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Armed man killed by Portland police an Iraq vet

Mar. 6, 2013 - 07:47AM   |   Last Updated: Mar. 6, 2013 - 07:47AM  |  
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PORTLAND, Ore. — A man fatally wounded by Portland police after they say he fired at them was an Iraq war veteran who had talked about the challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Santiago A. Cisneros III, 32, died of the wounds he received Monday night, the Multnomah County medical examiner's office said.

Two officers said the man had a shotgun and fired at them when they encountered him on a parking lot roof in northeast Portland. They said they returned fire.

Cisneros died at a Portland hospital. No officers were injured.

Police haven't said how many shots were fired. Detectives continued to collect evidence Tuesday in Portland's second officer-involved fatal shooting of the year.

Both officers who fired will remain on paid administrative leave until the completion of a grand jury inquiry.

The officers weren't dispatched to the garage, but police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson declined to say why they went there. Other officers told The Oregonian that's a popular spot for police to go "car-to-car," when two patrol officers park their cars side-by-side to chat and monitor the streets between calls.

Cisneros was an Army combat veteran who was one of three soldiers who spoke to KOMO-TV in Seattle in 2009 about the struggles they faced with PTSD, the television station reported Tuesday. He said then he had tried to kill himself just eight months after leaving Iraq.

"I fought a war back there in Iraq. I didn't know I was going to have to fight a war back here in the United States within myself," Cisneros said in the KOMO interview.

He told KOMO he was diagnosed with the disorder and later sought treatment through the Veterans Administration.

Cisneros grew up in Idaho, had attended community colleges in Portland and Seattle, and most recently worked as a legal intern at a Seattle law firm, The Oregonian reported.

"We're just trying to find out what happened," Diego Cisneros, a brother, said of the man's family.

"Santiago A. Cisneros III is an American war hero and veteran who served his country with pride," the family said in a statement. "He is a beloved son, brother, uncle and friend. He is loved by many and he loved many."

Cisneros joined the military after high school graduation despite objections from his parents, a family friend, Michael Heiser, told The Oregonian.

Heiser remembered him as a caring young man and guitar player who loved music in high school.

"We thought the world of him," Heiser said. "He wasn't pushy. He was concerned about other people's feelings."

Cisneros was different when he returned from overseas, the man said.

"I do know coming out of the service really messed him up," Heiser said. "He had a hard time with post-traumatic stress and battled depression. He wasn't the kid that I knew."

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