Oregonian/OregonLive that Martin appeared to be in a mental health crisis at the time he was shot by police.
He died on July 30, one day before his birthday.
The police bureau said officers with its Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team had responded to the scene.
The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined Martin died from gunshot wounds.
In selfies posted to his Facebook profile, Martin often wore sunglasses or a cap, sporting a light beard and a shy smile.
He sold a number of his paintings online. His personal website features his art: detailed portraits of pets and richly painted abstract works with mandalas and roses.
In a personal statement he posted on the site, he described using art to explore his struggles with substance abuse.
“My addictions took me down a dark and painful path, one in which the only ways out were death or incarceration,” he wrote.
He said time he’d spent in a Nevada prison and tried to use it to become a better person and a better artist, collecting yarn and art materials, and knitting and selling beanies.
“For me art is a way of life, it’s a hustle, it’s something that I live and breathe every day,” Martin wrote. “My hope is that as I continue to paint and create art, I can inspire others to use art as a vehicle to help overcome their obstacles and make it through the painful experiences that life has to offer.”
Court records also appear to reflect Martin’s struggles with addiction — and periods of stability.
In 2014, Martin pleaded guilty to a felony assault attempt after slashing at a friend’s throat with a box cutter, apparently out of the blue. That year, he also pleaded guilty to one count of heroin possession in Jackson County.
Following that incident, Martin was participating in treatment programs for addiction, according to court records. He has had no other recent arrests.
All three officers who used force during the incident are on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
Portland police have now used deadly force five times this year, resulting in four deaths.