Deadly Gresham police shooting: ‘I need the cops’

The use of deadly force was legally justified when two Gresham police officers shot and killed Bodhi Phelps

Bodhi Wilson Dean Phelps in a 2015 photo from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
Bodhi Wilson Dean Phelps in a 2015 photo from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Police have released the 911 calls from several neighbors who reported hearing a woman screaming for help and the victim’s 911 call after a grand jury determined the deadly use of force by Gresham police was legally justified.

In her 911 call, Courtney Sherrell, 25, identified her attacker as her boyfriend, Bodhi Phelps. (Editor’s Note: Sherrell’s entire 911 call can be heard by clicking the video in this story. It airs between 02:10 – 03:57.)

When the dispatcher picked up Sherrell’s 911 call, she was crying and said she needed help.

“My boyfriend is beating me,” Sherrell told the call taker.

Sherrell gave the dispatcher her location and said that she was sitting in a vehicle alone.

“He kicked me and punched me,” she said. “I need the cops to come as fast as possible otherwise he’s going to get away.”

As the dispatcher told her that police were on their way, Sherrell said “no, but seriously, he’s (Phelps) got like eight felony warrants.”

The call disconnected as the dispatcher tried to get more information from Sherrell about Phelps. In the recording, you can hear Sherrell say “get away from me” shortly before the call goes silent.

Gresham police say the first 911 call for help came in 3:04 a.m. on May 24. Over the course of 10 minutes, dispatchers would receive five other calls for help.

Most of the neighbors reported hearing a woman screaming for help. One of the 911 callers told dispatchers that she saw the suspect pull the victim into a vehicle.

When police got on scene, they tried to contact Phelps, but he ran from officers. Eventually, the officers were able to catch up to Phelps and that’s “when he engaged with them face-to-face. During the chase, Phelps told one officer he was going to stab him,” according to police.

In a prepared statement, a police spokesperson said, “grand jurors heard testimony that, while armed with and brandishing two knives, Phelps refused to heed repeated commands to “drop the knife.” With one officer backing away attempting to create distance between he and Phelps, Phelps continued to aggress, coming within 10 feet of that officer.”

Gresham Police Officers Gavin Sasser and Kevin Carlson each shot at Phelps six times.

“An Oregon State medical examiner found Phelps was stuck by 11 of the 12 bullets, seven of which struck the front torso of his body. Other rounds struck Phelps in the upper shoulder area, right hand, left wrist and upper thigh/buttocks. The medical examiner determined that only one of the bullet strikes to Phelps’ torso was fatal,” according to a prepared statement released by GPD.

Both Sasser and Carlson will be returning to work later this week, according to police.

Source: Gresham Police
Source: Gresham Police

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