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Five facts to know about Bodhi Phelps' shooting death

Grand jury rules officers justified in shooting death -


FILE PHOTO - Courtney Sherrell (center).In June, a seven-person grand jury ruled that two Gresham police officers were justified when they shot and killed Bodhi Phelps, a 22-year-old Fairview resident with a criminal history of drug abuse and ID theft.

Now, nearly 400 pages of newly-released transcripts reveal the facts behind the case. Here are five things you need to know. According to testimony given to the grand jury:

Phelps ran from police. Police officers responding to nighttime 911 calls regarding an attempted kidnapping spotted Phelps outside his girlfriend’s silver Ford Focus around 3:14 a.m. on Tuesday, May 25.

Girlfriend Courtney Sherrell, 25, told the grand jury that, “I told him to run, and then I would come get him. Because I always come get him, and he knew that. And we make some stupid choices, but... He ran. He always runs.”

FILE PHOTO - Bodhi Phelps.Phelps was armed. By 3:15 a.m., Gresham Police officers Gavin Sasser and Kevin Carlson were pursuing Phelps down Southeast Grant Street toward a dead-end cul-de-sac in the Rockwood neighborhood.

According to the officers’ account, Phelps then slowed, turned and advanced toward Carlson, brandishing two short, folding-blade knives, one in each hand. Both officers fired simultaneously, discharging six shots each.

Phelps wasn’t shot in the back. A medical examiner found that Phelps was shot 11 times, including a bullet to the heart that was likely fatal. He was also shot in his right thumb, left wrist, left abdomen, left hip, left buttocks and suffered four total shots to the chest.

Deputy Examiner Clifford Nelson told the grand jury that, “There’s nothing that enters in his back... There’s a couple of wounds that go side-to-side, (but) the closest thing to hitting him in the back... basically goes from one side of his buttocks to the other.”

Phelps and Sherrell were heroin addicts. Sherrell told the grand jury that she and Bodhi were both heavy users, typically injecting heroin into their bodies four or five times a day, including several hours before Phelps’ death. They met at a drug treatment center.

“I would honestly rather cut my leg off than detox in jail with no medication,” Sherrell told the grand jury. “If you guys watch somebody detox, you would think that they were dying. It’s the weirdest thing. It’s the worst thing. I pray to God I never go through that again.”

Phelps may have had a death wish. Deputy District Attorney Don Rees highlighted several statements made by Sherrell during an intake interview with police. He paraphrases her as saying, “He was angry at the world... Talks about suicide about every day. He said that he wants to be like Romeo and Juliet. He wants to die together, but she didn’t want to die.”

During her own interview, Sherrell said Phelps had only talked about suicide a few times. She said it may have been a fear of detoxing that caused Phelps to run.